It is a novel I started writing in 1998 with an idea I first got in 1976. So I have been working on this book for either 20 years, or 32 years, depending on when you want to credit the actual work to have started.
It got it’s theme from the fact that I was sexually assaulted when I was ten in 1966, and the feeling the repressed memory of the trauma caused in me whenever I asked myself the question, “Am I a monster?”
Unfortunately the answer to that question, for practically everybody, is, “Sometimes yes.”
Psychological damage sticks with you for the rest of your life. It makes you flinch at things that other people don’t. More than once I must have confused both my mother and old girlfriends when I was compelled to wriggle out of hugs and physical contacts by panic. I felt unlovable. I felt like a monster. And for a lot of that time, I didn’t know why. But it is a novel critical for me to write. Pain needs to become art in order to completely go away. I need to imprison the feelings and ideas in a book.
I am now at the point in that novel where I must write the scenes at the crisis point, the high point of the action, and I have to control the flinching. I have to control the reactions I could so easily fall into. It is critical that I get the scene right. The success or failure of the whole novel is at stake.
I have played it over and over in the cinema in my head a thousand times… several thousand times. It is difficult. But it is there. Soon I will have it down, crystallized in words. It make take considerable time to publish it, though, because editing it will be at least as hard as writing it. And I seriously have to get it right.