I have news.

After multiple rewrites and bone deep revisions, I have finally finished Swimming North.

I sense a little skepticism from some of you, and I can’t say I’m surprised. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve announced, “I’m done!” with great jubilation, only to realize that the true story had escaped me yet again.

David still looks at me askance when I say I am done. He tells me he will believe when I actually submit it to an agent. I suppose I can’t blame him – we have been at this landmark before. In fact, at times the writing of this book has resembled a Groundhog Day Adventure, with me tearing at my hair and lamenting over the need for yet one more rewrite.

Swimming North has tested my commitment more than any other writing project or task I have set for myself.  For one thing, there has been the grief – the loss of the friends who inspired it in the first place. But there is more. Always, since the beginning of our journey together, this novel has refused to fit neatly into any clear genre, has morphed and twisted from one shape into another, escaping my best attempts to find its natural form.

As I read through it now ghosts linger between the lines – eliminated scenes, beloved phrases, characters who lived through the course of several drafts only to find themselves excised before the end.

It should not surprise me, I suppose. As MC Escher said, “Are you really sure that a floor can’t be a ceiling?” This is the essence of Swimming North – the idea that every life, every story can be seen from another perspective, that reality is not Single but Many, and perhaps is limited only by our ability to perceive.

Even now, when I know it is done, I can think of several other ways to tell this tale that I have not yet tried. But enough is enough. As my main character Vivian knows – too many realities can make you insane.

Advertisements