Chapter 1 | Writer's Commentary
Hello Subscribers! It’s so thrilling to be able to send you something. By subscribing you are keeping me accountable for creating, which is huge for me!
So thank you. Here is my first official post.
This is how it works:
Every 2 weeks: I will open up one of the chapters for discussion. You can see which chapter we are on by clicking on ‘Top’ on the homepage. You’ll see all relevant posts to the current chapter.
For each chapter, I will add some commentary on the themes within it and I will occasionally interview some of the folks that inspired this writing.
What I need from you: Participation and Feedback. This has been crucial to me so far. So please don’t spare a comment, email, or use the threads I will crate to share something.
Share it with your friends that would like that kind of conversation. Everyone is welcome!
Aight, let’s get to it.
We will start with Chapter 1: Prologue for the first 2 weeks of March. I am very excited to interview a dear friend whose encounter with an actual bull inspired this first chapter! Tune in next Sunday to hear it.
Writer’s Commentary on Chapter 1:
I chose this as the start of the novel for how vulnerable and touched I was when I heard this story. We frequently think of obstacles as things that need to be crushed and destroyed. Otherwise, we are cowards. What drew me into this story was how the narrator chose a form of compassion and connection versus destruction.
I find myself reacting to confrontations (mostly with people, not bulls) in one of two ways: Either ‘Othering’/Vilifying them or avoiding them completely. This story really inspired me. There seems to be another path towards conflict.
So the question becomes how do we hold that sort of “Fierce Compassion” towards another being that might be at a crossroads with our path? I just loved the literal imagery and the figurative meaning in this. For those of you who read further into the chapters, you realize that Maskat grows up in the presence of many bulls around him, and the child meets many male versions of the bull throughout this first part of the novel.
This chapter is the first, but it is actually is set in a timeline that is many decades after the child version of Maskat that I introduce in Chapter 2. This is meant to show where the story is going, and I hope it has piqued your curiosity for what is to come, and how the insecure child that is being bullied by everyone, will eventually rise to be able to magically connect with animals and have the maturity that is required to do so. This is also one of the few chapters that are written in the form of a memoir/journal rather than the 3rd person narrative style I use for the chapters. I wanted to write the whole book that way in the beginning but then decided to leverage this as a tool that brings you deep inside one of the character’s psyche every now and then. I have been told that these pieces are the most touching.
The person who shared this story with me is someone I look up to, especially when it comes to human connection. He is someone who has been through many conflicts in his life, and so this is kind of a testament to him and the progress he has been able to make which I admire so much, and think there is much to learn from.
I basically took the story and put in works almost verbatim here, but I did add the concept of shame and inner voices which will return many times throughout the book. This is something I struggle with myself, all the stories telling me that I should do this, or be a certain way. This has pushed me into a state of mental paralysis many times and I write this chapter in the hope of reminding myself and the readers that this is a state of mind that can be challenged or at least accepted for what it is.
The bigger theme here is this: The bull is inside of us all, and by fighting it we get locked in a bloody conflict, whereas by accepting it and relating to it, we can find a way out. It is not easy, and that is going to be Maskat’s journey throughout the story.
As you all know, I am experimenting, so if this commentary is helpful let me know, if it is not, also please let me know! See you next Sunday!
I have also started a discussion thread for this chapter. Please use it and let me know what this chapter means for you!