Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Story Knows Best

"There are no endings, only beginnings..."
~ Mark David Gerson

As I sit here staring at my blank screen and wondering what to write, I can't help but link this void to the void I have been feeling since late Tuesday afternoon, when I put to bed the final version of the final story in my Q'ntana Trilogy of novels and screenplays. In a process launched on New Year's Day this year, I had been going over the filmscripts for The MoonQuest, The StarQuest and The SunQuest and the novel manuscripts for The StarQuest and The SunQuest, making a last round of revisions before declaring them complete and ready for production (the films) and publication (the novels).

"Wonderful accomplishment," you might say. "But why the void?"

Good question. Consider this: When the first words of my first draft of The MoonQuest pushed themselves out of me and onto the page 19 years ago today, I was still in the early stages of a creative awakening that was, then, only a few years old. While I had written some poetry and short literary vignettes, I had never tackled anything this ambitious. Not that I knew what I was doing. As I wrote in Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir, I had no plans to write a fantasy novel (let alone a trilogy) and I knew nothing of the story, except as it revealed itself to me moment-to-moment. The story just happened to me.

In the intervening years, The MoonQuest book was finished and published (and won multiple awards), I wrote The StarQuest and The SunQuest novels (in much the way I had written The MoonQuest) and I wrote all three screenplays. And while I produced two other books in that time, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write and Acts of Surrender, the bulk of my creative energy has been defined by these Q'ntana stories.

Nineteen years: That's one-third of my life (so far) and half my adult life, largely dedicated to this multigenerational epic fantasy. And now it's finished. No wonder I feel empty, bewildered and uncertain, even as I also feel exhilarated, accomplished and gratified.

Of course, I'm not entirely done with my Q'ntana oeuvre. Production of the three Q'ntana Trilogy movies still lies ahead, and both The StarQuest and The SunQuest books await the resources and/or opportunities that will get them published and out into the world. But the writing -- all the writing -- is finished, and a 19-year-cycle along with it.

So what's next? Even if I do end up directing the three Q'ntana films (and I'm open to letting the right someone else do it if that will accelerate funding and, hence, production), there is little for me to do until financing is in place. And while I continue to contribute what I can to that process, the primary responsibility for that lies (mercifully) with the producer. As for The StarQuest and The SunQuest books, their fate is in their own hands, as it has always been. When the time comes, I will actively promote them, as I have done with my other books. That time is not yet here.

So what's next? I don't honestly know. I have enjoyed teaching and speaking about writing, creativity and spirituality over the years (even more than, at times, I have enjoyed writing about them!), but I have grown weary of having to be the one who sets up the workshops, hustles for the participants and subsidizes the speaking engagements. As for writing, I can never stop being a writer. But apart from a small ebook project that I have been toying with (a Voice of the Muse supplement about overcoming writer's block), I have no projects in the pipeline, nor have any new ones shown up. And while I'm not limiting myself to speaking, teaching and writing, no other possibilities have presented themselves, either.

I recognize that in that cornucopia of possibility that is the infinity of the Universe, it is still early days. After all, it has been barely 48 hours since I did the final save of the final Q'ntana documents, and I have only barely recovered from the physical, creative and emotional push that helped me meet my March 26 goal. Why March 26? Among the myriad writings about yesterday's early morning full moon, I discovered these two questions on an astrological website early this week:
• What is complete for you?
• Are you ready to move ahead?

When I recognized that endings/new beginnings was a key theme of this full moon (as well as of last week's Spring Equinox and this Passover/Easter week), I knew it was important that I time my Q'ntana completion with this lunar energy. After all, this whole journey began with a MoonQuest! The full-circle synchronicity of finishing two days shy of the 19th anniversary of The MoonQuest's conception (and the 18th of the completion of its first draft) also fed into my commitment.

So, here I am, back where I began: still in the void. I had hoped that writing this piece would offer me a hint of my next journey. I had hoped it, but didn't really expect it. What it did do was remind me that I dwell in the same formless void that opens Genesis. While rarely a comfortable place to be, it's the perfect place for me to be right now as I await the next phase of my own Creation.

My own words in The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write remind me of that. Here's how I ended the book as, in 2007, I readied myself to embark on new unmapped adventures...

As I move into the next chapter of my life, I am reminded that this, like all journeys, is one of infinite surrender — word by word, moment by moment, breath by breath. 

I am particularly reminded of this as I reflect on where I wrote the first draft of this chapter: in Santa Fe, a city whose name translates as “holy faith.”

In this moment I cannot tell you how this chapter will end nor where the next will take me. 

All I can do — all we can ever do, in writing as in life — is trust in the story.

It has never let me down before. Truly, the story knows best.

Truly, it does.

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Photos: "Celestial Fireworks" by NASA; "Story" by Mark David Gerson


Lita Villa-Coult said...

A writer must write! :)

Mercury Thoth said...

Mark, Did you know that the great metonic lunar cycle or lunar return takes 19 years? In other words, every 19 years the Sun and the Moon return to exactly the same place in the skies as they were before.

Mark David Gerson said...

Lita - Yup!

Mark David Gerson said...

Mercury Thoth - Amazing...and just a bit creepy! LOL