** Spoiler Alert **
What does Jonathon do to work on himself during the 9-ish month break at
the end of the story? Like, how does he approach his relationship with
Izzy differently than how we saw him?
- Tanezia McAdams
In the early stages of writing, when The Man was in its really rough state (in 2013), I had Jon tell us what happened. He and Izzy divided time between living with one another from Jon's condo to Izzy's mansion and doing all the things that Jon wished they could have done while on tour, like the domestic bliss stuff that he pined about and longed for. Like sleeping in, breakfast in bed, and being lazy, just staying in, not doing much and going nowhere all day, the two simply enjoying a "normal" day, having a "normal" relationship. Still in private and in secrecy naturally, but they were reveling in a domestic life that was only theirs, pretty intimate, quiet, and boring, just as they wanted it. Because Izzy wanted to keep the lowest profile ever while there was still noise and hype around his divorce and the scandal(s), they rarely went out. When they did, they'd sneak out at between midnight and 3AM or something to hang out with their band mates at their homes, with Izzy covered from head to toe when they'd step out in public from and back to Jon's car, being too quick to be noticed. Jon also went on telling us about how he and Izzy went to therapy, apart from each other. Jon went to a therapist for Odette to still pick up the pieces from that devastating relationship, and also for Leo, on how to better handle his hopeless relationship with his brother. Izzy went for Vivian, for Roxanne, on the abuse he did to her and on how to handle the divorce and its repercussions, and with still mourning the death of his family, and with his "daddy issues." As a couple, they weren't with a therapist (way too risky), but they pulled through with making music, some of it that would make the cut in On My Own (Not Alone). They even had plenty of sexless nights, the two just talking, like real in-depth talks about what went on in their therapy that day, on what they learned, and linking most of the lessons to their relationship. Sometimes those moments would be so heavy that there would be more crying, letting the pain out. Some nights they had to sleep in separate rooms for space and breathing room. Lifestyle-wise, they still smoked cigarettes, scaled back on the drinking, took a break from the hard drugs, and occasionally got high on reefer. This doesn't necessarily mean that they were trying to get clean. They just didn't need the hard drugs at this time when the fags, some liquor, and weed was enough, and they did this socially too, with their band-mates and friends.
So with all this not in the book obviously, this might have you (and others) be like "Wait, so why did you leave all this out?" This is a huge chunk of character development that's missing, right? Well, the problem was...with the writing. It was all telling. That irritated the hell out of me. I try to avoid telling when it's always best to show. So I did. I showed all this. It was a whole chapter! But...
Something about it didn't feel right. Telling wasn't working, but neither was the showing. It stalled the flow of the story. It strangely felt out of place, slowing it down, way down, it was tedious. The chapter gave away too much. Nothing was left to the imagination. And I was torn.
As much as a part of me wanted those scenes there to establish that these two were working things out and getting the therapy that they deserved (and should have gotten a long time ago), it was just oddly anti-climatic. It was right for them, but it didn't feel right for the book. It might be typical and predictable a thing to say, but in my heart of hearts, I felt that it was best to leave all this for readers to imagine instead of me having it all there on display for you all to see. To make up for this lost chapter, instead I changed the tone of the writing and their character in the last chapter, to vaguely imply the possibilities that you now know, but leaving it ultimately just up to you.
If this lost/missing chapter stayed, The Man on Top of the World would have been a Happily Ever After instead of a Happily Ever After For Now. And with these scenes, we definitely would have seen a whole different side to Jonathan and Izzy. It would have added another layer to them that wasn't there before, something new. But this would still remain: Izzy is still Izzy and Jon is still Jon. They are still rock stars. Still
boyfriends. But they have changed. Still broken, but not hurt. Nervous.
Scared. And yet confident, anxious, and excited for the future, even
though they have long ways to go to finding ultimate forgiveness and
moving onward as lovers. Never perfect, but better than the past.
Maybe if one day there's an opportunity for a 2nd edition (that is not up to me, that's all up to you readers so my publisher and I can make this happen!), I'd rewrite this missing chapter and work it into the book. This time, I had to trust my instinct and make that ultimate choice to not give everything away and leave it for y'all to make your own interpretation of what was, or what could have been, between these two, in those nine months while they were away. With the more I think about it, this choice still feels appropriate, and I don't feel as torn now. For the domestic bliss to truly be theirs, Jon couldn't share that with us. As for the therapy, it was too private, too vulnerable, that Jon couldn't share that with us either, and Izzy too, of course, wouldn't share that, especially not on national television.
Also - I'm not sure if that ending would be as powerful if the missing chapter had stayed ;).