Since I began work on a large training project in March of this year, I have been battling to find the headspace required to continue work on my novel. However, the last few weeks that has changed and regular (if not frequent) writing on the novel has resumed. Finally. Of course I am pretty dammed pleased that it has. But it is also pretty cool how easy it has been to pick it up.

I have now nearly finished chapter 9. Chapter 12 is the end of part 1, so that will be a good watershed to have reached. Each chapter has about 4 parts, so I try to write one part per morning, meaning 1 chapter a week give or take. The book is due to have 48 chapters and I am on 9… Gonna be a while still before I am done!

Novel Seasons

One of the key notes of the book is that, apart from a theme that governs each of the 4 parts, each one also has a season. Part one is still summer! And it sure aint summer outside in JHB right now! So it is a bit weird talking about summer starting to lead towards autumn as part of your visual narrative when it is freakin snowing outside! But hey, it keeps my imagination warm!

Some of you may remember something I put up about a good few months back Johannesburg being a Church? Well, I have finally got to the part of the book where I need to explore that. One of the things that happens a lot in the book is that the characters have dreams… about gold, aliens, god, and, it appears, the nature of their city. The main character… the 1st person narrator Andrew has this dream about Jozi and spends a while musing over it:

“I have always thought of this city as a Las Vegas; a home for lost souls. No-one here is very much focussed on anything but the reason they are here: money. People are here from all over South Africa, but no-one loves the city. They just want the cash. And yet, without doubt, some of the best human beings I have ever met are here. Working hard, living their life, loving their city. Not like a nationalist loves his country, but with a fond, understanding regard and appreciation. Maybe I have been missing something here. I have always regarded the profusion of places of worship cynically. I do not believe in organised religion. But perhaps they are more like a symptom than a reaction. Maybe there is something else. I wish I could remember more of the dream.”

Johannesburg is a Church

This section deals with some of the important stuff about Johannesburg, both in terms of what I believe and the development of the plot. I have come to believe that Jozi is a crucible of redemption. But you are just as likely to get burned up as redeemed. I also believe that more Johannesburgers need to change their minds about where they live, open their eyes and appreciate it. This dream and associated musing runs down those tracks and is one that recurs throughout the book.

I’d love to hear from my readers what their take on the city is, and the reasons why you love it. I have plenty of my own; please use the comments section to tell me yours!