Recently my oldest child "found" my blog. She stumbled upon it because in trying to get her to share some of her writing with me she commented that she had never seen any of my writings. Since I started this blog to write and set it up (I thought) to make it so that any subscribers could get my novella to read, it was logical that I would share this with her. Through that process I found a few items of interest.
First off, I found out that despite the fact I had fixed it previously, my subscription link STILL didn't work right. I think that I fixed that now, though I need someone to subscribe and try it out because clearly I'm not the one to test it.
The second thing I learned was that while blogs about my middle daughter quite The Frequently posted type, my eldest was left out in the cold. More often I referred to "all my kids" instead of her alone. She is talented in her own right: musically, dramatically, and she's pretty quick with a literary quip like her old man, too. I haven't completely read anything she's written yet because after she read my novella she told me it was good and comparatively hers isn't so she doesn't want to share her work with me.
As always, getting me pondering a subject becomes a slippery slope that delves into the heart of matters that seem completely unrelated unless you are inside my head. It is rare, but I have had folks tell me they would love to be inside my head even when I tell them there are times I wish I wasn't. However, as with most posts here, my goal is to connect the dots to reveal rather than a simple stream of consciousness. M's offhanded comments began a digression.
For those that know I apologize for re-telling, but my novella is an allegory. The subject of the allegory is extremely clear from the start, but the heavy symbolism and metaphors are not all so cut and dried. In fact, many no one would get unless they were inside my head. For instance, the Bradford Arms is named for the preacher who baptised me and is a modification of a line I heard from an episode of Sanford and Son. Why I chose Redd Fox as a source can only be described in stream of consciousness so we'll let that lay. Even the reason I picked the name of one of my lead characters has a hidden meaning but it would be disingenuous to describe why I selected his name. Said name being one that is never fully revealed in the course of the story for yet another streaming reason.
In finishing the work I was glad to have finished it. Revising it was fun--at first. Once I had it "polished" and shared it with someone I realized how unpolished it was. Three editorial revisions later than I thought and then it was done (Edee would get the reason for this sentence). Now, I was proud of the work. I added a few more formatting flourishes and thought I was King of the Allegory. Then I got into a class studying Pilgrim's Progress. Having read the Pilgrim's Regress I thought I was prepared. I learned two things: 1. C.S. Lewis did a great job allegorizing John Bunyan's allegory, and 2. My own allegory was not even a shadow of literature compared to either of those works.
After a few weeks of contemplation I realized my error. While I had polished, Bunyan had nothing but time on his hands in jail to put layers of polish onto his work. Recalling the delight as my work flowed through me to the keyboard I wondered in awe at what it would have been like with quill and ink to pen such a work. The pages and pages of rewrites he must have undergone. Comparing our two works was like reviewing a first grader's Mother's Day card to a work in the Louvre and I quit doing it.
Back in July of 2011 our preacher had gone on a trip and had a stand-in who preached about a passage from John 6:26-40. The crowd that was following Jesus didn't want him, they came for the signs. They sought Jesus as the ends not the means. My oldest child (Remember Alice? This is a song about Alice), is looking for her use as an ends not as a means. When I use someone like my children in my literary musings they are typically means and not ends. The posts are not about them but rather through them. Being used as a subject is prideful but as a delivery vehicle (or as a purpose) is more delicate and difficult. Do not confuse or overlook the two. The first is intimately easier, and the later takes a skill that I hope to one day hone so that everyone who reads this gets the connections.
Well, The Frequently quip is a cheap plug at saying 6 June at the Bottletree Cafe even though my contribution won't be singing, and the Alice's Restaurant connection is admittedly a little out there.