Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Failure of Nerve

I have been trying to put my finger on why I don't like the three novels I have written.

One reason is trivial. When I started writing them, I did not know all I should about technique. That's nothing that I have not repaired by dipping into my library to find out how other writers have solved technical problems. I have had to learn the craft via an apprenticeship, a normal learning experience.

I dislike the books for some other reason.

I hypothesize it thus. I have been afraid to use my own narrative voice, the sound that resonates in the reader's unconscious. The books were written by somebody I did not know, somebody I imagined should be writing the books. I was just too damned afraid to write the books myself.

I remember one time when I was about to receive a very nice promotion, one I had coveted for a long time. I expressed the fear that it might not happen to an associate. She replied, "You know what your problem is Lynn? You are afraid to step into the winner's circle." I have recognized the truth of what she said over the years.

I am not brave. Will I ever be brave? Will it do me any good?

I cannot tell, but I wish I could. At least I have found another thing that does not work.

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