When Dead Fathers Loom

One thing a writer doesn't need to do is psychoanalyze his / her own work. You write it, polish it, and get it out there. WHatever lies hidden within a book can then give it a secret charge.

Sadly I know this ongoing book, this CROMOZONE, too well for that. I know what's coming because I've been there too many times before. It wasn't till I finished the first version that I realized, with a shock, how much it had to do with my father dying, with looking down at his coffin in its grave.

In fact that particular emotional shock has been worked out of my system. More came. They were strong dreams first of all. Then he came in his new presence, sometimes a physical form that I could sometimes see and sometimes not, one I could hug though he had become very thin. This was my first regular experience of meeting someone who had died back in physical form on this earth. Some readers of I WAS CARLOS CASTANEDA have lamented that I did not show enough shock when faced with the events in that book. Honestly when something of that ilk happens you just get on with it, you accept it because it is undeniably so. It can take time for reason to catch up, and there is some shock to get over, but the brunt of the thing just happens.

So this was a new side of my father that had not occurred by the time of writing those early drafts. And subsequent to that have come a series of revelations and understandings that colour my view of him considerably. My father has left quite a few 'depth charges' in my life.

I remain wholly uninterested in novel writing as ongoing psychoanalysis. To my mind you understand what you can about yourself, come to terms with it, and then write. You don't muddy the writing with your own half-understood emotions.

Having said that, I know CROMOZONE still comes charged with impressions of my father. It is a novel, pure fiction, and comes from my unconscious. The one deal I've made this time around is to not censor myself in any way, to refuse to be shocked by what comes out, to be ready to go one step further rather than retreat.

That's one reason I know I have to come back to full health and strength before taking on the rest of the book. It means being strong enough to be vulnerable, so I don't fear whatever is destined to come up. It's not psychoanalysis because it has nothing to do with taming. It's about setting the unconscious loose.