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Is a Work of Art Ever Finished?

As I read and re-read my "finished" proofs of the three Osiris Plan novels, I am struck by the incessant urge to "re-touch" and re-phrase, to improve, even to add little details that I "forgot" to include. This is an illustration of how difficult it is to "let go" of a piece of art.
     Though the "giving birth" analogy is not unfounded, I do not think that a piece of art qualifies as an example of a living breathing progeny; you can't really go back and change or undo an event or effect of your influence on a person like you can with a story rendered "permanent" onto paper.
     As a person with an athletic background, the haunting of "if onlys" and "should haves" is familiar to me. And yet, even with a work that can still be retouched and modified--as these books can--there comes a time where one has to--where one wants to--let go and move on. I have other projects to get to, more creating to do. But Amazon's wonderful CreateSpace service allows the author/artist to return to a "finished" product and change or edit content or artwork...forever! It is a gift that I never thought possible--a gift as already I've discovered multiple "mistakes" or awkwardnesses that I want to go back and change. So, I am! It's so wonderful to be able to do this! Thank you so much, modern digital Internet world, for allowing this fairly fluid process to continue to unfold and adapt.
     I cannot imagine the inner turmoil and consternation writer/authors of the former age had to put up with. I try to put myself in the shoes--into the mind--of Charles Dickens or Feodor Doestoevsky or Herman Melville as their latest installments--often edited by "professionals" at their printing point or publication house--reached the public eye--reached their own eyes. Now I understand why so many actors try to avoid watching the films or shows that they're in: the artist is rarely content with their "finished" product, rarely satisfied that they might have achieved "perfection" with this latest expression of their talents. And the fact that for every William Faulkner or Umberto Eco there are a thousand Drew Fishers leaves one simply unable to puff one's chest. I try to find satisfaction with my work, contentment with my meagre ability to use language to tell a story, but then there are always one's heroes to continue to compare oneself to. I find myself able to enjoy and be proud of the achievement of the expression of my story.
     Though people will surely find similarities in my characters or themes to works of others, I am humbled by the fact that I still enjoy my own stories--I still get emotional when I read my books; even in the umpteenth perusal I find myself getting engaged, choking up at the emotional scenes, laughing at the subtleties of humor, feeling surprised at a "clever" twist of words. Writing is fun. Even when the work is "finished." Whatever that means…   


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An Interview with The Author

The following transcript is the artist's rendering of an interview of author Drew Fisher as conducted by Peter Vandenhof on May 29, 2017.

PV:  So, Drew. May I call you Drew?

DF:  Drew is fine.

PV:  How long have you been writing?

DF:  I've been writing since I was 16 years old. I had a long distance relationship. I fell in love with a girl literally the week before my family and I moved 250 miles away from her. So, I wrote letters.

PV:  Letters?

DF:  Yes. Back then people wrote letters. A family had one telephone line per household--which had to be shared among all family members. So, the phone was not an option. We didn't have computers or texting yet.

PV:  So you wrote letters?

DF:  Yep. Daily. Ten pages and more.

PV:  Every day.

DF:  Yep. I was so in love. I pined away a whole summer for the sake of a girl I'd only known a week. It's kind of like that oldest child in Captain Fantastic--

PV:  You mean, Bo?

DF:  I don't know. Was that his name? Anyway. Rather …

The Editing Process

I'm working my way through the publication process with an editor named "Gregg" from Amazon's wonderful CreateSpace self-publish assist service. The editorial staff has been extremely friendly and helpful if a little above me in terms of familiarity with all of the 'rules' of English printing. Gregg had these kind words to say in his first return letter to me:

OverviewThis is an engaging and intriguing novel. The rich detail about the school and its curriculum provides a nice sense of depth, but I am most fascinated by the moral ambiguity of the school and the headmaster. While you explicitly establish that the “Order” is not the Illuminati of popular myth, there is certainly a sinister quality to it, most clearly articulated in the last chapter. But at the same time, the headmaster himself is so thoroughly likable and fatherly that the hints of something sinister are all the more unexpected and unsettling when they begin to appear, and I find myself eager to …

Second Round of Editing Is Complete

The manuscript for Brig-Wallis Preparatory School for Boys has just gone through its second round of editing--called "copyediting." The team over at CreateSpace handed my manuscript over to a second editor--"Jenny"--for this stage of the process. I like the fact that a "fresh set of eyes" had a look at my story--especially since her reception of it was as positive and encouraging as the first! Plus, "Jenny" was much more rules-oriented than "Gregg," so I learned a ton about very persnickety punctuation, grammar, and spelling rules. (Who are these Chicago Manual of Style people anyway--and how and where did they get so much power and sway?)
      In an interesting aside, I wanted to write each chapter in a style and with the spelling and punctuation customs and rules of the countries that they took place in--which means the chapters taking place in Switzerland would conform to Swiss punctuation and terms, the chapters taking place in Fr…