Monday, November 06, 2006

The Knights who say Ni...gredo

Last week I finished shooting a film (more of which here). Now, as the material gets digitised and then Fed Exed to our editor in LA, I find myself this foggy morning reading the latest issue of Alchemy Journal, in particular an article about that old alchemical chestnut, 'Who was Fulcanelli?'. (My own theories suggest that he was, in fact, the French filmmaker Robert Bresson - but that's something to discuss with De Selby over inordinate amounts of alchemically produced whisky!).

The upshot of my reading is that it's high time to work on Elias as full-time as possible. I've been doing this blog for 24 (solar) months now, and it really is time to try and up the ante. True, this period has not been easy for personal and professional reasons, but try as I might, I can't bring myself to begin work on another novel. I've thought of a few potboilers - about the Templars mainly, but even one on alchemy that I was considering a month or two back, and over the weekend gave thought to turning an old screenplay about fairies into a prose - but as I now look through the various Elias drafts, it seems there is only one way to go: deeper into what I've already done.

I also feel I've been evading my responsibilities with this book - something I tend to do with commissioned books (the last three of which were all largely written after their respective deadlines had passed). But before I lapse into the slough of despond, or, perhaps worse, visit Slough accidentally, I've just noticed something in the latest issue of AJ, namely the article by John Reid III:

'If there is one stumbling block in the plant work, nay the entire Royal Art, I would have to say it is from the paving stone that thinks itself a cornerstone, thus occluding the work at its inception.'

Perhaps this has been true of my progress with the story so far; it was certainly a feeling I had on last October's Arvon with Adam and Lindsay. Perhaps the delays and general slowness of the whole thing are necessary. Maybe that's true of life generally, reminding me of something that Jennifer Lash said in her great book On Pilgrimage, namely that delays are good, because they slow us down, and we need to be slowed down in order to learn. Back to the paving stone/corner stone idea, and the alchemical circulata. Which in turn reminds me of something that Lindsay has said to me time and time again, that Elias should not be a novel about alchemy, but an alchemical novel. Certainly seems to be the case! Time to say 'Ni!.... gredo' and get back into the kingdom of plants, minerals, and words.

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