I have been thinking on the idea of juvenilia a great deal lately. I read some of Jane Austen's early work, and now I am reading Charlotte Bronte's.
The juvenilia is inextricably linked to the great fiction. Lurking within the early works are the germs of the great works. And I am working on the idea of my own juvenilia.
I am not confident that I have written anything that is not juvenilia. Already it seems like I have written more novels and stories than most successful writers. Sometimes I fear the germ has come and gone for me.
But we are all different. I am willing to pose the same questions over and over again, character after character, story after story, if that is what it takes to elevate me from juvenilia to literature.
When I have captured the human condition I will have written literature. When I write truth.
My juvenilia is very bad. Of course I am embarrassed by it. But I think it's important to look at it to understand what I'm trying to get out of me. In the early works it is clear to me now.
I recognized personalities within myself. When I entered adolescence those characters became poignant, opposites of one another; devoted friends or bitter enemies. They are parts of myself that have come out so violently in my adulthood I cannot really believe I invented myself into being by inventing these characters. I think I knew on a deep level who I was, because I was not distracted from myself by a complicated life.
So I think possibly what I am trying to express is self-revelation. The stripping away to the most authentic self. Always I am wandering back on those oft-trod paths, wending my way through vines and branches, smelling the thrilling honeysuckle, remembering, remembering, seeing a glimpse here, running fast, then losing my way, always losing my way on my journey back to the past, ever trying to find my true self.