Difficulty at the Beginning

Now that the edits are finished on the new book (The Reason for Time, forthcoming from Allium Press of Chicago, spring, 2016), I see the 540 page monster from the closet still sitting here. Chuck it, leave it. It's written. Move onto something else. Yet, why did I write it in the first place? And if was so important once, how can I toss it? It's finished, but it isn't really finished until it is read, which means it has to be made public somehow. When I was sending it around eight years ago, no publisher wanted it.  I should just leave it.  At least one draft exists in my archives, which are stored in a library in Toronto. If anyone is interested, it is there for him or her to read, this novel that involved me like a knot in an essential cord that takes hours and patience and much trial and error to untangle.

The internet makes publishing easy. I could attach it to this blog or my web site, or go further and make an ebook out of it. Maybe I will do those things, and yet, maybe there is a reason those publishers turned it down. Too big? Okay, maybe. Too sad? Well, yes, but... Well written? Thanks, but never written well enough. What then?

More finished will be when it exists between actual covers as a conventional book for a reader to hold, to hole up with. Old-fashioned as it may be considered to be, that's still my model. Knowing the difficulties of publishing a novel that will fall into no particular easy-to-shelve, easy-to-promote genre, but only the vast ocean of literary fiction, I must begin again knowing full well that even if it is perfectly wrought (and why aim for anything less?), it may travel longer than Odysseus before it finds home.
It's a voyage. You've decided to go. You must prepare all you will need for an undetermined time. You haven't actually tossed the rope onto the wharf and let the current slip you away, but you're on board now, checking supplies.

Compelled to try again, you begin, to cut, to fold back into research, such a comfortable and interesting refuge, like those coves where sailors shelter in particularly vicious storms when the course is uncharted, when they're feeling their way, tacking in this direction, then that, to find the wind that will sail them forward and finally into the harbour they are destined for, wherever that turns out to be.