11 November, 2011
Coping with the Day-to-day

I try not to write something in this journal unless I actually feel like I have something to say or at least think that I have something vaguely amusing to convey. As I'm sure I've written way too many times, I don't simply want to post something just for the sake of having posted something. I don't always succeed. In fact, I'm sure there are lots of times when I just wind-up writing random crap and factoids and assorted whatnot. This is my wonderful way of attempting to offer an apology for whatever nonsense is about to follow. The twin forces of having something to say and simply not wanting to let the journal lay fallow for long stretches at a time is limping in the direction of wanting an update. Any old freaking update will do.

The day job has been one serious motherfucker of a bitch of late, which I really don't want to get into, but I guess I'm going to write a few random words about it anyway. At least, it hasn't been just the sheer volume of work for a change. Not that it hasn't been a hell of a lot for the last two years but they've actually been good of late of not pushing too hard. I would actually be in a good spot for the day-to-day workload if I was performing at a reasonable level as opposed to the wounded, barely functional, state I've been in for the past couple of months. It's downright frightening at times. My best guess is that it is simply the compounding exhaustion that has left my crawling along and hoping that I don't completely implode leaving a big smelly mess on the floor.

I keep waiting for the immediate people I work for to point out that I've been seriously off my game of late and that it's way past time I pull myself together. Fortunately, they are good, kind people, and they've been putting up with my inability to focus on anything for more than five minutes at a stretch without complaint.

The good news is that I am currently weathering the layoff storm that is laying siege to the office and causing people to freak out all over the place. There have been good days and bad, which is putting it mildly. I keep thinking that I should be happy or at the very least relieved that I am currently not in imminent danger of being unemployed. But, of course not. It barely registers. Can't decide if it is survivor's guilt or simply the fact that it has been such a freakstorm for so long that there is no energy to build from.

Naturally, this means I've got nothing for creativity. I've managed to cope with this by throwing myself into formatting work. Designing a version of the books for Createspace, which I should be really excited about since all three of my books are now available from both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Theoretically, you can now walk into any bookstore in the land and order a copy. I've got no real way to test this, which only sucks a little. I've also redone all the Lulu copies, and I've prepared a whole bunch of ePub files. You can now get my crap for your iPad, smartphone, Kindle and Nook.

I have no idea what to charge. Absolutely no idea what-so-ever. Books are freaking expensive. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. I've gone with three bucks. Strikes me as a good amount. Not so much that it is outrageous what with not needing to pay for paper, printing, storage, shipping and all of that rot. Not so little that people wouldn't want to stick the cost on their credit card. Or am I just getting old? Three bucks on your credit card? That's what cash is for.

Okay, sure, technically, it is $2.99 and not a flat three bucks, which I would prefer. The whole ninety-nine cents thing just makes me want to spit, but that is not entirely within my control. One outfit simply refuses to let me go with a flat three bucks. Not saying who. I don't want the books to be one penny cheaper at one place than the others so they are all one penny cheaper. Sigh. It's stupid. All the same, I know there are studies that show people will pay ninety-nine cents when they would never ever pay that whole dollar. Just one of those highly irrational human nature type things we are stuck with, I guess. Oh, well.

So, for the first time ever, I wouldn't loose money if someone bought one of my books from Amazon. This is a staggering development, and I should be really happy. Stupid day job.

12 November, 2011
Ripped out of Action

I can think of two other reasons why I write journal entries; although, they are probably both tied into the first reason I gave yesterday. Having something to say. The others I basically never try to describe. One of them is just having so much energy left over from the storytelling that I'm fit to burst. Need to find an outlet other than the story I'm trying to commit to paper itself. Really, sometimes you just need to step back from the story in hand and find another outlet. Any old thing to prattle on about. Otherwise you run the risk of the story getting stuck in the gears and burned to cinders by the heat. I would tell you to picture film getting caught in the movie projector, but I don't know if that even happens anymore. I remember film freezing mid-action or whatever and suddenly starting to melt. On the one hand, it's actually kind-of cool to watch happen. On the other, you paid money to see a freaking movie, and there it goes, burning up.

The other is basically the opposite of what I just said. Writing a little nothing just to get the gears moving again. Shed dust. Figure out where to apply the old WD-40. There is a risk here. The kind-of random writing can have too little to do with the story you want to tell. The techniques can be too dissimilar. The trick is guessing when and how to apply the technique. Use it too much and you will get the gyros spinning but only for the kind-of random crap that have been flowing. No help to story at all.

I actually did have more I wanted to prattle on about yesterday, but I made the conscious decision to stop. Let the entry end where it did. Not dwell too much on journal writing in any one go. Have other things to do.

Anyway, I got my hands on the first three issues of the all-new all-different Action Comics, and I've kept meaning to marshal my thoughts and actually say something about it. First impulse was to proclaim my judgment on the issues over at Google+ since I had been bitching up a storm about television shows over that way. Well, not complaining overly much. At least, I hope not overly much. I don't really want to sink into a groove of complaining about anything and everything. Not good for the digestion and all of that.

I've also let enough time pass over the comics that I'm no longer certain that I want to say anything. After all, I'm sure lots of people have said lots of things. Not really sure what I could add. And, I definitely do not want to simply echo what others may or may not have said.

Okay, Superman starring in Action Comics. I love the characterization of Superman especially in the first issue. I haven't been doing much following of comics or Superman so I don't really know what I'm talking about here, and the next bit I'm about to write should be taken with that kind-of grain of salt. Talking from general ignorance of the state of the subject. We've got a serious layman here, one could say.

I love the characterization of Superman. It is the closest I've read to the original Superman all the way back from that first issue many years ago. You know the one. The Superman who beat people up he didn't like or felt were doing wrong. The Superman who basically scared the crap out of corrupt politicians. The Superman who basically tortured heartless business leaders. But, what do I know? Like I said, I haven't been keeping up with the comic.

I'll ignore the fact he killed that guy when he jumped off the ledge in the first issue of the all-new Action Comics. I'm sorry. I know it's just a comic book. I know I should just roll my eyes and run with it, but these things do occasionally stick in my mind.

I also got the strangest feeling that whole scenes were missing. I described it to my brother as feeling like somebody had ripped whole pages out of the comic. Now, he said he didn't notice so maybe that's just me not reading enough comic books of late, but it did still kind-of drive me nuts.

In fact, if I hadn't had two issues to read more-or-less in a row, I never would have gone back for another issue. I did finally start to get the sense over issues that maybe, just maybe things would start to be explained. For example, how Superman knew about the bomb in issue one didn't get touched upon until issue three. This, to my mind, is a problem. I didn't have issue three when I read one so I was left with the feeling that there were pages missing, and my example would have been so simple to fix. See, you don't actually need to explain every little thing or go into epic detail. If Superman had said one additional sentence along the lines of "I've got a source" or "I'm hearing rumors" or even "My spider sense is tingling."

Okay, I know. Not that last one. Wrong comic book. But, I hope I'm getting my point across. It wouldn't have taken much. Just a sentence or two in order to fill in for all the missing pages. Even the bit with Luthor could have been covered. Anybody could have said something along the lines of "How could you know?" Didn't have to be the head guy. Could have been anybody. Luthor replies, "I'm smart. I've got sources. It's why you hired me." Anything along those lines would have worked and the freaking comic book wouldn't have felt like pages had been ripped out.

Okay, that's enough arm-chair quarterbacking for one day. I'm not really trying to tell people how to run their funny books. I've got no perspective on the state of funny books. I'm just trying to convey my sense and feelings. How it felt to read and whatnot. They were trying to interest lapsed readers and even new readers, right?

I think I've let this entry prattle on long enough. More things I want to say but on other topics. So, I think I'll wait. Maybe tomorrow. We'll see.

13 November, 2011
The Marrow out of Life

Now, let's see if I can remember where I left off yesterday. I know there were several things that had been rattling around in my brain, and I made a stab at writing them down on Friday. Quickly discovered that it would take hours and make for a really long entry and that I should most definitely quit while I was ahead. I picked up the thread yesterday only to discover that things were once again slowly drifting around. Went with the notion that I could spread this across the entire long weekend. Try not to spend too long scribbling things down. Not out of any sense that I shouldn't spend as much time as needed. Really just more to do with not burning through whatever strength and motivation I had discovered to work on this all in one go. Could I make it last by limiting the daily? Could I come back to it and make something of it? Was this a good jumping off point? All in the interests of actually getting some work done. The creative stuff going again. Music and stories and shit.

Anyway, as I'm sure I've said way too many times of late, I've been trying to focus on sustainability. Sure, it's great to have grand plans and huge ideas and reaching for the stars and all of that, but you've also got to have a little perspective. Maybe, I'm just getting old. Where the perspective comes in. Understanding that grand ideas are great but you still have to implement them. It's a trick. Finding the balance. Great ideas that can be continued from day to day and week to year. Understand that there are external forces like the need for sleep. The unendurable necessity of a day job to help pay the bills. Random stresses and people's desperate need to include you in their drama.

I remember in my long lost youth that the mind tended to drift more. Filled with fancy ideas and wild notions. Not a care outside of whatever non-sense was filling my head. Even when the world at large was piss and shit and whatnot. Even when concerns and confusion were raining down around the ears. Head still full of wild notions. My coping mechanisms, I guess. Well, I've noticed that the more the world builds up and the years pile on that these annoying little things have been filling up more of the nooks and crannies. I've actually caught myself thinking about how I used to just stand around waiting for the buss and have the wildest thoughts, ideas and notions, but how those thoughts and ideas had become much more focused around the random crap of the day. It just piles up and piles up, and before you know it, all you're thinking about is all the random crap that's piled up.

So, sustainability is important. Finding that balance. Which is where the wild notion of musical vignettes entered the picture. They're fun. I really want to do more. Actually kind of embarrassing that I've only managed two string vignettes, but work has been a real fucking drag of late. I mean, sweet zombie fucking Jesus, but work has been an absolute hell hole of fear and loathing and psychotic passive-aggressive politics the likes of which I don't even like to contemplate much less talk about.

It'll get better, I swear. I just keep telling myself that. I think I've weathered the worst of the layoff insanity. I've just got to keep my head down and get back on my game for the next freaking nine months before everything gets ground through the shit machine again.

But, I digress.

Oh, right, I was talking about musical vignettes. I really like them. They're not the be-all end-all of the universe, but they are something to work with. It's like scribbling down notes and ideas but doing just that extra little step to string them together so they just might actually be presentable to the general classical music hating public. A way to try being less serious. Do anything. It's just a vignettes.

Of course, the risk of taking it too seriously always haunts the back of my brain. It's what I do. I worry. I want it to be just right. To be cool and good. To sound awesome. So, it is the rumblings at the back of the mind. The vignettes are too slight. They are too thrown-together and unpolished.

But, that's the freaking point. To be little spots of sound and texture. Springing this way. Galumphing that. Just exist, motherfucker. Don't try to be better than sex. Just try to be a gentle little thing that you finish listening to and think "hey, that was cool. I liked that."

I like the twin string vignettes I've somehow managed to unleash on an unconcerned and uncaring populace. I like the almost constant timbre modulation. Pure awesomeness to my ears. It works on the small scale. I'm not convinced that continuous timbre modulation would sound quite so hot in a longer piece. Much harder for the ear to follow. Just like too much melodic variation can leave the listener horribly tired and confused. It takes effort to follow the thread so too much variation and modulation will come across as a lack of focus and simply bore the audience to tears. No wonder they hate classical music so much.

My mania. My absolute doctrine of faith can be summed-up by a music review I found in the newspaper one day and immediately taped to my refrigerator. I didn't care that my roommates didn't understand why this newspaper clipping was taking up so much valuable refrigerator editorial space. This was important. It was the review of a contemporary Twentieth-century music recital. Everything performed that night had been brand-spanking new. Fresh lambs for the slaughter. The review began with the statement that going to a modern music concert sometimes can feel like attending a meeting of diehard coffee enthusiasts. Okay, I'm paraphrasing just a little. I can't remember if the analogy was coffee enthusiasts or something equally arcane. The point being that you had to be in-the-know. You had to be clever and hip enough to be able to see that the emperor wasn't really naked after all. Those really were some awesomely invisible clothes.

That's the problem. I know my experiences with modern musicians are getting a little dated so I really hope attitudes have changed, but when I was suffering through the freak-show that was contemporary composition graduate school, that was exactly the attitude. This music is for us. The sheep and other assorted livestock are too stupid to understand. They will never understand. They will never see the emperor's kick-ass clothes.

It's not about being arcane. It's not about being modern or progressive or the next evolutionary stage of a grand progression of music that began somewhere in the distant history of the universe and will continue until the heat-death of time. It's about emotion and feeling and making a connection with the godforsaken audience. It's about reaching deep into your listener's soul and pulling his heart out through his teeth. Remember the phrase, suck the marrow out of life?

And, here's the next part where people get lost because it is easier to get swept-up in the grand sound of the profundity than actually think about it. Ripping lungs out, blowing minds and bursting eardrums is not a literal statement. It's about reaching. It's about touching. It's about striking a feeling, deep or base.

Debussy was a symbolist not an impressionist. There's a difference. Debussy was about finding the essence of the thing not a specific instance of that thing because the essence of the thing allowed the person experiencing it to bring their own wealth of experience and feeling to the moment. People could dream. Could touch memory, thought or sound. The audience brought the sum total of their existence and feeling to the music and not the other way around.

I'm not trying to say that Debussy was the greatest composer who ever lived or any dumb shit like that. I'm trying to say that he had a point. Okay, maybe he didn't have a point. I may have completely missed the mark on whatever the fuck symbolist music was supposed to be. The best I can say is that I found my point while we were studying the Impressionist and Expressionist composers and specifically when we were studying that jackass Claude motherfucking Debussy.

It's not about beating your audience's teeth into the back of their skulls. It's about making them explode from the inside out. They should feel the heart beat. The blood flow. The breath rushing through their lungs. Doesn't have to be quickening. Doesn't have to be an ecstatic fit. It just has to be. That moment of reaching, touching and feeling. Awareness of breath, heart and mind.

But, I digress.

What was I going on about again before I was so rudely interrupted by this insanely wild tangent of deeply felt belief?

Oh, right, something about musical vignettes. But, look at the time. Holy shit, look at the sheer volume of words spilled forth by this rant.

I'll try to take up the thread again later. Probably next weekend. I'm not done. We shall see.

19 November, 2011
Adapting Shakespeare

Now, I just have to remember where I left off last week. Sure, no problem. I'm all over that. Just got to take a quick look at what I wrote last week and carry on. Which would work if I was actually continuing the same thought as last week. In theory, it would work. Never can tell what will happen when time is let slide between typing jags. The problem, this time, is that I left off at a natural transition. I was done with that point. At least, I was as happy as I was going to get with it and prepared to let the point rest. Wait, no. I went off on a wild tangent. Sigh, I really should bother to look back over what I wrote last week. Okay, forget whatever I may or may not have said last week. I'm not going to bother looking it over and neither should you. We are carrying on to the next random topic I had rattling around in my brain and thought deserved some kind of airing.

I want to get some more writing done, and I don't mean the kind of dregs and random whatnot I have an unfortunate tendency to unleash in this here random assortment of unwanted things space. I'm talking about organized thoughts and stories. I want to write something. Continuation of The Faire Folk of Gideon would be nice. I'm not done with Drake. I mean, sure, I know I would be more-or-less content if the damn thing just died a slow and painful death right where it is. What can I do but fuck it up, right? It has an ending. Hardly a perfect ending but it rests in a place where it could stay.

The problem with The Faire Folk of Gideon is that I've now got expectations about it. Simply not the same balls-to-the-wall free-for-all that it was when I started. Anything goes, motherfucker. Not so much anymore. I'm worried it's developed a really bad case of gravitas or something, and I'm scared to death that the next step will seem like too much of a shallow adventure story. I mean, really, the next step is more-or-less a shallow adventure story, but I'm not prepared to just completely and utterly wing-it.

How to explain. I want to have a small reserve of energy built up before I start. I want to be able to focus. Concentrate. Give it my full attention. Do a little better than a purely "sure, whatever" attitude. Which is a funny thing to say considering that I know what is going to happen next, and it's not terribly deep. More running around. The occasional explosion. Lots and lots of cussing. Oh, and rape, which is the part that bothers me the most. Why in the world I'm even considering the introduction of some really disturbingly creepy rape, I have no idea. Something to do with the logical extension of the characters and situation, which I just do not like at all. Not one bit. Maybe, I'm hoping the idea will work its way out of my system before I actually try writing any of it down. Or, I'll just chicken out like with the bestiality that was supposed to happen in the first book.

So, I want to work on something light, and we all know how that tends to turn out for me. I mean just look at The Faire Folk of Gideon. It was supposed to be a lighthearted romp, darn-it. Wasn't supposed to get all serious and whatnot. Stupid angst. Been told the book is horribly depressing. How the hell did that sneak in there? Was supposed to be lighthearted.

Okay, right, so the magic word we are really looking for is sustainable. Something I would be able to work on day-by-day on very little energy because the freaking day job was just sucking the joie de vie out of me. So, we were at the opera one day a couple of years ago. Okay, shut up. Yes, I've been known to go to the opera. I've got a masters degree in music composition. Deal with it.

Anyway, we were at the opera, which we do not do very often at all because the opera is fucking expensive. Even the nosebleed seats are expensive.

Right, we were at the opera. A Verdi adaption of something Shakespearean. And, I had a brainstorm. Why the hell shouldn't I do an adaptation of something Shakespearean? The plots done, right? All I've got to do is spin it and connect the dots. Low-rent. Fun and light. Treat it like The Faire Folk of Gideon or Zastar and just wing the motherfucker, as Steve Dallas would say if swearing was allowed in the funny pages. Nothing to it, and it just might be sustainable. No sweat. No caring. Just see what comes. Maybe nothing. Maybe something. Thinking too much. Get on with it.

So, my poor little overclocked brain buzzed away. Wouldn't let me rest. Can't remember how many weeks or months later before I finally wrote the first scene. And, holy shit! I was on to something. Rocked my world.

Then, nothing.

Yeah, life got in the way or whatever. Didn't think about it again for some random amount of time. Finally wrote the next scene. And, holy shit! I was cooking. It was awesome. I really had the thread of something. Even wrote some notes about the future so I wasn't just totally winging-it.

And then the worst thing that could possible happen did in fact happen. I realized I couldn't just wing-it. Or, to be more precise, I did not want to just make it all up as I went along. I didn't want to rely on improvisation. There were things that wouldn't make sense. And, suddenly, I wanted it to make sense. I wanted logic and reason and progression. I needed—fuck—I needed plot.

Which pissed me off, let me tell you, because I had plot. I had Will donkey-ass-smoking Shakespeare for plot. I was set for life, man. Shouldn't go messing with Will Shakespeare's plot. That's trouble waiting to happen.

But, see, there was this magic word and it wasn't sustainability. The new magic word of the day was adaptation, and it's a big word. It's a kick down the door and rape your poor arthritis suffering mama word. It'll fuck you up good.

Sure, I had the spine of the idea from William burn-in-hell Shakespeare, but it wasn't exactly like I was trying to follow every little thing. I can't keep to an outline. I've learned that the hard way. Even the final version of The Etymology of Fire took three freaking years because the outcome was predetermined. I know that cock-sucker needed to hit certain marks, and I really think it made the proceedings one hellishly difficult bitch to nail to the wall.

Wow, I'm being horribly profane. What's up with that?

I had the spine from Shakespeare, but I wasn't following it. I already knew a whole bunch of ways I was going to drift way the fuck away from the source material. After all, I had already written something like four scenes, and I hadn't even gotten to the beginning of the damn play. And, the next scene? Not in the play. The one after that? Not in the play. After that, okay. Well. Maybe. Sort-of.

It was time to figure out what the hell I was doing, and I knew I had to do the one thing I really had not wanted to do. I had to take the time to figure out what in the hell I was doing. I didn't want to wing-it. The result would have been terrible. I had to think. I had to plan. I had to let my subconscious take over and run with it for however long it would take to figure out what in all of god's forsaken hell I was doing. I also had to do all of this on low energy because of work.

So, I'm not dealing with this as well as I might like. Low energy. Other crap. Not nearly enough time is being given over to slowly letting my mind wander round and round this silly little adaptation I wanted to do. Sure, I've got some notes, and I sure as hell know the tone. I've got the authorial voice I want to use. It is so barren it is downright scary. It is minimalism on a scale I've never attempted before.

It's so sparse the whole thing might wind-up being a short story for the surprisingly twisted fact that there simply are not that many words involved in the proceedings. Wouldn't that just be a laugh riot? I could just shit.

Sigh. Okay, enough with the profanity for one day.

20 November, 2011
The Gideon Rush

Surprisingly enough, I'm not going to make a habit of this. I'm actually kind-of shocked that I've written so many journal entries in a row. Well, not exactly in a row, but you know what I mean. Didn't know I had enough on my mind that I could pound so much into my poor defenseless little computer keyboard. It's good exercise, I think. Dusting off of cobwebs. Giving me a bit of a notion of how much I can write in about an hour without too much forethought or planning. I mean, sure, I knew there were a whole bunch of topics I wanted to go over, but I really didn't know how it was going to all turn out. I mean, seriously, I thought I was going to get one journal entry out of the whole mess. I was not expecting to still be writing random sentences more than a week after I started.

So, ignoring the Shakespeare project for the moment, which I really do not want to go into in any more detail than I already have because it simply can't be that hard for people to figure out what I'm doing and beat me to it especially given the rate at which I'm working on it. Stupid day job. Also, I guess I've needed the time to realize that the story is far more involved than I was hoping to get away with. I need to really think about what I'm up against. I need to plan. I need to think. I need to take the proceedings far more seriously than I was hoping to get away with. What can I say? I just like the clash of ideas that I've strung together, and I really, really want the adaptation to work.

I really don't want to comment on the fact that it is an adaptation and not something wholly original. I mean, fuck it. I don't want to just rehash. I don't want to remake. I don't want to just go with something that's been done before from a lack of any good ideas of my own. This is the kind-of thought that does still worry me about my chosen project. Sure, I'm only doing it because I'm worried about what can be sustained. I'm worried about what I can continue without becoming overly invested in the project, which I've basically failed at, I guess. I mean, just look at me. I'm already insane over the project. I'm already obsessed with the style and format of the proceedings.

So, that's what keeps spinning around in my head. It's not wholly original. Shit. I just have to keep telling myself that I'm doing something different with it. No straight-up adaptation this. Sure, it's not as ridiculous as the movie Adaptation, which I loved, by the way. Not only was that thing a great commentary on movies but also a great way to deal with a source that couldn't easily be adapted. The source material is only source material. It is providing a basic framework from which to do something, and that framework is not cemented very deeply in the ground. As I've already said, I've written about four scenes and haven't even gotten to the beginning of the play. It'll be like the play in the sense that people might think it reminds them just a bit of something or other that Shakespeare wrote kind-of in the same way that the Pixar movie A Bug's Life reminds me of Seven Samurai. At least I'm being upfront about the fact that the noticing of similarities to something Shakespearean is not purely existing in your poor deluded little head. The similarities will, in fact, be there.

None of which is what I actually intended to write about this morning. I thought I was done with talking about the great unspeakable Shakespeare project. I wanted to write some more about The Faire Folk of Gideon, which I had started to do yesterday; even though, all I had wanted to do yesterday was write about the Shakespeare project. So, it goes.

So, here is the thing about the Faire Folk of Gideon project. I'm no longer convinced that it is four or five books. I'm more inclined to think that it is a lot shorter than I thought.

See, here is the thing. I was on fire. The writing going so well. Flying without a net. It was a rush working on The Faire Folk of Gideon, and it just kept going and going. Especially the whole thing with Lucifer's Widow and the Poetry Hunters. It just kept growing and growing. I couldn't believe it. Lucifer's Widow and the Poetry Hunters was supposed to be about the same length as Seeking Dragon's Breath. It wasn't supposed to be half the damn book.

In fact, when I started working on Lucifer's Widow, it was still just an episodic web project. I wasn't thinking book. I wasn't thinking beginning, middle and end. It was just all systems go. Keep an episodic shape but let it crash around wildly and at will. Let chaos reign. At least, that's what my memory tells me. It's possible I may have been thinking greater unit by the time I started writing the Lucifer's Widow segment, but that's not what memory whispers sweetly in my ear.

Not my point. Not what I'm getting at.

Lucifer's Widow and the Poetry Hunters was sprawling. It was huge. It was far more than I was expecting. So, I was writing, and I was burning with fire. I'm not joking or exaggerating about it being a rush. I was also scared to fucking death because the story was sprawling. It was way the fuck out of my hands, and something I had thought would be short was in fact taking much longer to work out than I had expected. This made me think about the future. I knew where the story was going. I knew what was going to happen next. And, then what. And, then after that.

I was even playing chicken with myself. Little hints and clues sprinkled about. Little dares. Could I do it? Could I pull it off? I was torturing myself with this shit practically from the beginning. Read chapter six. So quickly after starting my little make-it-up-as-you-go project, I was daring myself. Make it work. Stick the landing. Oh, wait, I didn't mention the endgame in chapter six. Still don't know if I'm going to keep the ending that's been taunting me from the back of my poor diseased little brain. It's such a The Prisoner fuck-you style ending. I just might loose that last game of chicken with myself.

Not my point. What was I talking about?

Oh, right, I knew where this turkey was going to land next, and I was hip deep in the fact that one little segment of the story was just tearing up the landscape. It wouldn't stop. It wouldn't hold still and just be a little of the old light fantastic. So, it occurred to me that my plans for the future might just take a little longer than I originally thought, and suddenly I was thinking book where before I was thinking segment.

Well, now, time has passed. Took three fucking years to finish The Etymology of Fire, which I swear was a project that should have only take months to a year at the most. Another victim of The Faire Folk of Gideon rush. I figured all writing would race as fast as that unholy monstrosity had burned through all thought and creation.

Should have known better.

So, I've had time to think, and I've been thinking that I need to reevaluate my expectations. It is, after all, possible that I had unrealistic expectations while I was burning through book one. I may not, in fact, have as much material as I think I do, and this brings us to a very interesting and important point. Don't you fucking dare stretch it out just because you've got it into your head that you've got more material than you think you do. Don't let ego get in the way. Don't become convinced that the material is so damn important that it must be epic.

Don't pull a Jordan or a Martin.

The tragedy of Robert Jordan is not that he died before his epic could be finished. The tragedy of Robert Jordan, as I understand it, is that it became a sprawling epic that simply wouldn't die even as it choked and gagged on its own overblown and self-important padding. The tragedy of George Martin, as I understand it, is that he is very quickly becoming Robert Jordan.

So, really, I need to think about what the fuck I'm doing especially considering I really, really want to continue the story of poor delusional and seriously fucked-up Matthew Drake. Sure, if I never continue his story, I will be happy. The Faire Folk of Gideon does, in fact, currently rest in a place where I would be happy if it didn't continue. Having said that, I want to continue. The only question remaining is the reevaluation of the remaining material, and the fact that I need to be realistic about what I've got on my hands. I need to be prepared to accept the fact that what I had come to believe was in itself a complete book may in fact only be one segment of a book, and I'm okay with that.

I would much rather the work be shorter if that's the material I've got. I don't want to pad. I don't want to drag. I want to tell my story and get out of the room while it is still on fire. The works burning down around my ears. I want to feel the heat and taste the flame. I do not want to stand in the ash. Coughing. Tasting shit. Looking at what had once been now nothing more than charred and blackened bits of charcoal and bone. Yeah, not for me. Get it done. Get out.

So, maybe I've only got one more book's worth of material, and that would be cool. I've already got the precedent of The Etymology of Fire and The Magic Flute. I'm cool with that.

Of course, if what I've got is enough material for two more books and thereby make The Faire Folk of Gideon into a trilogy, I will just shit.

I'm not going to rehash my deep-set hatred of trilogies here. I discussed it once before in this space while going over why I was so disappointed in Garth Nix's Abhorsen triology. It's all about the padding. How I hate padding with a passionate fury that knows no bounds. Should have been two fucking books: Sabriel and Abhorsen. That's it. End of story. Fuck artificial trilogies.

copyright © 2011 by keith d. jones – all rights reserved
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