Finishing anything always involves paradox: That oxymoronic combination of relief and sadness. Okay, maybe, but “kill the monster”?
A strange phrase to use when completing a long project- one that has taken a year to finish…like a book. Or is it?
I’m a writer but the paradox is not limited to writing; instead, it applies to all big, long-term projects. Graduating from college, finishing a dissertation, achieving a long sought after goal, like a promotion, raise, or public recognition of your specific talent… that strange paradox of bittersweet exists- or better lurks- behind each and every achievement of our lives.
Especially this latest one: I Claudia. A book I’d not planned to write. Instead, I’d planned to write the 5th in the Lindsey McCall mystery series. I was eager to get started with Lindsey, Rich, Gabe and Zach Cunningham, these last two back from Do You Solemnly Swear? I love these people and am very comfortable with them. Too comfortable it seems because writing a story about Pontius Pilate with a title of I, Claudia appeared in my head early last March. Decidedly uncomfortable.
Churchill’s phrasing, so appropriately and splendidly describes these paradoxical feelings of relief and sadness.
Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.
In my world, it’s a strange and compelling mix of curiosity and unease…that sometimes morphs into fear. Write a story about the Crucifixion of Christ? Are you insane?
One of the many reasons that I continue writing fiction is to ponder the problem of evil. Last year, it consumed my heart, mind and psyche as I sought to write about a man who wished to annihilate humanity in Malthus Revisited. And this year, it’s been Pontius Pilate, Caiaphas, those seventy-one Sanhedrin insisting on freeing a murderer and killing Jesus.`
And then…Suddenly it’s over. I, Claudia is done. You did it…created something brand new.