If you have been to this blog on a regular basis, follow me on Twitter, or just know me personally, you know what Flowers of Dionysus is.
It’s my first self-published novel, and the first novel I carried into completed drafts. It’s the story of a talented but disillusioned community theatre actor, Matt, called back into service at the request of a dear friend of his. Unexplained events and odd encounters with some eccentric personalities lead Matt and some of his new friends to reevaluate themselves, theatre, art, and maybe just maybe the purpose of life itself.
The inspiration for it came to me in a sort of flash, and I spent the better part of two years transforming that inspiration into a rough draft of a novel. Four years and about 7 revisions later I put it up for sale for what I thought was a reasonable price.
A few friend bought it, but almost nobody else has. I remain disappointed that I never reached even the most modest end of my goals for reaching and touching creative-minded artists and actors such as myself with the story I tried to tell with humor, honesty, creativity and love.
It’s now available for free.
And there is one other thing about Flowers for Dionysus. It’s my former project.
It’s over. It’s written, self-published, and available for download for anyone who would like to read it, (and I hope some day you will.) I will continue to mention it over time as part of my body of work.
But as I ready my as yet untitled Mystery Novel for the next round of revisions, and then in a few months start the meticulous task of formatting it for self-publication I have to face facts. If I have any hope of building a platform and a body of work as an author, the new book needs my attention and creativity now. In revisions, in edits, and in (hopefully) a more effective marketing strategy. I need to talk it up, project my interest in it, and make it the main public focus of what I’m doing as an indie author.
In short, Mystery Novel must take the spotlight, while Flowers of Dionysus steps back, and takes it place on my shelf, as it were. It is no longer “the novel,” no longer the “work in progress.” Though this has all been true for months now, given the lack of interest among many people I know in reading Dionysus, I am only now stating it in conclusive terms. For the first time in years, Flowers of Dionysus is not the flagship of my creative writing endeavors. It is part of me, and part of me is in it of course, but I now face the somewhat sad and ever so slightly surreal truth that it’s not about that novel anymore.
The first novel I ever worked beyond a second draft. The first one I let non-family read. The first one I sold, (even to just a handful of people). The one that came from a different place than most of my writing has come from before or since…is yesterday, and it’s a bit difficult to accept.
It could of course take off some time in the future. It remains available and will continue to be so. That’s part of the beauty of indie e-publishing. If that happens, I will happily lead the charge on its behalf again. But even so, I will by then, have other things to take care of, edit, promote, sell. (Or try to.) It will never again be the near-exclusive centerpiece, I imagine.
But it will always be unique in my life. Always special. Always sentimental and spiritual in a way most of my other work, past, present and future will probably not be. I hope to write special things again, deep things, important, moving things that matter to people. But part of me inside will likely always hope that future satisfied readers will give my first novel a try as well, because I doubt I will ever be able to spend that much time on one novel again. I doubt I will feel the message as early or as particularly or as urgently as I did for the first one.
Then again, I might. But Flowers for Dionysus will always be the first in this regard, nothing, be it poor sales, lack of interest from my people, or the march of life and my career into the future will change that.
As a character in the novel says, “You’re never alone when you do something you love.”
I love that novel, flaws and all.