The paperback of Heidegger’s Glasses is about to be released and the Reader's Guide is up at my web site. When I look at it, I have a comforting and misguided sense of reassurance about my next book, because the questions make it seem as though I made deliberate choices. What's closer to the truth is that story made the choices for me.
For example, when I started Heidegger's Glasses, I knew it took place during WW II. My sense of World War II was somewhat inchoate and it didn't occur to me that it mattered at what point in the war the story took place. But at some point toward the middle of the book, I knew it could only take place after the battle of Stalingrad---a time when Germany was in chaos, food was scarce, and the government took desperate measures to assure the German people that they were winning the war. Nor did I know that the female protagonist had signature colors. In a real sense, she showed them to me, just as various events in the book helped me understand when during the war the story took place.
I began like a paratrooper, entering territory that seemed vast and impossible to explore. I had a vague understanding of the path. But I kept straying from it again and again until I discovered that the path had landmarks and the landmarks led to particular places and people that contained vibrant details. One might say that the adventure was in finding the restrictions and limitations that took me out of a vague, inchoate world and showed me the story. In later drafts I did make choices. But the choices were about bringing certain elements into bold relief, rather than choosing the elements themselves.
I've always liked this poem by Yeats:
Hands, do what you're bid.
Bring the balloon of the mind
That bellies and drags in the wind
Into its narrow shed.
I realize the poem is speaking about the inevitable disappointment of the artist--disappointment about a vision that looms large in the imagination and becomes much smaller when it's crafted and made tangible. Yet the narrow shed is also a place of shimmering mystery because it contains landscapes that point to larger worlds. Its very existence makes it possible to share one's vision with a stranger.
The Reader's Guide for Heidegger's Glasses is at http://tinyurl.com/3nwas43. Please take a look at it.
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