Watching some essentially mindless television on Tuesday, I grappled with what was impeding my progress on my next book and what it would take for me to regain my momentum. Without putting it into those words, I realized with some flash of insight, that I was missing the one piece, the essence of what would differentiate the book from the thousands of other Holocaust books that are in print.
From the top, a number of things will distinguish it. It’s new, its characters are products of my imagination, and the plot, although similar to other stories of survival in the Warsaw ghetto, has a recounting of its own events. The purely literary view is that all written works are their own unique events, specific to their authors and everything that the authors bring to the keyboard.
But my revelation took the book’s identity to a whole new dimension. No, I won’t disclose what it is, because I’m still developing the plot and all other components. But the realization that I had was that without this type of hook or special item, the book would not have the character that I seek.
And so I suggest, to those who would seek to create a work of art, be it in photography, other visual arts, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, architecture, or whatever – identify what it is about the story you are telling that defines your piece of art. All of the work that you do will magnify and intensify that concept, making it truly the work of your heart.
Now that I have arrived at that place, I have no further obstructions to the completion of my book, other than the time necessary to research the history and accuracy as well as the actual creation of the manuscript. Exactly what was I missing? Direction? Energy? Focus? or the perfect French term, Je ne sais quoi? (I don’t know what). It’s all of the above. Find your center, your core, and your artist’s singularity. Once that’s done, your work will flow. Shalom.