inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #101 of 186: . (wickett) Tue 24 Aug 10 12:21
    

A fascinating theory, Coleman, yes indeed, but somewhat skewered by 
mentioning Dickens.  What about Barkus and Peggoty?  David Copperfield 
taking care of his useless Dora?  Dan'l faithfully looking out for Little 
Em'ly.  Joe staunchly rescuing Pip, even after being discarded...

Care-givers and care-absorbers seem to find each other in real life as 
well as in fiction; they switch off roles; they stop doing what is 
expected of them; and both men and women write novels about the pairings 
and separations.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #102 of 186: Harmless drudge (ckridge) Tue 24 Aug 10 12:38
    
Oh, I have no general theory of men's versus women's books here.
Still, men in this novel seem to be problems to be managed or solved,
rather than managers or solvers of problems. This seems to me to be a
perspective more immediately available to women than to men. This is
not anything wrong with the novel; a novel is the world from a point of
view. Things look different from different points of view. This is why
one reads novels.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #103 of 186: . (wickett) Tue 24 Aug 10 12:45
    

Ah.  My apologies for reading what you didn't write.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #104 of 186: Harmless drudge (ckridge) Tue 24 Aug 10 12:59
    
Lest there be a sense that saying that Kate writes novels from a
woman's point of view is a trenchant attack, let me praise the novel
for a while. 

Jean is in some ways an almost perfectly written character. Not that
she is a perfect person. Far from it. 

Jean's great strength is her even, evaluative, judging mind. It kept
her from being convinced she was innately inferior, back when that was
the project. This strength is also, as the book shows, her weakness.
Her judgmental gaze oppresses one daughter and drives the other into
rebellion. This same gaze is, in turn, when turned back upon herself,
her redemption. She applies the same merciless scrutiny to herself that
she had applied to others, finds herself wanting, and makes
corrections. 

This is elegant. The plot grows out of the character as if by
necessity.

The exposition is elegant, too. You get the best idea of what a
nightmare Jean could have been as a parent by seeing how she deals with
herself when she decides she has been a bad parent. She is a
formidable woman, and easily my favorite character in the book. She
would have made a good judge.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #105 of 186: Linda Castellani (castle) Tue 24 Aug 10 14:02
    

That makes two votes for JeeJee so far...
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #106 of 186: . (wickett) Tue 24 Aug 10 14:39
    

Beautifully written.  I think Leonard's even-handed kindness and genuine 
acceptance had a lot to do with Jean's ability to relinquish her 
judgmental positions, review her partiality, and become a person who 
would have made a good judge.  
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #107 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Tue 24 Aug 10 15:55
    
Wow.  Morning here in Australia and I've just read these insightful
comments.  I'm feeling, to be honest, kind of blown away. Need some
time to digest them before coming back to you all. 

Once again, thank you.

Greedily, I am now wishing you'd read my first novel, to compare and
contrast. All the men in that one are nice guys – though, I have to
think more about <ckridge>'s "problems to be managed" proposition.

 
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #108 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Tue 24 Aug 10 16:05
    
<Wickett>, you "ran away from fundamentalists on my sixteenth birthday
with the Mounties after me"?

Oh man! Can I steal this for fictive purposes??

Enormously pleased that you say I got the fundamentalist stuff right.
Can I ask, where there particular scenes or conversations in the book
which made you think this?

Before writing this novel, btw, I had only ever been to church
services a few times in my life, on occasions such as a cousin's
wedding.  

More about this, too, later in the day. 
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #109 of 186: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (peoples) Tue 24 Aug 10 16:58
    

Oh yes, I'm eager to hear more about that, Kate. I mean, you painted Faith
Rise, the fundamentalist church/group that Angie belonged to, as pretty
dark. What sent you down that track? I also want to hear more of wickett's
story about running away from fundamentalists, too!

Also, Kate, you asked:

> did it seem reasonable to you (albeit in some possibly nutty sense) 
> that Stella-Jean would try to take Finn away to Bali?

It didn't jar me in any way, Kate. In fact, I never had a moment when
reading "Trust" (or Listen/Backward Glance, for that matter) that I felt
a character's actions were false or contrived. You've got a wonderful way
of making the reader believe in your characters. 
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #110 of 186: Linda Castellani (castle) Tue 24 Aug 10 17:43
    

Yes.  Even the minor characters like the woman who runs the gallery where 
Susanna got a studio, and Leonard, and Andrew. 

Notice now we aren't talking about Gabriel?

The way you wrote about him, Kate, made me wonder what was wrong with 
Angie's perceptions.  *I* could see the red flags flapping urgently.  
Why couldn't she?  She had such clear ideas about the man she wanted, yet 
when Gabriel showed up, she doesn't seem to notice that it's not him, 
wanting it so desperately to be him.

Another scene that I wanted to mention was the one upstairs in the 
bedroom of the pastor's bratty daughters whose cruel joke made me cringe 
for poor Finn.  There is a certain kind of person who seems to know 
exactly who to pick on for such a big payoff.  She's off the hook for her 
behavior, she has contempt for Finn, and she wins because she has now 
created such a hostile environment for Finn, that it made my heart sink 
to think of the repercussions of her lies that Finn is powerless to 
refute.

I've been Finn, and the way you tell the story is so right-on, I can't 
help but wonder if you've ever been that kid, the one with no power, few 
choices, and none of them good.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #111 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Wed 25 Aug 10 02:29
    
12 hours after first reading them, I'm still knocked out by the
earlier posts. <ckridge's post about Jean - #104, I think - and
<wickett>'s response are some of the most insightful observations
anyone, even my sainted editor, has made about this character, and the
creation and purpose of character in a novel.


It will probably come as no surprise to any of you by now when I tell
you that I am someone who writes by instinct. I've never studied
writing, or literature (or anything else for that matter) and I haven't
got great analytical skills at all. So I just feel my way into my
characters and their stories, burrowing until I know, somehow, that
I've reached their truth.

Reading these comments, and many of the others, makes me understand my
own work in new ways. How is this possible?
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #112 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Wed 25 Aug 10 02:30
    
And post #98, about the female characters caretaking the male
characters and their problems, makes me understand something new about
MYSELF, which seems even more astonishing.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #113 of 186: Harmless drudge (ckridge) Wed 25 Aug 10 04:06
    
How is it possible to write something like this? I always assumed I
could write a novel, given a year, patience, and a will of steel. Then,
when I realized I would have to talk about this book with its actual
author, I began to read it analytically and for structure. It was like
beginning to take things out of a shopping bag, and after a while the
room is full and there's still stuff in the bottom of the bag. And it's
an ordinary good novel, not a classic work of Western literature.
(Sorry. That will be your third book. You have to work up to these
things.) I could no more write one of these than I could walk a
tightrope while juggling. There's just too much going on. How is it
possible?
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #114 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Wed 25 Aug 10 04:15
    
Now, I'll tell you how I came to write about fundamentalism, or at
least, about Angie's church, Faith Rise. 

I'd grown up in an atheist household and never witnessed organised
religion up close, nor had I ever felt a flicker of religious faith.
Even the loose talk about "spirituality" that one often finds in, for
example, the yoga community, left me unmoved and vaguely irritated. But
the rise of various fundamentalisms over the past decade is
interesting, to say the least: even to me.

In about 2005 I shared a house with a young woman who had been
addicted to amphetamines.  Her life got quite out of control, but then
she had been "rescued" by finding God (capital G) at an evangelical
church in Melbourne. Marina become an instant and fervent believer, and
convert-gatherer, for her church. A few years later, when studying
comparative religion in Scandinavia, it had suddenly hit her that
believing in Christianity was an accident of place and culture, and
after that realisation her faith inexorably crumbled. She described
this experience as terrifying, and desolating. I was fascinated, and
asked her a zillion questions. She became the basis of my character of
Angie -- with many, many imagined elements too, of course. Marina's
still a friend, btw, and named in Trust's acknowledgements.

A year or so later I heard another young woman named Tanya Levin speak
at the Melbourne Writers Festival about her memoir, "People in Glass
Houses: a life in and out of Hillsong". Hillsong is a BIG evangelical
church based in Sydney, and Tanya's parents were among its earliest
members, joining when she was 10 or so. Boy, does she rip into that
church and its hierarchy! The unacknowledged sexual abuse that Angie
experiences was part of what Tanya Levin talked about. (Gerry takes a
swipe at Hillsong in an early conversation with his sister-in-law.)

Finally, nearly two years ago, having written several drafts of Trust,
I faced the fact that in order to write this aspect of the novel
convincingly I would have to (gulp) go to church myself. As it
happened, there was a small church literally just around the corner
from where I was staying at the time in North Sydney; it had changed
its name from St John of the something-or-other to Church by the Bridge
(Sydney Harbour Bridge, that is). One Sunday afternoon, I saw some
young people carrying band equipment in, and that ended my
shilly-shallying. 

I attended maybe three of their youth pop services, and was as baffled
and horrified as Susanna. The banality, and the incomprehensible
emphasis on sin and being saved - and, worst, the sexism of the
sermons. And yet all the young women I spoke to – and I was always
perfectly frank about why I was there – was amazing. They were bright,
lovely girls, and the church gave them something that, clearly, I
didn't get. It was like their otherwise functioning brains just
short-circuited on "faith".

Religious faith is even more of a mystery to me now than ever – but I
must say that I had great fun writing Gabriel's songs. I know the
melodies, too. You want me to hum you a few bars?  I actually had more
of each one, more verses and choruses, but my editor found those songs
so grating, she wanted me to cut them all. After I explained why they
were important to me and, I felt, the story, we compromised. 

So tell me, dear readers: where are you on green-eyed Gabriel's songs?
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #115 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Wed 25 Aug 10 04:26
    
re #113: You do make me laugh, ckridge. (May I call you Coleman?
Wickett did!) "Walking on a tightrope while juggling" – to tell you the
truth, writing this novel DID feel a bit like that at times. I never
printed it out, either, in the four years of working on it, till it was
finished. Crazy. A couple of times I thought my brain was just going
to bust.

"An ordinary good novel" is fine by me, especially when assessed as
such by such a discerning reader – who's also a terrific writer, that's
clear too. 
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #116 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Wed 25 Aug 10 04:26
    
Tomorrow, a bit about young Finn.  Promise.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #117 of 186: . (wickett) Wed 25 Aug 10 10:36
    

Your ability, Kate, instinctively to reach rich veins inside your 
characters is remarkable and speaks to your own depth of compassion and 
empathy.

Thinking about how to answer your question about Finn and Faith Rise and 
Gabriel, I recognized that the truth was not in any scene or dialogue.  
It is the look, the feel, the music, the interactions, the melding and 
moulding of all the bits.

Gabriel simply looks like a sanctimonious, hypocritical prick.  A nice 
coincidence of matching internals with externals.  Religious nuts I have, 
regrettably, known often exhibit similar physicality (is religious 
fundamentalism writ in the DNA?)...and nurderous proclivities.

Pastors' children are *always* the worst bullies.  No one ever disbelieves 
the sainted darlin's and they unerringly know how to manipulate their 
parents, "the people closest to God."  And hurt anyone who is *outside.*  
It's _Lord of the Flies_ in pretty pink dresses at Sunday School. 
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #118 of 186: . (wickett) Wed 25 Aug 10 10:44
    

Phooey, *Murderous* proclivities, but you knew that.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #119 of 186: Pamela McCorduck (pamela) Wed 25 Aug 10 17:00
    
Gabriel is a type. Not a stereotype, but a type. We've all known them.
As a friend--a pastor, in fact, though not my pastor, only a
friend--said to me recently in quite another context: What a pity true
believers are so often on the wrong side.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #120 of 186: Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 25 Aug 10 18:07
    

> Pastors' children are *always* the worst bullies.

Did not know that!
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #121 of 186: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (peoples) Wed 25 Aug 10 19:13
    

>  Tomorrow, a bit about young Finn

Yes, I want to hear your take on castle's question, Kate.

Also, I wondered something about Finn -- the way he's written, I kind of
thought of him as having a low level case of Asberger's, or maybe something
ADD-like.  Was that what you had in mind when you created him, Kate? Or is 
he just a regular little boy and you're giving exposition to his internal 
life from a small kid's perspective?

And speaking of Asberger's and ADD and such, in the US there's been a lot 
of press about these conditions, with a huge number of diagnosed cases in
children. It's presented in the media as some sort of epidemic. There's
lots of parental worry, lots of prescribed meds, and subsequqently lots of 
blowback from factions distressed about over-diagnosing and over-
prescribing. 

Is ADD / ADHD / ODD / Asbergers / autism considered a serious problem
in Australian children? Is it on the rise, or written up as being on
the rise the way it is here?
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #122 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Wed 25 Aug 10 19:36
    
Thanks for ALL these posts. I have a fair bit to say about Finn but
may get interrupted by an expected visitor, so forgive me if this post
ends abruptly.  And I'll return to this issue.

Let me say, re Castle's comment that she has "been Finn", that my
heart goes out to anyone who has experienced, as a child, persecution
and bullying. Finn has at least one staunch ally, in his cousin
Stella-Jean, but some children don't have even that. The powerlessness
of childhood – which all children experience, to greater and less
degrees – is terrible enough without being actively bullied.

Bullying is a scourge, and possibly the aspect of human behaviour
which I most detest. 

And – my visitor is here!  Darn!  But I shall return.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #123 of 186: . (wickett) Wed 25 Aug 10 20:46
    

No succour far exceeds the threatened damnations of hell.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #124 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Thu 26 Aug 10 00:03
    
What a remarkably apt quote, wickett. May I ask where it's from?
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #125 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Thu 26 Aug 10 00:25
    
And thank you <wickett for you very kind words a few posts back about
my being able to tap "rich veins" within my characters, instinctively
and through empathy. 

Writing a novel is such an isolated undertaking, and then when the
book is published one is expected to suddenly become a salesperson and
shameless self-promoter. The two aspects of producing a book are so
opposed to each other, it can make one feel quite loopy at times. To
have the opportunity to discuss my novel at such depth, with such
generous and thoughtful readers, is an unlooked-for gift. 

Another whole week to go, and I rather fancy we won't have run out of
topics even then!
  

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