That is the question.
When a writer writes a stream of consciousness piece, it can often be a self-indulgent work that meanders back and forth across the landscape of the page, and never really alights anywhere of note. There are notable exceptions of course, "On the Road", ostensibly feels to be written that way, and mostly was, but as crazy of a process as that may have been, it was edited by one of the great minds in literature on the fly and hence is coherent and cohesive.
My intent was to create a work not unlike that in its unity. Written without the strictures of acceptable-restraint, yet hopefully still imminently readable.
|The children of Ndoombo arriving at the The Terry Berg School dedication.|
I knew before I even opened the noteboook on my lap that I would call the book, "The Beast" and that it would be akin to one of those metaphorical short works by William Faulkner ("The Bear"), or Glenway Wescott ("The Pilgrim Hawk") or even Norman Mailer ("Why we are in Vietnam"). I can't remember if I had discovered the twist at the end so much before boarding the bus or not. I think it was only vaguely broiling in the back of my mind at that point and came more fully alive later on as the writing progressed and took shape.
The structure of the book, I knew would be hourly. Not exactly. But close. I tended to write about the events of 7:30 at 8:30ish, but part of the time - namely when The Beast broke down and we were stranded in the middle of nowhere - I was not writing at all, so I had to catch up with those later.
In a way, there were four threads of storylines working at once:
- One thread contained the events happening in almost real-time on the bus,
- Another was a leap back to the prior few days from this present journey to Tanzania,
- Another was a leap further back to prior events - backstory if you will to these two sets of events,
- And the fourth was the metaphorical ethos that began winding its way through the story and leads up to the twist.
In a few weeks, you'll see for yourselves whether "The Beast" is a rambling mess, or a glimpse at a world in need of compassion. I hope that you find the latter!