Wednesday, February 23, 2011

shifting gears

I had a very interesting conversation with the gorgon last night. Seems she feels that focusing my undivided attention upon her is making me a bit myopic. She may be right. I’ve always favored variety over the uniform, no matter how hot the person wearing it. One of the very reasons I’ve not tackled a full novel yet. Well, not fully. It isn’t that I get bored, really, so much as I tend to miss the finer points of the narrative, because the surprise factor has been negated and the long-range goals have become the paramount concern.

It’s a common problem amongst a certain kind of writer. There are those, after all, who cannot even begin to sit down and transcribe the unfolding drama within their cranial capacitors until a framework has been established, an arc formulated and a climax prescribed. Then and only then can they begin to add flesh, sinew and bone to their piecemeal creations. It’s the kind of storytelling much lauded in bastions of higher learning, where creativity is tempered and labels are eagerly earned by the easily led. Not that this is a bad thing, it just isn’t my thing.

No, I’m the type of writer who thrives on the unknown. I don’t necessarily need a framework on which to hang my phantasms. They cavort and gambol with Puckish abandon, whether I will it or not. For me, it’s enough to know that there is a story lurking, there in the darkness. A flash of promise. A beckoning finger. A glint of mischief in a capricious eye. A startling beginning that begs to be explored. That’s what I live for. Once my attention has been drawn and my mental quill liberally doused in the blood of Orpheus, it is the characters themselves who tell the tale. Most times I’m not even aware where they’re going with it or what the ultimate outcome will be. I’m not only okay with that, I crave it.

All of which makes it very difficult to return, day in and day out, to the same well of inspiration. Yes, the larger tale still begs to be told and yes, there are still a few surprises left, but for the most part, the narrative itself has been laid out like the Appian Way. Dangers may lurk around the bend, but the greater danger is creeping parochialism borne of predictability. We have come to the conclusion, therefore, that I need to step away from the book for a while. Gain an appreciation for the forest again. Which isn’t to say that I’ve given up completely on Otherwhen and the unfolding story within. Not hardly. We’ve just decided to take a break.

There are other stories that have been clamoring for my attention, of late. Dreams that have gone unrecognized. Voices that have become insistent. Visions that have become distracting. I may need to spend some time sorting through those and giving the stronger tarradiddles their due. Interestingly enough, some of those trifles may very well find themselves becoming part of the Otherwhen tapestry. They’re just that kind of concept. Others may not. It’s all good. All I really have to do is drag out the mental formaldehyde, and pin some of the winged beasties down on paper with an ornate punctuality. Get it out of my system, so to speak. Then I can return to the task at hand and give the gorgon her due.

She’s very understanding about all this, my lovely lethal gorgon. She should be. It was her idea. I wonder how much sway Pufnstuf had in the decision? Yeah, he was there, too, an officious maitre d keeping the rabble at bay while we sorted through our differences; distractions by Oscar Wilde and John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus ensemble orgy, notwithstanding. It’s a lush and fertile playground, my dream world. Which goes a long way toward explaining my creative ADD.

I blame it all on an oddly seductive Willy Wonka. The saucy gent has turned my head. Made me think of chocolate kisses bestowed by a lazy lash and the Hershey highways less traveled. There is a story there, just buggering to be told. And I, alas, am the humble instrument through which the madness must be funneled. I’m not complaining, mind you. Why should I? The gorgon has given her blessing, after all. And I, the avian primate that I am, must swoop to concur.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

hamster thoughts

Finally, time to write. It feels good to be back in Otherwhen, even if it is only briefly. Still trying to parse through the whole Alice debacle. It isn’t really wonderland, after all. Problem is, the girl started out as an afterthought, inconveniently disposed of, if I’m going to be honest. Still, she has great importance later in the story, so fleshing her out early on stands to reason. I guess I’m just not feeling her, at the moment. Instead, I find myself falling in love with the elf, Ulric, all over again. He’s the one I really want to be writing about. I just hope I can do him justice in expanding his influence. He’s such a wild card. Just what Tristan needs, to be sure.

Side note: It’s the elder gods I’m really concerned about. Why do they do what they do? The eternal question, I suppose.

Moving on…

Thursday, February 10, 2011

advice for writers

More advice from a master. Words to live by? As a writer who spends more time living than writing, I can definitely relate.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

the long and winding road

It’s been a while since I posted here. To be honest, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to sit down and do any writing at all. A necessary evil to a life well lived, I’m afraid. I am currently about 30,000 words into the Otherwhen Chronicles, but have had to put it aside in order to conduct the business of self-sustenance. Yes, the evil scourge of filthy lucre must be addressed from time to time.

In the past two and a half weeks, I have written three press releases, organized four concerts, a Vegas magic show and one art exhibit, dealt with frozen pipes and a hellacious head cold and designed two posters and the first of several book covers for the publishers of Renaissance Books. All the while jotting down notes for my novel as ideas and thoughts crash through my brainpan in need of release.

Some day soon I hope to find the time to sit down and pick up the Otherwhen thread again. That day will not be today, nor will it be this week. Still way too much going on. In fact, I don’t really have a quiet moment looming for at least a couple more weeks. We’ll see. On the 25th of this month, I hit the big Five Oh. Maybe I’ll treat myself to a writing binge for that milestone birthday. That would be sweetly satisfying.

As pipe dreams go, it’s among the best…

"The most solid advice . . . for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough." - William Saroyan