Tharakan sat extreme left.
The idea of Lament of Mohini started when I was---what?--- 14 years.
And then it changed and spurted and cantered, and became a book in 2000. The play Midnight Hotel was ready about six years before it saw the stage. Maria's Room began when I was on vacation in Goa after the various launches of Mohini. Harper Collins will bring it out in November 2009. Nearly a decade later.
What I'm trying to say is, give me time and wasted opportunities, and my work (novel or play) can go on and on. Would that be the ideal of every author? An ever-growing work? I can imagine an artist stuck to his canvas for years, changing and adding and removing, yearning for a state of perfection.
You then live with your characters and what they're doing, and you're comfortable with that because the novel/ play has become another home. When it is finally closed and the reader/ audience takes over, then you have lost your home because other residents have come in and they're free to comment, criticize, praise, and what they have isn't completely yours any longer. The delight of being published/ staged is an aphrodisiac. The feeling that your work is still yours is contentment.
So which is the better bet?!