Writing the end first.
Makes no sense, right? Writing the end first before the whole story is told?
And yet, I’m doing just that.
The thought had been niggling around for several weeks, until it stopped being a thought and took on legs. So yes, I am now writing the end of I,Claudia.
Yes, why indeed?
Well, it wasn’t exactly first thing I wrote. At least a third, maybe more, maybe less, of the book was written before I began to write what I thought would be the last chapter but will most likely become 10,000, maybe 15,000 words- ten or twelve chapters- before the end is done and I can return to the middle.
Writing fiction, as you have long heard from me, is a very rocky road. Or a river which suddenly morphs into white water. You get the drift, pun intended.
I suspect there are few persons among the seven, maybe close to the now eight billion, souls on this planet for whom the name Pontius Pilate is not at least recognizable. Maybe no more than the reply my husband got at the store the other day when John asked the twenty-something grocery store checker if he had ever heard of Marshall Dillon: “Yes, I’ve heard of him…he was that TV Marshall a long time ago, right?”
For Pilate,the young man’s reply might have been something like, “yeah, that’s the Roman guy who crucified Jesus, right?”
I, Claudia’s is not a story where the ending must be created.
This is history. No surprises here. Only in the details…
Consequently, I found myself in dread of writing their meeting: Composing the scenes where Lucius, Jesus, and Claudia come together. And decided to write it now.
Don’t wait…get it over with.
It’s been two weeks since I began writing ‘the end of I, Claudia.’
And the process has been fascinating. I have been consumed by that last day. When Lucius meets, face-to-face, this man who calls himself ‘the Christ.’
And there have been more than a few moments when I’ve struggled not to cry, despair, give in to the hopelessness that must have surrounded this man Lucius Pontius Pilate upon accepting this last battle. Walking in the shoes of a man whom I have begun to love.
I had no interest in writing historical fiction. Less in writing Christian fiction and yet here I sit, working as fervently as I have ever, to complete this story of Pilate and his wife Claudia.
As a kid undergraduate English major, I fell in love with the ancient Greeks, their ideas, wisdom and even their gods. Therefore, this book, now that it is over two- thirds written is a no-brainer. Not that it’s been a piece of cake to write, no, it has not. But rather the fact that I have loved reacquainting myself with those long dead people and their philosophies that have endured over the ages. For most of us, anyway.
The plunge into putting flesh on the desiccated bones of Lucius Pontius Pilate and his wife Claudia, however, has brought surprising insight.
The gift-to me- is the profound -and new- understanding, sympathy for those burdened with the weight of a thing no human is meant to carry. The absolute certainty that none of us can know or understand just how heavy is the load.
Like Pontius Pilate.
Like Pope Francis.
Like Donald Trump.