Image: The Deep by Cathleen Tarawhiti
Writing Through the Darkness
I am coming to the end of the first draft of Dark Reliquary: Prelude to Roses of the Moon. I thought it would be a novella, but with a first draft of 50,000 words, it is already a full novel. Written in 30 days, I might add!
I have felt many times that this was a slog, in other words, that I my brain was slow, and I fell into periodic trances, and staring. But reading the sloggy bits the next day, I found they were pretty good. My experience of struggling to write did not translate into the quality of the work.
But this is not the point of this essay.
The Slower Pen
In an Indie Author world where the need for speed in finishing products is becoming a constant mantra, these slow days are anxiety producing. So I am forced to wonder why I am so slow. Today I realized what it was.
The answer harkens back to the British Museum and the 777 bombing in London, which happened while I was living there.
Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows I have made my living as a psychic, taromancer, astrologer and healer. For those who don’t know me, it means I am a very sensitive Empath.
I write dark stories but I am not, by nature, a dark person. I have been sorely wounded by the Dark. My stories come out of that wound. (For the astrologers reading this: Sun and Moon combust in the 10th House with Chiron in between….)
My work pours out of a wound. My stories reflect this wound, and the struggle of a soul deeply connected to Jung’s Collective Unconscious to purge and heal that wound.
That bit is probabaly boring for fiction readers, but its the the irritant that I hope creates a pearl. Even a black pearl…
I was writng the climax of Dark Reliquary on the morning of the solar eclipse ( eclipses feature strongly in Roses of the Moon) and the words were coming very slowly.
I fell into trances. I stared.
I was writing about the Darkness. I was moving into territory that was violent and filled with moral struggle. The Dark is heavy, like my leaden footsteps walking through Aldgate Tube Station the day after the 777 bombings. Putting one step in front of the other was agony, as if the dead sought to drag me down, under the tracks, with them. It was like walking into the room of Egyptian mummies in the British Museum, or moving between the bulls with the heads of men from ancient Sumeria: each step heavier and more leaden the last, until I arrived at a standstill, locked on that threshold between the living and the dead. Not wanting to step over…
(They do not want to be there, the dead Gods, warehoused amongst their enemies…)
The Darkness slows me down. The moral ambiguity that this tale of the Dark Reliquary is fraught with. How we betray each other! How the road to Hell is paved with good intentions….
I realize that I must find a way, without the dreaded Deus ex Machina, (a solution born of an age when people believed in God’s Grace) to bring redemption to my characters, to break through to the light and transform this Dark Reliquary, Countess Anastasia, whose head houses a jewel from her father Lucifer’s crown into a being with a soul.
Redemption came to Count Dracula in the Coppola film at least, when he died transformed by Mina’s love.
I feel as writer of Dark Fantasy I have a responsibility to find this redemption. Horror tales that sink into the morass of nihilism, like sexuality the seeks greater and weirder titillation because it is only physical, becomes pornographic. That is unworthy of my reader, who, I hope, claims the higher ground of dignity and the desire to bring life out of darkness.
I also realize, in writing this, that I am a rather serious person. I suppose that’s why I write tragedies and dark tales. In the times we live in now, it is better to be comical.
“Life is a comedy of those who think, a tragedy for those who feel.”
Some of us, I think, were born to skip around the Dark. Others of us were born to walk through it. Very slowly… to the other side…
“With the sword held up before me like a talisman, I strode through the light into the fire.”
—-Last line of Roses of the Moon.