Re-reading yourself with an old novel; rewriting yourself with a new novel

Two years ago I had the strange experience of reading Huckleberry Finn while on vacation.  I enjoyed the novel every bit as much as I had the first time I read it, probably more for better understanding the author’s intention and pure genius.  Also, though, the pleasure I experienced in rereading it was in the odd experience of flashing back to the original experience, rereading both the text and my younger self at the same time.

The same thing is happening as I prepare my own novel, Vigil, to be reissued now as an eBook. As I move over the words looking for errors the scanner interjected, and a few embarrassing errors both my publisher, editor and I missed with the first edition, I flash back to that writer I was writing her first novel (and the issues that nearly did me in as a writer, and probably were doing in my marriage that ended soon after its publication.)  Where did that come from — the dark vision and the incredible optimism I experienced in what seemed to most a nightmare scenario.  I had not intended on writing a novel at the outset. Who were these people that took over my imagination and where did they come from?  Some people, friends and family, identified themselves in the novel but I don’t see that in any of them nor my characters though surely influences… well, influenced me.

When I come to the end it doesn’t end, I find.  Our language is a shared language, and the text grows and shrinks, ages and wrinkles and springs up to bite or delight us.

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