William H. Johnson

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Finishing a Manuscript: Seeing the Light and Remembering Darker Times

In Reflection, The Trubaker Orphanage on June 3, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I see it. I can feel it. The light at the end of the tunnel. My second novel, The Trubaker Orphanage is 3-4 weeks from first draft completion. What an amazing journey it has been with the second major phase, and possibly the most personally sacred, coming to a close.

It’s a fascinating thing to realize, particularly for this piece which holds so much personal sentimental value. It’s a story that has been with me since late in my college years. It’s evolved, grown and matured with me as I have grown as an artist and a writer. It represents moving on from dark times and disappointment – an allegory about loving myself first so that I could love others.

There should be no surprise, then, that The Trubaker Orphanage is a love story–a gutsy love story about two childhood friends who owe their lives to a small town’s patron saint and owe each other a chance at a future together. Nothing stifles love like old hurts, however,  and nothing stifles the future like the past. This year, I have personally said goodbye to some old ways of thinking and the space vacated by these long overdue expulsions has been replaced by the determination and inspiration to finish the job.

I realize as I steam toward the light that I’m not alone. In addition to my amazing readers of THE DARK PROVINCE, my friends, loved ones, and writer comrades on twitter and facebook–two old friends particularly feel close by. One was a young man, fellow theatre artist, and college comrade who who took his own life thirteen years ago. He had agreed to play the brother of the main character in its original manifestation as a short film, Bus Stop, way back in 1997. That character that he played, “Jack”, has morphed to “Jake” the main character and narrator’s father. The female lead, Libby Nakamura was inspired on a day spent with another old friend, a true cheerleader of my dream to write and share my stories. She was a television actress in her childhood and was preparing at one point to play the inspired role of Libby in the piece’s second manifestation: a short film called Dream Girl. She passed away at age 28 in 2002 of an extremely rare disease. Today they’re both gone but I feel them close by. As I realize that I can count the days until I can hold a new finished draft in my hand, I am thankful to them—to the challenges and to the choices I’ve managed to make this year to make space for a new creation.

3-4 weeks.

3-4 weeks.

Alright, enough stargazing. Back to work.