Before I go on, let me say that I haven’t mastered the art of it. Writing in the face, that is.
I’m working on a series of crime novels based in my home city, Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas. It’s a project that I take very seriously when I’m at it — when I’m writing as my screen personae of Scavella and Madison Hill — but that in my professional, “real” life, I keep very private indeed.
There are reasons for this privacy. I won’t go into them now. Just think of it this way: when you live in a country with a fledgling literary tradition, you consider very seriously the kind of oeuvre you want to add to the pot. Genre novels, even the best, list towards formula, work within parameters that are global in scope, and tend to be featureless — quite literally, they’re generic.
Today, though, art — or perhaps I ought to call it craft, because it’s more slog and smoothing than a whole lot else — met reality in ways that have unseated me, that have thrown me off-balance and interrupted the flow of words.
A colleague and friend was murdered today in the city of Nassau, and the themes that have appeared in the series over different books have become real.
The grief and misery that I feel right now are compounded by the fact that what has come from what I fondly believe to be my imagination is currently far too close for comfort. The location of his death, the manner of his death — these are elements that appear in different books in the series.And I haven’t yet mastered the art of writing in the face of the resulting confusion.