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How truly exciting finally to hold in my hands the physical form of the Mysterium Trilogy!

Finished creative works never really betray the months (years!) of anxiety and work that go into making them. Hopefully they arrive looking fully formed, and as if that was the only way they could have looked. As if they were meant to be just as they are. Holding my three finished and beautifully packaged volumes I got a brief sense of that…

… but then, having a clear out both on the computer and in my drawers, I found old drafts for Mysterium, old working notes, old charts - saw characters’ names change, settings shift, chapters disappear and re-appear in kaleidoscopic confusion.

Danny had various other names that I had now completely forgotten. Certain thematic and plot points had winked in and then out of existence. Even the titles of the individual books - and the series as a whole - changed during the process of submission, rewriting, editing. And somewhere, in irretrievable bits, lies the first version of half of Book 2 on a corrupted hard drive. (I keep that on the desk now as a kind of
memento mori and paperweight.)

These shifting quicksands made everything feel so contingent and vulnerable that I suffered a sudden pang of vertigo and had to go and walk around the garden…

And yet amongst all that uncertainty I knew that certain key images, certain character traits, and even certain sentences were strong enough to survive. They felt more like they were waiting to be found, and - once they had been found and slotted into place - were not shifting for anyone or anything. It always felt like that with painting - the (few) I really liked felt like I had nothing really to do with them except sticking a frame round them. It was the ones that were full of superfluous ‘me’ that didn’t feel successful.

Thank goodness for happy discoveries. And thank goodness too for the support and wisdom of editors, agents, designers, friends and family who help navigate all the countless micro-decisions and bring about something that at least looks coherent in the end!
© Julian Sedgwick 2019