Some Very Insightful Feedback (PART II)

Here is the second half of the very insightful feedback on my novella that I shared just recently, coming from the same person, Zohar Raphael. This second half contains spoilers, so, if spoilers aren't your cup of tea, please skip this one and keep your satisfaction with the first half!

With this "episode" we conclude an extremely insightful look into my work, Saint Paul Trois Châteaux: 1948. When I wrote my novella, I had a strong feeling that my audience would be primarily male; not female. So far, it looks like my initial instincts were right on the money! :-) You see, to write a novel for the typical YA female audience, an author has to take on a whole different process of styling, concentrating on the things that would "latch" the young, modern-day woman into the protagonist's character, tell that character what every woman wants to hear, and etc. That wasn't my aim when creating my manuscript; my aim was to create a classic piece of literature that could be discussed in University's Literary courses, a book that people will a hundred years from now proudly mount onto their shelves so that all their friends may bear witness to their taste in literature, and so on and so forth. I wanted to take all readers on a wild, mad, poisoning, breathtaking and breathless experience! I wanted everyone who reads my book to taste, smell, feel, hear, and see! Chew and swallow! Close their eyes and breathe in! I am very happy with the feedback I have been receiving recently because it shows me that I have been successful in what I wanted to be successful at! Well, it's not a hundred years later yet, but, we're on the way there! :-)

Please enjoy the read...

"So, now that I've had a little time to reflect, allow me to finish my thoughts on the book. I was very pleased I got to see young Lucy on the streets of New York, and being who I expected. I have a great affinity for characters that reject the "practical," and who have a strong sense that they know what's best for themselves. Life is a work in progress that can never be truly engaged when one is surrounded by people attempting to shelter them from making "mistakes." Brene Brown writes that children are "hardwired for struggle." We do not grow without failure, and we do not know real strength until we experience getting back up to continue fighting for what it is we want. The mark of wholeness, in my opinion, is having confidence in knowing what is best for oneself, while not assuming that what's best for you is what is best. Not everyone loves chocolate (I don't understand those people but, as my mother often says, "That's why they make vanilla."), but it is not up to those of us who know that chocolate is evidence of Divine Providence to convert these poor deluded souls. :-) Lucy loves chocolate. Lucy is perfectly happy blazing her own path, to the point of walking into potential chambers of pain in order to find clarity on that path. Everyone should be so courageous. The world would be a lot shinier if this were so, I believe. So, thank you for giving me Lucy. It is no wonder that Thibaut and Pierre-Auguste were so passionate about her. The Lucys of the world captivate and take hold of men's hearts. It is unavoidable I think. This leads me to the end. I am a firm believer in love. It is a many faceted jewel filled with lust, passion, devotion, pain and, most of all, doing. It is a curious phrase "making love", isn't it? Love is not a noun. It's something we do. It's something we make. When one allows their soul to be filled with lust, desire, and passion for another, if they truly love, they do for them. They will bare themselves, expend their life blood, and sweat, and open themselves up utterly for the one who moves them thus. This is why the ones we love can devastate us like no other. You will never be truly pained by someone to whom you have not fully exposed your heart. It's the risk we take to have this ultimate experience.

It was with this in mind that I started thinking, as the pages were becoming fewer, where was Pierre-Auguste? I was glad to see you didn't send Lucy after him. That wouldn't have felt true to her. I wanted Pierre-Auguste to dare greatly, to rekindle his fire for her, to at last go for what it was he wanted, rather than sacrificing himself on the altar of his fidelity for Thibaut. There is nothing glorious or heroic in letting what you want slip away for someone else. For me, the darkest, the most painful part of the book was the moment you described the world leaving Pierre-Auguste's eyes when he surrendered acting on his love for Lucy to Thibaut, who never honored his brother's sacrifice in any way. What a wretched crime to commit against the human heart! I will be frank and say that Thibaut made me sick inside from the start. I could not even cultivate any sympathy for him and the internal pain he carried for what he had done. Unable to act on that which he wanted, and unable to confess knowing he would never have any hope of having it, that agony is exactly what he deserved. He hoped for redemption, but did not have the courage to claim it. It had to come from the one person who could give it: Pierre-Auguste. As a man, I was very moved in the moment he told Thibaut he was taking Lucy back, that he sought to reclaim the love that was rightfully his, and that Thibaut was never worthy of having. Ken Kesey used to say that we should live life as the stars and directors of our own movies. When Pierre-Auguste confronted Thibaut, I could see the world returning to his eyes, only rather than just taking it in and giving it away, he was going to claim it for himself. So brilliantly human! Well done!

And then, the bonus chapter, the mirror of the washroom. Again, your painting was lavish (You rekindled my desire to visit Italy. I have always suspected that if I went up north I would unknowingly find an existence there and never leave, save to bring my dogs. :-)). It was a beautiful, etherial dream you made of it, the most atmospheric chapter for me. As Lucy leapt from the bed to window, I envisioned that, down below was Pierre-Auguste. He dared to live and risk his heart to try and take the life he wanted, the love he wanted. This is a thing that many people sacrifice in the name of safety, resigning themselves to living half-lives of quiet desperation. Perhaps he would have gone down in flames, but he was there. Regardless of the consequences, he was there, and the moment he saw Lucy appear at the balcony, if I were him, would have made the journey entirely worth it. And, because you never named him, that's exactly how I can leave it. I'm sure it is the natural reaction of readers to speculate what would happen: meeting his daughter; would Lucy tell him? Would they live happily ever after? Would she kick him in the chins and send him packing? Was it even Pierre-Auguste at all? Oddly enough, none of that mattered to me. What mattered, in my mind, was that he showed up. He risked everything. That's a life worth living, and that's all I needed to take away."

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