Today is the beginning of many things. It’s the First Sunday in Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year for Anglicans, Catholics and others who follow such things. It’s also the eve of St. Andrew’s Day, which is appropriate because my experience at the prep school named after it was in part the inspiration of what’s going to dominate this blog for the next three months–my novel The Ten Weeks. It’s timely for reasons I’ll set forth, in addition to being (hopefully) entertaining.
How It Was Written
The early part of this millennium was for me a time of rediscovery: of my Anglican/Episcopal roots, of my family history, even of my golf game. One result of those rediscoveries was the Island Chronicles, which had its genesis in the mid-1970’s. Those really haven’t been widely published, because I’m not the kind who likes to fill up my garage with books, and many fiction authors end up doing just that.
As the first decade of the millennium lumbered on, I had the feeling that there was one more place to discover, and that place was the Island in the early 1970’s (the beginning of the Unix Era for computer people.) In January 2006 I was appointed Ministries Coordinator for the Lay Ministries Department of the Church of God; in August this site became a WordPress blog. Somewhere between those two milestones I began organising and writing The Ten Weeks, which was completed early the following year. With one minor revision in 2008 it has stood ever since; it is the only novel which has passed into distribution, but again with no desire of spending a great deal of money getting it published–and fiction in general being the crapshoot it is–it hasn’t gotten a great deal of exposure either. This blogging series is an attempt to fix that problem.
Christian political involvement in this country is based on two narratives, one of which is vocalised, the other hidden, neither true.
The first is that, until some recent time, this country has been a seamless Christian country with seamless Christian virtues. Although I’d be the first to admit that the arc of our morality hasn’t been upward in my adult lifetime, the truth is more complicated than that, complicated by such things as Masonry, Judaism and, to some extent, Roman Catholicism.
The second is that the wealthy (and later the educated) are, by virtue of having risen to their status, more virtuous and better, and thus deserving of deference. This has always been a thread in Christian life in this country, but there has been pushback, especially in the South. With a major shift in that culture, it made it easier to sell “Reaganomics” to the Christian community during the 1980’s and beyond, and thus merge the two into one political movement. But the truth of the matter is that, the closer you get to the wealthy, the more you realise that this is false, and moreover they are the source of many of the social ills that have degraded our society, as they can afford the blowback of their failure and the rest of us cannot.
Recent events should be a wake-up call that our failure to recognise the falsity of these narratives has gotten us into serious trouble. Many are shocked that things have turned out the way they have. But for those of us who were in the storm of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and were not raised on another planet, where we’re at was predictable; the surprise is that it took as long as it did. The Ten Weeks is, in one sense, a thought experiment as to what life would have looked like if the timetable had matched our expectations.
Blogging the Novel
Although it’s been done successfully, blogging a novel isn’t as straightforward as it looks. The Ten Weeks is no exception. The title implies a timetable, and the book is built around a very tight chronology. The original narrative is set from December 1970 to February 1971. In blogging the novel, I was aided by two providential circumstances which greatly helped things along. The first is that we are at the fiftieth anniversary of the setting of the novel. The second is that the days of the week for that anniversary are identical to the setting of the novel. This means that the narrative can be presented realistically in the novel’s time sequence. The trout in the milk is that fiction, like life, is more eventful on some days than others, so I have had to split up some of the days and move them back some to keep the blog posts from becoming too long. With that my success is mixed; I have done my best, I trust that you will find it acceptable.
If you don’t, of course, you can order the novel in paper or virtual form; places to do that are all around you on this site. In any case it’s time to start the adventure that is The Ten Weeks.