I have read each of Allen Eskens books, and I as pleased to find his newest, Nothing More Dangerous, at the library this week. The book makes a significant departure from his earlier books; it’s less a mystery and more a coming of age story with mystery elements.
Intrigued by this change, I returned to the author’s note at the start of the book. Here Eskens had written: “I began this novel in 1991 as a way to explore my own failings regarding notions of prejudice and racism. The characters and story line intrigued me, and I worked on the novel for twenty years before setting it aside. It wasn’t ready, and I knew it.”
I found this honesty refreshing and encouraging. Years ago a winemaker had a slogan “we will sell no wine before its time.” Eskens was echoing the sentiment as he discussed his writing. Too often I have started to write a long essay and realized that I was not ready. I have often attributed this to many factors including writer’s block, lack of discipline and various other self-condemning terms. I had never thought to have the compassionate approach to the task that Eskens stated here.
I will remain open to the wisdom that there is a due time for each piece of writing. I needed that concept and I will try to remember it the next time the gremlins of self-criticism descend.