That essay is unpublished today because it didn’t succeed, by my own estimation, in moving beyond the therapeutic space into a more polished essay shaped with an audience in mind. Sometimes, I find, this happens. We write something that is more for ourselves than for others, even if we had set out to write something more public. In 2002, I wrote that essay that exposed my deepest feelings and desires, and I pursued them, leaving the essay behind. In 2008, I felt ready to return to the question you’re raising here—how I crossed over from my heterosexual life into a new life with a same-sex partner—and the result was a very long essay that translates (hopefully!) lived experience into literature. In 2012, I learned that Tremolo, this essay made with an audience in mind, had been selected by Bernard Cooper as the winner of the Bloom Nonfiction Chapbook Prize. The essay now exists as a stand-alone book, published by Bloom Books in late 2013.
The origins of Joshua Then and Now and certain parallels between Joshua's and Richler'sexperiences inevitably invite consideration of the closeness of the author and his protagonist. Joshua Then and Now originated with Richler's return to Spain in 1976 after an absence of twenty-five years to write an introductory essay for Images of Spain. Richler was accompanied by his wife,a fact which reminds the reader that Joshua Then and Now is fictional though based in parts onRichler's experiences. After two weeks in Spain, during which time he revisited Ibiza where, likeJoshua, he had lived for a short time in his youth, Richler produced not a travel piece but a very longessay about what Ibiza had once meant to him. For Images of Spain, Richler wrote a separateintroduction which, though it says much about the geography, history and customs, is essentiallydry, for Richler's more personal responses and his more meaningful visit to Ibiza were removed forinclusion in what was to become Joshua Then and Now. He rewrote the longer, personal essay asa memoir of his experiences in Ibiza and London, and later revised this memoir, transforming it intoa work written in the first person which was "teetering between a memoir and a novel", andeventually into its present novel form where the third person replaces the first person. But elementsof the memoir are clearly evident, as Richler himself mentions: "I remember, as Joshua does in mynovel,...coming on this picture of Franco striding through shelled Madrid -- a conqueror. I don'tknow quite what it meant to me at that time. I don't pretend that I was politically conscious at theage of 8 or 9, but for some reason it did move me".
writing a very long essay or sub-thesis
Hunter goes a step or two further in his request of the muse, asking that the inspiration he seeks should not be fragmentary, but should last until the “tale is told and done.” In the light of the way in which the song came to be realized on Terrapin Station, I find this very interesting, and later lyrics have a different significance viewed in the light of this part of the invocation. Bear with me, here—I am trying to get at just a few salient points in a post about a song that could, I believe, be the subject of a very long essay.