First, I have to confess that I almost titled this blog “Behind the Curtain of Behind the Curtain,” which would have been ridiculous.
Third, though it appeals to me to talk a bit about my inspiration concerning “Behind the Curtain,” I’m also cautious of adding anything to the work. A story should stand and speak on its own, without its author having to explain it. It might be best if I said nothing. But I wanted to write a blog, and this topic was the first to come to mind. So let’s keep it brief, shall we?
I guess I’ll just say this: the route from inspiration to first paragraph to ending to revision is a convoluted one. Inspiration can start a story, but it has a hard time of ending one until I’ve put words on the page and discovered what shape the flesh takes on the bones. And then when I find the end, I have to surgically alter the beginning to make the two halves into one complete and coherent beast.
So, where did this story start? In the Old Testament.
A few months ago I started jotting ideas in a little notebook, and many of the ideas came from verses I read in the Bible. What appeals to me is the concept, the hinted of the larger shape, that the verse holds.
In the case of “Behind the Curtain,” I was reading Exodus. Chapters and chapters detail the specifications of the Tabernacle. It struck me how much work went into a place only priests could enter. Then, the centerpiece, the Ark of the Covenant, sat in the Holy of Holies, where only one person, once a year, could enter.
Think of that–the heart of God’s great project, and no one can see it.
That was the inspiration, the kernel, the shadow of something large and mysterious I wanted to distill, in some manner, into a short story.
But how to make it a story? Well, that’s the hard part.
If it was easy, I wouldn’t have so many ideas in that notebook and so few new stories.
Maybe I can manage more soon.