Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The story is complete

This morning, on 23 November, I reached the NanoWrimo target of 50,000 words. I reached the end of my tale soon after. The story is complete at 51,300 words. The title I have now is "To the bush and back to business (the third story)".
I am happy with it. My feeling is that it has a central question, and that I have given an answer to the question. The question is: why did I leave the city and go bush (as a long-haired hippie), and why did I come back? Not that I was ever a typical hippie, and I also think there were very few people who ever met the stereotype. Not for any length of time, anyway.
This is my third NanoWrimo project, hence "The third story". But I have taken a different approach with this one. For a start, I didn't have a particular event or situation that I was telling the story of, as I did in the other two projects. This one was an exploration of the broad question of what caused me to leave the city and become a "new settler" in the bush.
This one is also different because I approached it archaeologically. To answer the question I had to go back into things I had written through the period of my self-exile. This was my source material, my evidence. I pulled out a box of my writings - poetry, notes, stories and other documents - and rummaged through it all to find pieces I thought illuminated my question.
So the story is of the development of my thinking, from when I was a young man up until now. I talk about the hippie dream, the difficulties of living in an alternative community, my passage back to some rapprochement with society, and then my return to the city and my struggles with the business world and its sometimes crass philosophies. I was ready to articulate what I have learned through my experiences.
I know that when I get the book ready for publication I will have to think about, and decide, how to frame it. To call it a novel would be "a bit of a stretch". Some would say it's a memoir, but I'm not comfortable with that categorisation. I don't think that's what I'm doing.
I could say it's a book-length essay. It is me discussing ideas about life and illustrating them with incidents, episodes and stories. Or is it a treatise, a dissertation, a narrative, a discourse, a monograph? Or perhaps a disquisition? Or a meditation?
Whatever it is, I hope that people will find it enjoyable, illuminating and helpful.
For now, the task is to leave it a week and then read it right through to see if I like it, and see how much review and editing it needs.

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