the fun stuff
Beach hermit, town hermit, country road hermit - here I am pondering the ways I will squirrel myself away over the next two years as the drafting of my next novel begins in earnest. Beyond where I may choose to spend my days writing, I am also thinking about what I may choose to write.
I am in that in-between time between major projects that is a lot of fun, not because it is free time to rest and play but rather because it is that moment in time when my mind wanders unimpeded through a myriad of creative possibilities. It is the time when my discipline shackles are tossed aside and my thoughts explore so many creative ideas I expect my mind may explode from the stimulation. It is the freedom before a new storyboard is completed and the next two years of my writing life are mapped out with rigour.
I have been in a good head space the last month for a few reasons.
First, a short story I wrote mid-year about my cancer experience, Operation Ditching Rupert, was short-listed for a short story award. It really was a silver lining considering how challenging that pancreatic tumour made my life for much of this year. All the more amazing was that I wrote the story while on uber-strong pain medication. Perhaps there is something to the cliche that the best work from a writer really does come from a place of angst. The emotional impact of the experience still sends ripples through my writing as any reader of my blog will have noticed in the postings over the last few months.
Second, a small collection of my short stories, Dialecticoma Dreaming, has been released and is now available on Amazon and other reputable American booksellers. The above-mentioned short story is the last story in the collection. Thematically, the collection is based on stories inspired by dreams (nightmares and daydreams). My personal favourite is the one called Hunger, which was based on a recurring nightmare I had as a teenager. I live in hope that some producer / director will find at least two or three of the stories worth making into a film (short or long).
Finally, a road trip I took a couple of weekends ago has inspired my mind down a whole new path - producing a pearl of an idea that just might have the legs to be the story for my next novel. There is nothing better than being in the middle of nowhere to fuel your creativity. I love long drives and bush walks for this reason. I have been in a frenzy of thought experients since then fleshing out potential plots, sub-plots, characters and the conflicts between them, as well as the key design features of the story's world. To say I am excited is an understatement - I am gorging myself with colourful candy and the sugar rush is intoxicating and addictive.
I face one dilemma though. I had originally planned my next project to be the fourth part of the Panopticon series. I have had a good break from my family of characters in that series. Gabriel, my chief protagonist, is waiting to be unleashed on an unsuspecting world. But the above-mentioned road trip seems to have produced a potential competitor for my time. I cannot write both at once - it is har enough emersing yourself in one alternative world, let alone two. So, I will spend the next several weeks working up the storyboards for both novels and make a decision by Christmas as to which of the two I want as my new dance partner for the next two years during my upcoming stretch of writer's hermitude.