Good riddance, failures.
Today ends this column, at least in weekly form, which for the 15 weeks past has detailed a series of missteps, blind alleys, redirections, redactions, and lessons never learned. Ok, I know, many of the writers in this space and its readers have intimated lessons, although this was never my intent.
To paraphrase the call for the column, this investigation of failure is not mean to add to the narrative of redemption constructed from hindsight, which in all is bespectacled glory reifies traditional notions of Authorship (the development over time, the mastery of headspace). No, the idea here could be that failure can be valuable (or useless) in an of itself–as an articulation of the limits of writing, or our ambitions, of our egos.
Thus, while you may take a warm glow from all of this, don’t overlook the dark pall. On that note, we let Wendy Walker, one of my favorite writers in the tradition of constraint, feel the stage crook pulling her prose from the stage.
In the years following 9/11 I found myself feeling an urgent need to grapple with the issue of war. I chose as my subject the quintessential war of story, the Trojan War. It had key female figures, both mortal and immortal. The work would be a novel centered on three points of view, those of Helen and Paris, the conflict’s relatively clueless catalysts, and that of Athena, who plans and orchestrates the destruction in order to test a number of her new inventions. I would call the novel The City Under the Bed.