THE LADIES OF THE BOOK–THE DEATH OF RAFAEL

I sometimes procrastinate.

I sometimes do so because my brain stalls.

Sometimes I can’t think of anything to to say.

Sometimes there’s so much to tell, I can’t find my way through all the treasures of what I want to relate.

The latter is the cause of this particular delay in blogging.

I have so much to tell about the book club and the ladies,  the discussion about THE DEATH OF RAFAEL  was so interesting, the Ladies of the Book were so welcoming and beautiful, I had gathered so much treasure,  that I didn’t know how to fit it all in and how to do it justice. So I went into the writer’s default position–curled up in foetal procrastination.  However, this time there was another thing–I left the evening with the Ladies of the Book with  an inspirational glow that kicked my lazy and obstructionist muse out of her cave and actually make me sit down and WRITE, words gushing out on the pages of my new novel.

Also, as I said in my thank you to the ladies–for someone who can write 400+ pages, I sure am at a loss of words when I have to post in my blog.

So, enough excuses. Let’s do this.

On February 19, I had the privilege (this phrase is not just formality) to present and discuss THE DEATH OF RAFAEL at the home of Kathy in Del Mar (another of those beautiful places along the coast, and a beautiful home, lovingly decorated by Kathy, who obviously has great talent for home decorating). A delicious dinner awaited us (Kathy is also a marvellous cook!). And this was just the beginning of this glorious evening. The lively discussion started before everyone had even gathered, throughout dinner (although we sat at two tables and pleas had gone out to wait until the official discussion started; I could hear the other table talking about ‘Giselle’, ‘Francisco’…)

I cannot fully describe what an amazing, wonderful experience is for a writer when she sits across readers who had truly read the story with their hearts and minds open, are interested in the characters of the story and ask questions that are thoughtful and wise, and erudite, and who give the writer knowledge and a new understanding of their own work. Yes, writers sometimes write in the fog of creation, in a kind of blessed chaos. I do, anyway.

 The questions and discussion were simply put–profound.  But let me use the words of the group’s leader (historian and recorder), as she summarized it:

Have you discovered the pleasure of juicing a blood orange? If not, I highly recommend this winter joy. The result is a red-gold sunset in a glass that tastes as good as it looks:) I was looking at those oranges piled in a basket on my counter when it came to me that the juice would be the perfect prelude to my letter about last night. Like our evening, it was extraordinary.

 

 

 The questions and discussion centered mostly around the characters of the novel, and as we were debating and analyzing the personalities and images of the story, suddenly the protagonists were real, breathing human beings, flesh and blood.  There are few things  more satisfying and nothing more fascinating for a writer than the realization that the characters that grow and move in a story provoke the emotion and reactions in the readers the writer had hoped for (and agonized for.) But even more fantastic are those reactions and insights that have gone through the mind and soul of the reader, unpredicted but oh, so revealing for the writer. As I said to the Ladies, the process of writing is submerged in the writer’s subconscious and obscured in little corners of the mind, also characters become part of us so much that we do not see them in the mirror, and we are just as surprised by them, and it is the readers who reveal them to us. I know, this sounds so… woowoo and Twilight Zone… but let’s be honest, my fellow writers, it is a process that often comes from the crowded little corridors of the mind and the gut. When I think of my characters, I think of Norma Desmond in Sunser Boulevard singing about those corners of a movie studio crowded with people, whispering and watching.

The scenes that were most liked (and discussed)?

Unanimously, was the central scene when Giselle enters the office of the Archbishop of  Buenos Aires.

The second–the conclave scene in Rome and the cardinals politiking among themselves. Given that we’ve got a conclave going on just as I am writing this, it makes me grin.

 And then, Debbie provided the one sentence summary of THE DEATH OF RAFAEL, the theme and the essence, one that left me thinking for days. It was a quote from Sophocles:

IT IS THE DEAD, NOT THE LIVING, THAT MAKE THE LONGEST DEMANDS.

 ‘Nuff said.

And, alas, in the middle of all the fun we had, we all forgot to take photos. So… no photos.

 

 

2 Comments

  • Mike Zorn
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    The end of an era:

    I don’t remember whether you mentioned this man in “Rafael”, but I’m sure you came across him in your research:

    Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist, the last surviving member of the resistance against Hitler, died at his Munich home, aged 90. He was part of Operation Valkyrie. He was sent to the eastern front in December 1944.

    Here’s a link to the NYT obituary:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/13/world/europe/ewald-heinrich-von-kleist-anti-hitler-plotter-dies-at-90.html?_r=0

    And the beginning of a new era: Pope Francis is from Buenos Aires!!

  • Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    As far as von Kleist is concerned, no, I did not come across his name, although von Hassel mentions twice in his diaries (from 1938 to 1944; he was an ex-ambassador, against Hitler from the beginning and also a member of the conspiracy) a von Klaussen, however it was a ‘field marshal’ and therefore it had to be an older generation than the von Kleist who just passed away. Although, based on the New York Times story he could’ve been very important had the plot he was to be the trigger man come to fruition, he is not mentioned in any of the sources/books I read. The one book I have that lists all the names of the important conspirators, does not include him. I think this ery obscurity saved his life at the end.

    And yes, we’ve got an Argentinean pope. With the name of Francis. From Buenos Aires.

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

CommentLuv badge