Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Labor Pains (My Unborn Child, Part II)

With many apologies for being away from the blog for some time now, I thought I might explain why. As some of you who read this blog on a regular basis (by some I really do mean all six of you) know, I have another side project. When I have had a chance to write lately, I've focused on my Unborn Child. Now fully three-quarters the way through, (the farthest I've ever reached), I'm getting labor pains.

I've toiled over this thing for so long now, I have a hard time remembering much about this story in its original form. Eighty percent of the work I've done on it has been pondering, rethinking, re-plotting, and pondering some more. Very little of this time has actually been spent writing, until this past year.

As I've fleshed it out, it's evolved. You see, something happens when I sit down to write. I find myself completely immersed in the story. My laptop screen becomes a window through which I can dive into a  different world. Outside noises either escape my notice, or, when they do, send me a foot in the air when they startle me. It's quite the zone - characters seem to act of their own accord, events happen that I didn't outline, and events that were outlined suddenly don't make sense as they unfold, so I let the story evolve itself. And then I close my laptop after a two or three-hour session, and reflect on the characters and the day's writing, and end up jotting notes right before I get into bed on what should be different. I spend the last few minutes of each night outside pondering it some more. I think about it on the way home from work. And then I sit down again, and these characters, who I think I know so well, go and do something completely out of character and I go back to the drawing board. It always seems as if they're in conflict with the outlines in my notebook.

But here's the thing - I don't actually think it's that good. I think I may have over-complicated it, over-thought it. I mean, it has its merits, it has its moments, but I've been working in it for too damn long. I'm now finishing it simply to see it through. And while I don't really think it's that great, it's still very important to me. I no longer  have any intention of trying to publish it, at least in the traditional sense - if I were a visual artist, I wouldn't want to sell my first painting.

And let me be frank - this is a fantasy. It's not the wizard-fire dragon-breath kingdoms and swords type of fantasy, as it takes place pretty much in the here and now - but it's still fantasy. I refuse to make much use of the word magic, but there's plenty of magic. I didn't want there to be castles and dragons, but there are towers and creatures. I didn't want there to be monsters, but it has demons. I didn't want it to be a preachy morality tale, but it does have themes. I didn't want to approach my views of spirituality and let them influence the story, but if I'm to be honest, it's all about my views on spirituality. This is a collage of sorts of all my lives since those lost years in Columbia. I'm really not convinced I want to write fantasy after this, but when I started it that was what I wanted to do.

Jamie, David, Seamus, Marissa, and Nora; Marlan, Nikola, Amantha, Nikolas and Roia; Simon, Marcus, David, Patricia and Conroy - these characters have been with me for so long now I'm ready to let them go and live their lives on some page that does not exist in my brain. A few, such as Jamie, David, Michael and James have been in my head since the beginning. Others have jumped on the train as it hobbled along on broken tracks through the years. I'm ready to give them wings, as my Mom has said of my sister and me.

As I said, I have no real intention of publishing this, as it would need so much work as to be completely rewritten. But it will always be my first child. So how do I plan to give my baby wings? I'm going to blog her.

My goal is to have this done in October. To do that, my friends and family will have to understand that for a while, my child will come before trivia. I am going full steam ahead now, lungeing for the end of the tunnel. Once I think it's done, and then when I can finally declare it done, once and for all, I will create a separate blog for it. Once a week I'll post another segment. You can comment all you like, or you can remain silent and simply either enjoy it or laugh at it for the disjointed mess that I think it may have become. I'm okay with either, because this is my child, and even if it has a face only a father can love, it will always be mine.

Once it's over, I plan to begin writing seriously. I've discovered that this is what I want to do more than anything else in life. I can create a world and live in it freely and fully, even if only vicariously through my keyboard. But this work has given me more fulfillment than any job that generates a paycheck.