I stood before a dark cave, wanting to go in; and I shuddered at the thought that I might not be able to find my way back. — A psychology patient quoted by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Where Am I? Who Are You?
Welcome to The Innermost Cave, an honest and vulnerable place from which I am working through a deep inner conflict by exhuming an unpublished novel I wrote from roughly 2014 to 2018. It is here in this damp, dark place adorned with spider webs that I am publicly performing an autopsy on my unpublished novel with the working title, “A Man Falls In the Woods.” Like the hero on the proverbial journey, I am facing my doubts and fears by candlelight in my writerly man cave.
I’m Chad Woodford, a writer, yogi, technologist, and attorney who is curious and passionate about spirituality, authenticity, and love.
Speaking of which, the themes I explored in the novel, and will necessarily explore in this space include:
Polyamory, sex cults, and other necessarily flawed attempts at creating utopian community
Spiritual crisis / spiritual emergency
Mental illness in a sick society
What does self actualization in the 21st Century look like?
Finding love from the inside out
Moving from control to surrender
The novel is the classic tale of man meets woman, man follows woman down the rabbit hole of San Francisco subcultures, man has spiritual crisis, man . . . well . . . you’ll just have to come along for the ride to find out what happens.
In many ways the novel is about this:
But when it suddenly dawns on us, or is forced to our attention, that everything we think or do is necessarily tainted with the odor of the flesh, then, not uncommonly, there is experienced a moment of revulsion: life, the acts of life, the organs of life, woman in particular as the great symbol of life, become intolerable to the pure, the pure, pure soul. — Joseph Campbell
It is not autobiographical but it was certainly inspired by my years living in San Francisco.
Bimonthly cadence, possibly more frequent
This semi-weekly newsletter will answer these questions:
Why did I choose to write this novel back in 2014? What was going on with me? As part of this inquiry I am rereading a very comprehensive novel journal that I kept diligently the whole four or five years I was writing it.
Why the above themes?
What do those themes and this story mean for me (and for us) now?
Can I exhume and reanimate this thing? Is it any good? Is there marrow in those bones?
Moving beyond failure and disappointment into living freely from the heart.
Even though I haven’t published it yet, writing this novel was nevertheless a valiant and earnest act of life creation for me: Like some kind of Doctor Strange, I carved the shape of a portal with this novel and stepped through it. Everything that’s beautiful and wonderful about my life now, whether that’s the people I know or my transformational quests in Peru and India, would not exist without it. I also had a hell of a lot of fun writing it! Every minute of the process was pure ecstasy, often wrapped in a film of strife and consternation. But always infused with the bliss of writing.
In addition, as an exercise in focus, simplicity, and viability, I am in the process of rewriting the novel as a screenplay to see how the story holds together, before putting the meaty flesh of prose back on those bones. Who knows? Maybe it will work better as a screenplay!
What You’ll Get As a Subscriber
An exploration of the themes listed above, and more.
An honest inquiry into the writing life, the flowers and the warty toads of it
Excerpts from the old draft of the novel.
Excerpts from the screenplay version I’m working on.
Audio of me reading passages or thinking out loud about them.
Other creations as they are birthed…
So if you want to see how the bloody sausage of writing a novel gets made, come join me on this adventure of self inquiry, vulnerability, and a ruthless search for the deepest truths as I slowly find my way out of the cave. Don’t be shy; I swept the cave and I’ve got a nice fire going. There is also tea.