Do I mean it, Hallelujah that is? I have written the word because I feel I should mean it. Surely a new book is a cause of rejoicing. Indeed, indeed, certainly a happy event but, notwithstanding its joyfulness, I must admit that I have on the whole been less happy since the publication of Karna’s Wheel became certain. The forward thrust of publication draws in its wake things that have to be done, proofs to check, keywords to dream up so that potential readers combing websites might stumble across Karna and think, aha, this is just the thing and therefore press a button that leads in short order to a credit card. In brief, whereas previously I was the gardener of my wife’s Montessori nursery school at the bottom of our garden, shuffling happily among the dead leaves, publication has brought me back into that world known to many as the real world. Never mind.
So much for a deconstruction of ‘Hallelujah’.(see headline above). What about ‘It’s been a while’. Well it has. I started working on Karna in 2006, perhaps 2007. It was so long ago I can hardly remember. And I nearly finished it, and would have, if I hadn’t stopped and written Cryptogram (see books). After which, I started down the long road – I won’t speak here of planners or objectors (not all of them bad people) – which led to the building of my wife’s Montessori school among whose dead leaves I have been privileged to shuffle. As a result, I only came back to Karna a year ago.
This has been beneficial. Fresh eyes. Avoidance of: can’t see the wood for the trees, (the wood being the forest, the big picture, rather than the timber). It’s a better book now, so I believe. There have been many writers (whose names now escape me) who have commented on the beneficial effect of lapsed time. Proust perhaps? I agree with them.
I am reminded, for no very good reason, of the publication details of Flann O’Brien’s wonderfully funny book, At Swim-Two-Birds. It was first published in 1939 and sold 244 copies before Longman’s warehouse in London was bombed during the blitz. The book wasn’t published again for 20 years. Flann O’brien claimed that Hitler loathed the book so much that he started WWII in order to torpedo it. This was an egocentric remark. I have no such hopes that WWIII will begin in order to destroy Karna. Were this to happen the dead leaves to which I wish to return would, no doubt, be also incinerated.