Earlier this month I asked myself why I wrote my debut novel, The Confessions of Adam (Bold Vision Books, 2019). I realized that I’d thought quite a bit about the ‘themes’ of the novel – the guiding concerns of the work – but I’d never written them down.
So I did. Here’s the list.
Central concerns/questions that drove me to write The Confessions of Adam:
What actually happened in Eden and after? I was drawn into the Hebrew narrative. I was a reader first.
How does personal memory work? Is even the most trustworthy of memories trustworthy?
How might Adam have defended himself – long after the events of Eden?
Why is this narrative so unexplored fictionally in this form?
So what are some answers that I came to while writing?
Here you go:
Reading the narrative of Genesis 2-4 was the greatest driver to writing it. If I hadn’t found it compelling as a reader I could never have written the story. There is also a creative event that happens quite early in the writing of something like this. You come to believe what you’re writing. Of course you know it’s fiction, but you come to believe that whatever happened, the telling you’ve settled on is closest to the unknowable facts.
Our memories (what and how we recall events) is a complex calculus. Our memories are shaped by our biases and reshaped each time we revisit them. Like putty, we pull at certain aspects of our memories and repress others. All memories are flawed and not to be trusted blindly. All memories need interrogation.
We know there is the defense, the reaction, that pops up in the moments immediately following a failure. There is also the entirely separate series of defenses that are riddled out in the weeks, months, and years following the event(s) in question. These short and long-term defenses are arrived at very differently. I wanted to look at these side-by-side with Adam.
The primary reason is because it is so familiar and hard to get at. A passable construct has to be put in place in order to peel back all the familiarity and gaze afresh on these events. And putting together such a construct isn’t easy.
What questions will my readers have after they finish the novel?
Those are the more interesting questions.