Right upfront, let me say this: Oz is not a Christ-figure. I’m not even going to start listing the reasons why not, but I want to be clear that he is not Jesus in my mind.
That being said, Oz does have his Garden of Gethsemane moment…and I am writing that moment right now.
That’s hard for me. Err, that’s very hard for me.
If I were to write a story from the Bible, there are only 3 or 4 that would make my list to “dramatize”. First on that list is the Garden of Gethsemane. Self-doubt, fear, resentment, and acceptance…I know a thing or two about each and every one of those.
So does Oz.
When Connor calls, desperate to meet, Oz meets his Gethsemane…
…and fails the test.
That failure, however, is what makes him such a real character to me. He betrayed his friend—his brother—and he knows it. Shit, he not only knows it, he can’t live with it.
Oz lives in a zero-sum universe. When Connor comes to love Nat, Oz thinks such love can only come at the expense of the care and closeness he and Connor share….and yes, before you ask, he is in love with Connor. Desperately, totally, and unrequitedly. He is fine with that, so long as their stasis as friends and brothers is not broken.
Nat breaks it.
That is what Oz cannot deal with. That is what Oz has to confront in the Garden. That is the test Oz fails.
That is what finally kills Oz.
The early parts of the book had their speed bumps and problems, but they went fine for me. The closer I get to the end, however, the harder it gets. All of the challenges I set for myself–especially the decision to hate so much happen “off-screen”–have to be drawn together and closed in a way that makes sense, and works with the story.
That’s not easy.
The closer I get, also, the more of me, and my memories, goes into everything. Act IV scares the crap out of me, it’s hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles. It scares me not just because I have to draw everything to a climax, but because I have to kill Oz. Again.
I told you once his death was the first scene I wrote, and yet I have to revise and rewrite it. The death of every friend I’ve lost to suicide. Shit.
Getting the tone and feel of the Gethsemane scene was hard enough, but THAT? That’s gonna be a tough day for me.