winter benchSurveying THE EYE

I’ve been feeling my way into THE EYE for three weeks now, and to tell you the truth, I’m still a bit disoriented. And it’s not just the relentless snow.

During this time, I’ve been trying to make my co-op student’s placement meaningful by having her research assorted topics, read books in various genres and become acquainted with Query Tracker, a database of agents and publishers. She’s also learning reporter skills by interviewing Kevin on topics for his book.

By her choice, Becca works on her own three mornings a week and spends the other two mornings with me. This was pre-arranged with her teacher and is fine with me.

Whenever I begin a novel, I’m happily preoccupied with the development of plot and characters. But in this non-fiction manuscript, I find myself wrestling with the shape of the story itself. The disorientation comes from trying to narrate a freshly-told story while incorporating material from a previously published biography.

The original book was written as a journey through three dimensions, the first being Kevin’s word-for-word documentation of a trip to Nova Scotia. In another dimension, we travelled back in time, and then ahead, on our family’s personal journey. A third dimension, a pilgrimage winding its way along life’s tortuous paths, was insisted upon by the editor.

Living in the Eye will read instead as a narrative biography. Or will it be a memoir? A biography tells the story of a lifetime while a memoir, I’ve read, covers a specified period of time or a particular theme. Something else to muse over.