~ Hazel Harps On

Finish Impossible!

I’ve done it! Finished my novel! It is now with my new editor, her suggestions taken on board and carefully integrated. There may yet be a few details to clear up, but basically - can I really say this? I will. I’ll say it - The thing is Finished.

‘Finished’ has been close for a seriously long time now. In fact I’ve reached it several times before. So I don’t particularly trust ‘finished’. I’m worried the book simply isn’t good enough. I know there will be passages that make me squirm in, say, five years’ time when I venture to read it through again in its published form. Yet with each edit it has improved so much! If I can just keep editing forever, won’t it one day be perfect? Um, no.

It’s time. I have to stop fiddling, let go, and get it out there for people to read. Not that there’s much choice. I’m in a world of official deadlines now, and I’m expected to write another book within a year. Which is no bad thing.

When I was a child I had this notion that by the time I was forty (if ever I should reach that advanced age, which was a hilarious idea in itself) I’d definitely be complete, fulfilled, fully-formed. Ha! I am now quite a bit past forty (not saying how much) and realise that in fact I never will be complete, fulfilled and fully-formed. I know a little more than I did and I’ve finally sorted out where I’d like to go in life, but as for getting there… While life continues there’s always fluctuation and always, always room for improvement. Maybe that’s why we turn to art to try and satisfy the inner craving to complete something. But maybe, because art reflects life, that’s why it’s so very difficult to finish our creations.

The ‘finishing’ of the novel corresponds almost exactly with the ‘finishing’ of the CD recording with Foxwillow. And, similarly, it’s hard to let go. Every time you listen you realise there’s something to improve, given just one more chance. But let go you must, and we have. Praying, all the while, that we won’t regret it.

In fact we got the recordings done in super-speedy mode so that the CD will be ready for a major gig in May. I’d only just worked out a harp part to the song ‘Run To The Hills’ when I found myself being recorded. Then videoed. Martin and Celia had filmed themselves running about in snow to the soundtrack, but I was snowed in so couldn’t join them. “Take some footage with your camera,” they told me in an urgent email. “Ideally yourself playing the harp in the snow. Failing that, just look moody in the snow.” Well, I wasn’t going to risk damaging the harp (and, thanks to the wonders of technology, it was possible to add it later with the help of a green screen). So here’s me looking moody in the snow.

(As I write this, on the cusp of April, it's snowing AGAIN. Ridiculous!)

Think I’ve nailed moody, don’t you? I’d like to have got myself looking a lot more, you know, sparkly and appealing, but again, I’ve had to accept it will never get done if I’m that fussy. So I’ve surrendered the footage to Martin and Celia and they can do with it what they will. Just as my Harp-Maker novel is now with my publishers and they'll do with it what they will. My part is done. As good as it gets. Finished. Phew.

Now, how about winter finishing?

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