The last two weeks have seen my writing output jump from the usual 1 chapter per week to 5 chapters in two weeks, and I hope to increase that to more like 7 every 2 weeks in order to now finish the book fairly soon.
While this may sound like a crazy, prodigious or rushed effort, it is in fact in perfect keeping with the gradually accelerating impetus of the narrative itself. Structurally, it works. Also, I am now perfectly at home in the little universe that I have created and am finding it increasingly easy to spend extended periods within its confines.
I must admit however, that this is taking its toll on my emotional and physically. My current daily output, including novel and work, sits at somewhere around the 10 000 words mark. I am also conducting a fairly ferocious exercise regime and playing a lot of guitar. So, falling into bed pretty early is the norm right now.
This intensity of focus has also led to a fairly serious sense of isolation and alienation, even though I have still been conducting business and socialising as well. It’s hard to explain, but the singularity of my current purpose has the side effect of making me feel quite emotionally insulated from the outside world.
Matters in this world are also coming to various heads, while others are doubling back on themselves in unexpected ways. It is a lot of fun and I am not always sure how easy or hard it is going to be to live through the planned action with any given character on any given morning.
One character though, has very unexpectedly gone all Zen on me, which I am rather enjoying! So here is a small extract from chapter 29 where Wilfred, my jailed and then exiled conscientious objector talks about why he did what he did:
“How did you do it Wilfred?” Michael sounds almost desperate, a little crazy.
“Do what?” Wilfred looks up from his armchair, cutting short his examination of the legs of his glass of red wine.
“Decide to go to jail.”
“Oh.” Wilfred shifts, puts the wine down on the side table next to his easy chair. “I didn’t decide to go to jail. I decided not to go to the army. The two things are different.”
“But you knew you’d go to jail.”
“No, I didn’t. I hoped to not. I hoped for any alternative other than that.” He sighs, “But yes, ultimately, I knew it was a possible outcome.”
“So? How did you decide to embark on that course of action?” Michael is leaning toward Wilfred from the couch in Wilfred’s lounge. Michael has been hanging around a bit lately, battling his own demons. Wilfred doesn’t mind, being in a strangely beatific space himself at the moment.
“I didn’t want to be trained to kill my friends.” Replies slowly, “I didn’t want to wake up one day facing the situation where I would be required to kill at all. Let alone to look down the barrel of my rifle and see people I knew. This would happen, or could happen if I went to the army. I would then refuse to act and I would be court-martialled. My life would be over. Or I could get short in friendly fire. Or whatever. After 5 years in jail, I still had my integrity and the option to live another life. With a court martial hanging over you, you’re never the same again. But more than that, I just knew it was wrong. I grew up with these men they were calling terrorists. I simply could not obey the call-up.”
From the Novel “Johannesburg”
©2013 David Chislett