UPDATE 7th of March 2015
The French novel has been published by now; check here.
For the time being, I have decided to concentrate exclusively on two projects: the second part of „The Earth Within“ and my infamous French novel (whose title is still undecided).
As to continuing the “Earth Within”, not much remains to be said. The turn-up of a sequel was natural, both from the title (Part 1: Revelation) and the point the story had reached. I’m still attracted to the idea of a trilogy. The working titles for the two pending parts would be: “Rebellion” and “Revolution”. I’m aware it sounds a little too corny and a little too much like ‘The Matrix’. Well, these are working titles. Fortunately, they aren’t set in stone.
I think, though, it is the French novel that calls for some explanation. Why would I write a novel in French, since it is so evident that nobody would read it? Apart from a couple of German visits, the traffic to this blog is mainly run by US citizens.
Well, I think the main reason why I’m writing this in French is the same reason I’m giving for all my writing activity – and artistic activity in general (if I may be so bold to call it artistic). I simply enjoy so much what I do. I sincerely love the French language. This is a love that has driven me, during my bachelor studies, to spend an exchange semester in Switzerland. And the same love has been animating my writing in French. French is rich, it is luxurious, it is gracious. It is elegant, splendid and beautiful. For me, this is reason enough for writing a novel in that language.
It’s true I’m not aware of any possible public for that. But that’s not always necessary.
I remember when I stayed last time in London, I registered with the British Library. If you do that, you just don’t walk up to the counter and say: ‘I want to be a member of the library’ – nope, you’re already expected to have searched the catalogue beforehand, and thus to order a specific set of books for you to be sent to a reading room. In the catalogue I had found a couple of books about Proust I thought worthwhile to skim through.
The lady who ran me through the registration process looked at my choice of books, then looked up at me again and asked: “Is this for your studies?”
“No, private studies only.”
She was surprised by my answer. She arched her eyebrows. “If I may ask, how long have you got with the ‘In Search of Lost Time’?”
My reply embarrassed me a little. “I made it through the first tome. But I admit I got stuck somewhere in the second.”
Nevertheless, she thought this quite an achievement. “That’s farer than most people get.” Then she squinted her eyes a little and asked me in a puzzled tone: “Tell me, what is it you like about Proust?” She made it sound like she didn’t think there was a lot to like about him.
“Oh,” I said, quite short for an answer. “It’s just these long-winding sentences.”
“Ah, really.” Her smile had a slightly sour touch to it. “You mean just the general Proustliness of it.”
“Exactly so,” I chimed in.
She really couldn’t like Proust a lot. Because she continued: “Do you know his publishing was just an instance of pride-publishing?”
I think these were her words. I got the idea she was hinting at a financially detrimental business for Proust. I didn’t even know if she was well-informed about this. And I certainly didn’t want to get her started on Proust. Besides, I was quite fascinated by the term she had used – ‘pride-publishing’, I think this was it. Or ‘ego-publishing’. Something both base and innocent.
Thus, I just smiled and nodded and we wrapped up the registration.
Well, I’m recalling this episode because that’s what it will be for me to put the French novel into circulation: pride- or ego-publishing. Or, to give it a decisively positive connotation: fun-publishing. Fortunately, in the times of e-books and books on demand, that’s always a cost-neutral business, even in the worst of cases.
And the writing really is a treat. The story surprises and puzzles me so much – and yet it has already the size of a full-blown novel, and still, it keeps growing, with no limit in sight. Sometimes I think it is growing out of hand. As always, I have no idea where the story is heading. I’m very curious to find out, even should it take me a few more hundred pages to find out, to discover the end to it. And the storyline, as yet, has not even come to the fore, is not even a major player in the novel scenes. It is much rather a character-driven, psychological novel.
Well, to draw a bottom line: two writing projects I’m following right now: ‘The Earth Within Part 2’ and the unnamed French story.