Verses Nature: Fieldnotes, August – November 2012

Verses Nature is my current novel, which will also be submitted for the Ph.D. in Creative Writing. In a nutshell:

Jean-Joseph, Tatar to his friends, a self-made man in his late fifties and self-proclaimed connoisseur of the opposite sex. Politics, religion, philosophy, culture. And women. Loads to say about life in general and his memorable life in particular. Your loss if you don’t read his life story. Your loss entirely. He’d say.

 

August 2012:

After a year of working on my male protagonist, I find myself in a rut.

repair. destroy. I see a new female character entering the plot, and the whole chemistry changes.

I don’t write in the narrative linear, but sketch scenes, variations, from which I select those that will become the novel. My supervisor (rightly) wishes to see how I am progressing. All I may proffer is a tatter of tales and implore her to trust me.

 

November 2012:

Verses Nature is set in Alsace. And despite my having lived in the region for well over a decade, my interest in local history is genuinely sparked for the very first time as I now begin to think about how I wish to depict the history, the psyche of the place. I’m curious to see how it will be embellished by my personal experience; I have not lived in their Alsace, but in mine…

After a first visit to the local médiathèque, my cloth bag filled with titles in French, German and/or Alsatian, on local legends, war-time Alsace, proverbs, care practices carefully documented by Christian ethnographers (history being everything but neutral…), initial reflections about the politics of language give way to concerns with voice:

How do I bring history into my novel? Whose voices will be heard? How will Voice and Genre interact?

First attempts: http://wp.me/p4NZ58-V

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