What struck me about the transformation theme for the first three books is the effort that went into transforming.
- Jenna had to change the porn industry.
- Stephen had to write prolifically, submit without fear, and revise every story that got rejected.
- Colin had to create a new vision of himself. He was not the prodigy who failed to launch, destined to be Katherines’ reject. He had talent, he had a story, and he had potential.
All three of these people came to a realization about themselves in the stories we read. They all decided they could no go on the way they’d been going. Something had to change.
All art is about a willingness to be changed.
Either the artist is purging something, building something, or exposing something that changes him/her. Or the audience seeks to gain, to explore, or to understand something. The transaction should change them both.
So when Jenna, Stephen, and Colin meet for the first time, will each recognize the transformation in the other?
Jenna might see Colin and think, “He’s stopped taking himself so seriously. He sees the future as wide open. I like this guy.”
Stephen might ask Jenna, “What’s next? You’re an ambitious woman. Surely you have some other scheme cooking.”
Or Colin may wonder if Stephen has considered retiring all together.
When we recognize in ourselves that we cannot go on as we have — maybe we’ve been unhealthy or irresponsible or inconsiderate or simply bored — we can make small adjustments or we can transform.
I like to say I’m a continuous self-improvement junky. What now to make me healthier? Well read? Conversational? How can I get smarter? Stronger? Faster?
I don’t have the beginnings Jenna had to overcome, the being-raised-by-a-single-mom thing that shaped Stephen, or the expectations of being a child prodigy. I have a relatively benign background without roots of distrust or danger.
My transformation(s) have always been toward my vision of my own life: How I want to live, how I want to be thought of, how I want to enjoy the moments I have with the people around me as long as they’re around. Whenever I think I’ve been treading water (not making progress in any particular direction) I try to find a new path that may bring art and change back into my life.