Just recently, having submitted the first full draft of the second Watson novel to my publishers, Burns and Lea Media, I have gone back to a coming-of-age novel, with the working title, Starling. It’s a sea change, one of those moments where I must get my head into a better, clearer place for another project that I need to see published, knowing that when Burns and Lea want to talk about the second Watson book, which I’ve titled, Sherlock Holmes and the Twelfth Night Plot, I’ll need to abandon work on the one and get my thoughts aligned with Watson’s voice again.
Oh, I’ll come back to Starling, when I can. It’s a story set in a mythical Louisville Neighborhood in the sixties. When I do, it will mean another shift in thinking. It reminds me of Michelangelo’s “Prigioni,” in the Accadamia Gallery in Florence. Like the one pictured above, these are all unfinished pieces. I often wonder if the great Michelangelo could have ever finished them.
I saw them for the first time when I was fifteen, much like the age of Starling’s protagonist, Andy. At the time, I was with a group of kids on a tour, and they were all surging through the gallery to get to the gigantic “David,” but I had eyes only for the Prigioni, who looked to me like they were struggling to escape the stone, to urge their creator to finish them, set them free.
That was fifty years ago, and I’m in the position of many artists who know that some pieces that are struggling to get free from the creative processes will never stand on their own. There are four “Prigioni” and one “David.” Unfinished art forms part of every artist’s legacy. My works cannot compare with Michelangelo’s, but the struggle to free them is the same. I write every day, except Sundays, and I know that I have many, many stories to share. Will I get them free of the “marble” of my strange creative process before the hammer and chisel drop from my hands? Time will tell.