I'll be writing in Athens during the entire month of June 2011. I'll have an apartment in the old, cosy neighborhood Plaka, just below Acropolis. The Danish Institute in Athens has granted me this, and I expect to get a lot of work done. I'm working on a new novel. Developing characters, plot, storyline.
One of the basic themes of the novel is feelings between siblings. I find this very interesting. I have three siblings myself, and just the dynamics there are worth many books. Especially when you take into account that we don't all share the same parents and haven't grown up in the same home. But we're siblings, we love each other, and we're very, very different. That's an interesting basic fact of many family relations, I find. In this novel two very different sisters with a common father, this will make the anal reader object that they're only half-sisters, well if it makes you feel better, yes, they are, well those two sisters inherit a big house after their father. And they have to come together around that. They've never been close, hardly know each other. They are full of prejudices towards each other and loving each other as two grown up strangers isn't easy. But what if you really need a sister? And there is one, though she may be so very different from you? She's there. And she's your sister.
Just like I value friendship a great deal, a lot of us with tough family backgrounds do, I also value siblings very highly. There's something about those people your own age whom you've grown up with or at least parallel to having had intense feelings for the same parents, which is completely priceless. They know you differently from all others and can please or tease you like no others. They can feel like friends on a level above all friends, and they can feel completely strange to you one moment and like an arm of yours the next. Bad feelings between siblings are so common, estrangement, jealousy, disappointment. Often siblings are complete strangers forced to feel close. An arranged marriage between children of completely different tempers, values, and paces. Yet a sense of belonging will often make siblings know each other all life through, though none of them would've picked each other out voluntarily. There's often such strong love in spite of everything else. It's a magic relation in many ways, and I'm really looking forward to try to write about it.
What I focus on in my storyline now is momentum and focus. Here's what my notes tell me: Momentum is when one scene leads to the next scene and that scene leads to the next scene. One scene implies the development of the next scene. Or we might say that the seeds of a scene are contained in a previous scene. When scenes are connected in a cause-effect relationship, every scene advances the action, bringing us closer to the climax.
It's somehow the same in life, though I find it generally dangerous to think you're working your way towards a big climax. Like in sex, too much focus on the climax will flatten out everything else and usually also devalue - or downright thwart - the climax because of the pressure. Expectations and demanded reward quality, THIS is it, THIS is why we've been working this hard, THIS is - - - oh come on! Just be in it for the fun of it, not for the damn climax as an achievement or a medal or something. As in life.
To feel momentum and focus in life, as well as in sex, is a great satisfaction in itself. That one thing naturally leads to the next, that there's a sense of things going somewhere. It may not be a climax, maybe more a feeling of a good state. Focus on noticing, recognizing, and maintaining the good states of life. Of sex. Of the story. In good momentum you'll realize how the little climaxes've snuck in there anyway. No chasing the climax. Just stay focused - and enjoy the ride.
I expect my new novel to be finished in about two years.