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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Saturday, August 20, 2005

easy, pleasant success

Slept quite well, after continuing to burn through the library's copies of The Sopranos last night. We're in season 3. Grim, violent; overall, very good--provocative.

After some wakeful time in the night, I lay heavy as a sack of earth when I woke this morning at 7:15. I had an attack of worry about my project. If I had to name one thing that worries me the most, it's the length. Agent 007, in a recent blog-post, says that she tends to pass on projects with six-figure word-counts; I'm sure that's not an uncommon attitude. In the dark of the early morning I feel queasy and unhappy about deliberately producing something that is difficult to sell. Why walk knowingly into the box-canyon of unhappiness?

And yet I've tried (sort of) to write "for the market"--with the lack of success that attends any effort that is halfhearted. In the stronger daylight hours, flooded by the clear, energizing light of the sun and not the cool, ambiguous light of the moon, I realize that, even leaving all marketing considerations aside, it's useless and self-defeating to write anything but what one really wants. I'm writing what I can't myself find in a bookstore: something I want to read. There's a market for my book: me. Me, and people like me, however many of those there are.

How many like me are out there? Literate people with money, who like reading and are willing to buy books, but who are not happy with the fare offered in bookstores right now? I believe that they may not even know that they're not happy. They may feel, as I have, that there's something wrong with them. I believe that this group of people, defined by these characteristics, is of unknown but possibly large size, and constitutes a new market for fiction: the disaffected fiction-reader. Yes. I hereby bestow an initialism on my group: DFR, sign of legitimacy.

A few years from now, in 2009-10, I (and eveyone else of my approximate age) will undergo the astrological transit of Pluto conjunct Saturn in early Capricorn. The meaning of this transit, by itself, is generally a period of maximum testing of one's endurance and tenacity: "great change after considerable difficulty." Here is some text from Robert Hand's Planets in Transit:

A typical situation is one in which you are forced to hold on to something for dear life or to persist in some task or project in the face of energies that are trying to make you give up.... [A] positive aspect of this transit is that it considerably increases your persistence and tenacity, but unfortunately it also creates the need for these characteristics. In the face of this pressure it is often better to surrender than to take a hard line and hold on....

Things may be taken away from you, such as money or other possessions, relationships or something else that you value perhaps too much. During this transit you must learn to get along with as little as possible.

So I was thinking about that as I lay in bed. Admittedly that transit is four to five years off, but the schedule for the completion and publication of this work, The Mission, looks uncomfortably synchronized with it.

At the same time, those of us born in and around 1959 will experience transiting Pluto trine natal Pluto: an aspect of relative flow and power, with Pluto, signifier of the most profound forces of change in life, in harmonious relationship with itself. From that point of view, the conjunction of Pluto and natal Saturn in 2009-10 might be the climax of the potential of the relationship of these two planets at birth (quite powerful: the ability to achieve much in the world and have a powerful effect; astrologer Alan Oken called this configuration "The Magnate"). So. We'll have to see.

And of course, just because things are difficult doesn't mean they're not worthwhile or shouldn't be done; it's almost a truism that it's the reverse: worthwhile things are achieved only with difficulty, even great difficulty. The question is: how much faith do I have? In myself? My project? Life? It feels that that quantity is not a constant; my faith wavers. In the wee hours, it's at slack tide. The weak consciousness lying on his damp mattress does not feel equal to the demands being made.

All I'm asking for is easy, pleasant success. Is that too much?


  • Hi there. It's great to see a fellow creative writer in the Vancouver area. I write too -- only I do poetry. However, your novel is of interest to me seeing how I am both a history buff and former student of both Christian bible college and an Orthodox Jewish yeshiva. I'd love to see where you go with this thought. How far are you in this book?

    By Blogger Christopher Trottier, at August 20, 2005 3:23 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger crallspace, at August 20, 2005 4:29 PM  

  • Hi that is an interesting site you have, also been partly writing book myself but more of a sci fi book

    also interested in history, will the book be based on fact, mix or just fiction

    will link asap to site

    By Blogger AlanK, at August 20, 2005 4:31 PM  

  • Hello. I just stumbled on this article looking for interpretation of transiting Pluto over natal Saturn. Man, this influence stays for so long, and it sucks. I've never been under so much pressure, dealing with so many negative influences (lies, underground, hidden things, corruption, power, you name it). I am very much detached and isolated from everything, but of no use, because it's hitting me in the face anyway.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 18, 2007 2:00 PM  

  • Thanks for taking the trouble to post a comment--and giving an inkling of what the Pluto-on-Saturn transit is actually like. One interesting factor is that it is a generational transit, affecting everyone of about the same age at the same time. It would be interesting to know other people's experience of it as well.

    By Blogger paulv, at February 18, 2007 5:29 PM  

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