Monday, September 25, 2006

From the 'No Duh," department.

Courtesy of this week's horoscope at AstrologyOnline:

You can make money if you are careful not to let it trickle through your fingers.

And...this is a surprise, how, exactly?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Feast or Famine

Well, the high-school shooting backstory of the current novel, which I once thought would be contained in a single chapter and has since exploded into three, may now not be quite long enough.

Stupid books and going and evolving even while you're working on it.

I had a flash of inspiration tonight about the book, about approaching the story almost as having dual narratives -- the current, insomnia-based storyline, and the backstory, school-shooting storyline.

And the idea really onle stumbled out of a notion that I've known about from the get go, that each of these two narratives are ending with something very, very similar happening.

No, I'm not going to say what that similar thing is.

And no, I don't care if you're the type who flips to the end of the book before you even start reading the beginning.

And if you are that type, shame on you.

The point is this: For the last two chapters -- which were two chapters longer than I was expecting the back-story to play out over -- I've been sort of speeding up the back-story narrative, hoping I could get out of it before it took up too much time or space.

Now, suddenly, I wish I hadn't. I wish I'd taken a bit more time with it, because if I could line up those two different narrative events, it would, pardon my french, absofuckinglutely rock.

So now, having spent two chapters trying to speed up all the high school violence stuff, now I'm going to slow it down.

Take my time.

Let it breathe.

I still might end up having to a do lot of restructuring work on the rewrite -- inflating some of the earlier stuff so the whole narrative is a bit more balanced.

Or maybe everything will come out just perfectly, exactly as it should be.

Maybe pigs will fly too.

Another 2,000 words down tonight. Current word count: 35,860.

I rock.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Well, it wasn't quite 6,000 words...

...but I did get somewhere between 4,500 and 5,000 words into the novel yesterday (I'm not 100% sure of the word count, as I wasn't following it religiously -- I had the feeling going into it that the word count would be light, so I didn't want to really know just how light. Boy, was I surprised!)

AND almost 4,000 of those words came spilling out in one sitting that just kind of spiralled out of control.

Clearly I've had some pent up narrative waiting to get vomited out on the page.

On top of everything else, an anecdote I heard at work today -- about a street in Kelowna that, apparently, has no service of any kind, be it electrical, gas, cable, or anything else, because it's essentially a have for crackhouses and drug dealers -- is bouncing around in my head as an idea for later in the novel.

My first thought was that the idea of a street where no one goes, that the government pretends doesn't exist, might make an interesting location for another story. But then, the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like this could be better used in this novel. Not only a location forgotten and ignored by the government and by the utilities companies, but a location forgotten by God himself. I've been looking for a spot where the final "showdown" between Jeremy and the cult leader would take place, and I was already thinking of a location like this -- someplace derelict and worn down -- but this idea of a forgotten, ignored neighbourhood takes the original idea one step further.

It does feel a little bit too close to the notion of "Undertown" that I had in the "Stealing Time" novel from a few years back, but I don't think there's much of a chance of that novel ever getting finished, and if it's just going to sit around and collect dust anyway, I might as well rip something off from it.

I still need to give it a bit more thought, particularly in the area of where I'm intending to introduce the idea of this location. My first thought was that I needed to introduce it towards the beginning of teh novel, to have it in people's minds already for the climax, but I've begun to think that there might be a good point in the next chapter or two for that introduction -- might not be at the beginning, but it's early enough from the climax that it'll still get the job done.

As always -- and as is always surprising -- the further into the book I get, the more everything starts to coalesce. All the varying, disconnected ideas begin to pull together into a single, unifying thread.

God, I love it when that happens.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I'm not sure what drew me to it, but I watched Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love tonight, for what is probably only the second time. And the first time since I bought the DVD a few years back.

My first experience watching the film -- which I was desperate to see, after being blown away by Anderson's "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia" -- was in the form of a 700 MB AVI file I downloaded from the internet, the video of which appeared to have been shot on a handicam by someone in a theatre. The quality of the image was far from fantastic, but it least the camera seemed to be on a tripod, so it didn't wobble a lot.

I recall kind of enjoying the film at the time, but not being terribly affected by it. My review probably would have been summed up with a "Meh."

Which is probably why it's taken me so long to revisit it. I'm glad I did, though.

Punch-Drunk Love is a sweet, strange, and surprisingly moving love story. It's funny, though sometimes darkly so, it's strange, with moments of absurd randomness that might take some time to wrap your head around, and -- most importantly -- it's ultimately redemptive, as Barry Egan, a quiet, lonely, angry man finds a way out of his own personal darkness after falling in love with Lena Leonard.

Barry says this at the climax of the film: "I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine."

And it's a wonderfully powerful, beautiful moment.

Granted, it's a moment that comes in the middle of a mattress store in Utah while he's staring down the owner/operator of a phone sex business that's been trying (somewhat successfully) to extort money from him.

Still, powerful and beautiful. Even if a little absurd.

I think I needed something light and redemptive and loving after last night's unexpected outburst. Not sure entirely where it came from, but it went on a lot longer, and a lot further then I was expecting when I first sat down to write. I actually had a moment this morning, upon waking, when I thought, "Oh crap, what did I write last night?"

Thankfully I wasn't too embarassed when I checked it out this morning.

Maybe I just had a lot of religious agression pent up from the fact that I haven't done any significant work on the novel in the last few days, and haven't had an outlet for the sort of the stuff I've been conjuring up for the book. Or maybe I just hit the wrong tangent at the wrong time.

I"m taking the next two days off work after a gruelling two weeks putting out more publications than I can count, and I'm looking forward to doing a whole lot of nothing, occasionally broken up with some work on the novel. I still need to get through the second half of the manifesto so I can get the second act sort of rolling along. I'm not sure why I've been avoiding it. I've felt like writing, which is, in part, why I dumped so much in the blog last night, I think. I just haven't done any of it.

But whatever I've been doing, it's been unsatisfying, because in the back of my mind, I'm thinking, get off your ass. Get over to the book. Get WRITING.

So enough of this avoidance.

I want 6,000 down in the next two days -- that's only three bursts of 2K. Should be a breeze.

Of course, now that I've said that, I'm sure I've jinked myself.

Alphablogging (Part One)

So, a few people asked me what my thoughts were after watching the first of the Alpha videos.

And my answer to them all was the same.

"Preaching to the converted."

Which surprised me, a little, because the setup  I had heard for the Alpha video was that they were hosted by an agnostic who'd found God, who set out to disprove the existence of the divine, and instead ended up embracing it. And that, I thought, was something I could get my head arounde. That was an argument I'd love to hear.

And maybe that's still where we're going. There's still 9 weeks, 9 videos, to work our way through. Perhaps that still on the horizon.

But, from a purely marketing perspective, bad start.

It's like the way we're told to write essays when we're in high school.

Tell us what you're going to tell us. Then tell us. Then tell us what you told us.

As an introductory video, its job should have been to tell us what we were going to be told for the next nine weeks. If it was going to ask serious questions, then those questions should have come up. If it was going to tackle difficult issues, then those issues should have come up. But for the most part, they didn't.

Instead, the video host made some jokes, got some laughs, and said the sort of things that are only really going to ring true to people who are already on his side.

I suppose maybe I'm being a little unfair.

Complicated questions were asked. But over-simplistic answers were given. Which doesn't bode well for the rest of the program.

If we were going to be dabbling in complicated answers, I'd hope that there would be a hint of that in the first video. Instead, what we got were answers that, well, preached to the converted.

Or, I suppose, to the almost converted.

To those that were looking for easy answers.

When the man on the video (I don't know his name, and while a variety of names came up on my Google searches for Alpha Courses, I'm not sure who's who, and I'd hate to misrepresent anyone) talked about the emptiness we feel inside, or the desire to find something more in life, I started to think, "Hey, maybe i could acutally get into this."

Because I think we all feel that.

We're all familiar with that emptiness, that certainty that there must be something more to life than just what we know.

But the answer to that emptiness, it seems, is Jesus. And, more specifically, a personal relationship with God, though Jesus.

That's the only thing that can fill that void. The only thing that can make us complete.


And this isn't something new.

This is something that's been niggling at the back of my head for years.

Something that's bugged me for years.

We're all created with this void. Because this void arises out of a desire for a relationship with the God that created us. And the only way to fill it is with a personal relationship, with him, thorugh Jesus.

So then...


Isn't it a little bit perverse?

Isn't it a little perverse to create something that is lacking something, then demand that it seek you out for what it lacks, and then act as if you're loving and merciful for giving it what it lacks? For being willing to fill the absence that you created?

How is that merciful?

How is that loving?

Dear God, let this emptiness, this void, be worth more than just an excuse to seek you out. Do not let me think that you made me, and then tortured me, all so that I would feel compelled to find you.

If that's what it's all about, if all you want is to be loved, if all you want is to be worshipped, then just make us loving, just make us worshipful. Get rid of the whole joke that is free will.

If all you want is love and worship, then why did you put in me the desire for so much more?


Already, my opinions are coloured by what I read tonight, about the Alpha Program. Already I'm reminded that, too often, churches are like politicians, where after awhile, they stop caring about their congregation, and focus only on their sustainability. Their ability to pay the bills. Their job.

The alpha program has been ridiculously successfuly. I've only seen one video, and I think I already know why.

Because it preaches to the converted.

And, more importantly, it preaches to those who want to be converted.

Those who are desperate for an answer.

Those who want to fill the void in the hearts, at any cost. Those who are willing to cling to any truth. Those who are willing to find any meaning they can.

It preaches to the converted, and to those who are desperate for conversion.

This is the sort of rant that would likely have someone accusing me of not approaching the program with an open mind. But if they did make such an accusation, I don't think they could be any more wrong.

I do have an open mind.

I'm open to anything.

But I have conditions. I have logical conditions, scientific conditions, and yes, even spiritual conditions.

As the narrator in my current novel has said, on more than one occasion, yes, I want to believe.

But I'm still waiting for you to give me something worth beliving in.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Alphablogging (Prologue)

I've been fighting against the desire to do this for most of the day, until I finally had to throw in the towel and accept that, if I have to fight this long against a desire, then the desire must be there for a reason, and so maybe I should just succumb to it.

I was invited this weekend to attend the "Alpha Course" which is a sort-of introduction to Christianity program. The invitation came at, sort of, the perfect time for it, while I'm working on a book where issues of faith and spirituality play a very, very large role, which led me to actually consider going to something that I, normally, would have just dismissed and avoided. Because, I figured, at the very least, maybe it could give me a bit more to chew on, thematically, for this book.

And, admitedly, beyond that, there was also the fact that, yes, like a lot of people, I'm searching for some grander truth, some greater meaning behind our existences here on this planet. A lot of that search, I think, is going to end up finding itself into this current book -- a lot of it already has -- and already I'm feeling like part of the point of this book is for it function as a sounding board for all the question about life I have, as well as a sounding board for a handful of the answers.

Bottom line is this: Questions of faith have been in my head a lot lately, and when the invitation came to attend something that might lead to me ask further question, or look at those questions from a different perspective, I found myself actually inclined to attend.

Which I did, last night.

The Alpha Program, in a nutshell, is a ten-week course, where one night a week the participants gather, eat a meal, watch a video on Christianity, and then discuss the questions, issues, and answers that arose from that video. All in the interest of getting closer to the heart of, for lack of a better workd, the truth.

And it wasn't really until today that I even thought about blogging my own response to it.


I'm going to have to get used to sharing my opinion, if I'm going to actually continue on with this thing. Even if maybe that opinion isn't shared by any one else, even if maybe that opinion isn't welcome. Because if I'm going to go there and just sit in a corner, and keep those questions to myself, then I'm not doing anyone any good by being there.

So, in the interest of opening myself up, in the interest of improving  my ability to share what I'm *really* thinking, and *really* feeling, I'm going to blog my reactions to the Alpha Program. I won't be blogging immediately afterwards -- it might take a day or two or three before I sit down and get out my thoughts, but that's likely because I need to chew on the ideas that came up on that particular night before commenting on them.

And, wow, there's only been one night so far, but I already feel like I've been chewing for weeks.

I already feel like I have so much to comment on.

Part of this desire to comment, I'm sure, is coming as a direct result of doing a little online research on the Alpha Program. And the fact that some of the information available is good, and some of it, well, isn't. And even though reading up on the program is maybe a bit like flipping to end of a book even before you've begun it, I just can't help myself. I'm not very good at opening myself up, blindly, to outside influences. I like to know what I'm getting myself into.

And, in spite of the fact that I kind of feel like I know where things are going, and how we're going to get there, I'm going to try not to let that colour my perspective of anything. I'm going to try to take each moment of the Alpha Program (assuming I see it through to the end) as its own, individual moment, coloured only by what has come before, and not coloured by what I'm anticipating.

As much as I can.

I'm only human.

But this entry has gone on long enough, and I still have to comment on the opening "Alpha" evening. So what's say you join me over in the next post?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

700 words. Meh.

Half the manifesto is complete.

Well, maybe only a third. I dunno. This book seems to have a tendency to spiral out of my control whenever it seems fit. This seems like an area where it might.

Bottom line, only 700 words tonight before I threw in the towel. Which isn't bad, actually, because after getting home at 9:00 p.m., and making my lengthy school-violence-rant on the blog, I really didn't think I'd have much left in me.

But I had a little.


So I went and spent it.

And it didn't feel too bad. It didn't feel too far off from where it was when I was improv-writing it behind the wheel of the car driving into town a few days ago.

Which is nice.

Most of the time, I never feel like I can get close to that moment of initial inspiration. Most of the time, whenever I have to revisit something I already thought out, plotted out, scripted out, it comes out feeling weaker, watered down.

This...not so much.

That feels good.

But now it's 11:15, and I'm burn out, and I have so much more to say, but I don't have the energy for it, so I hope it stays right on the surface. I hope I can find it quickly tomorrow night, I hope I can slide easily right back into the moment agian. And I think, if I can get at it tomorrow, I might be able to.

In other book related news, I've been thinking about a new title for it for the last couple of hours, one I stumbled upon completely accidently, even though it should have been a no-brainer because I already started writing a short story with the same title a number of years ago, a short story with no hope of ever going anywhere.

It's also a no-brainer because it follows the same naming scheme I used for the last novel -- "Waiting for a Miracle" -- which borrowed (or, if you'd prefer, stole) it's title from a piece of modern music.

The title I'm now considering for the current book?

"Absence of Faith."

Which isn't exactly stolen from the title of a song, but rather from a line in a song -- in this case, "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails.

It's a nice phrase, one that's been stuck in my head pretty much since I first heard it. And it sums up a lot of the themes of the book quite nicely. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to homage the source material, like I did for "Waiting for a Miracle," by quoting it, as I'm already leaning towards two book-opening quotes that aren't "Closer."

One of the quotes is from a Nine Inch Nails song, so I suppose that could be an acknowledgement, but...

Just a thought. And those handful of you who visit this blog, feel free to toss in your comments on the title (even though, of course, you don't know a heck of a lot about the book at this point). It's far from written in stone at this point, and I'd gladly welcome any other perspective at the moment.

I may not officially slap a title on this thing until after I type the words "THE END" but there's no reason not to start planning right now.

And then comes the finger-pointing...

And so violence has once again erupted in a school, this time in a Montreal college, and already, just a day after the fact, fingers are already pointing. Blame is being placed. Goates are being scaped.

The media is, of course, all over it, quoting postings that the shooter -- now identified as Kimveer Gill -- made to a blog located at Of course, the blog is apparently no longer available at the site, and what information we're getting is, of course, filtered. Filtered by a media eager to point fingers, lay blame, scape goats.

I understand why these web pages disappear so quickly after an incident like this. It's like an albatross around the neck of a web site. It's publicity of the worst kind. Who wants their web site to be associated with a violent shooting spree? That can't be good for business.

But at the same time, there's important historic documentation to be gleaned from these sites, documentation beyond what the police require in their investigations, beyond what the media requires to tell their skewed, tabloidized version of events. It's the communication of a real person, who felt something, and communicated those feelings, whether those feelings were pain or rage or sadness or emptiness. And while we've seen, and some of us have suffered, as a result of what those feelings were, now very few of us will ever have the chance to actually see them, because Kimveer Gill is dead now, denying us the chance to ever ask, "Why?"

I'd probably let this event slide except for one thing: School violence is very much at the front of my mind right now, because it plays a relatively important part of the new book I'm working on. It's something I've had complicated feelings about ever since what happened at Columbine in 1999. And, while I certainly don't think I'll be able to get every single thought or feeling I have on the topic out onto paper in the writing of this novel, I'll certainlly be hitting a lot of it.

So it's in my head.

And then this happens.

So it's in my head some more.

And it's driving me nuts, because we've been missing the point for years. Every time this happens, we sit on the brink of something revalatory, we're on the edge of understanding something that's broken in our culture, but we throw it away. Because, while we're asking the right question -- which is "Why?" -- we don't really care about the answer.

We don't really want to know the truth.

We don't really want to know about what's broken in us.

Not just in people like Kimveer Gill or Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold -- because, of course, there is something undeniably broken in people like that -- but also in the rest of us, those of us who helped shape those people, who helped break those people.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, all we want is to sleep better.

We want simple answers to complicated questions.

When we ask, "Why?" we want someone to tell us:

It was because of violent video games; or

It was because of industrial music; or

It was because of violent images on film.

Already the media -- the last place we should be turning for answers, the last place we should be turning for truth -- is handing us the easy answers on a silver platter.

Gill enjoyed playing the video game "Postal." He enjoyed playing the video game "Super Columbine Massacre." His favourite movie was "Natural Born Killers."

These are easy answers, that bring us no closer to the truth, because no one really gives a damn about it. The media wants nothing more than a soundbite, because the truth will likely take awhile to get to, and they know this story will be old news within a week. As for the rest of us, we just want to be comforted. We just want to be told there's nothing to worry. We just want something simple we can point our finger at so we can sleep better at night, knowing that we did our jobs. Knowing that we've made the world a better place by laying blame on something, anything.

Whatever was convenient.

Whatever was available.

- - -

On this topic, and something I stumbled upon while doing a quick batch of research, Slate has a really fantastic look at Columbine, five years after the fact. Much of the stuff they cover was news to me, and shows that, at least in some circles, the media actually gives a damn about trying to get to the facts, and not just the soundbites that'll get the ratings. Check it out.


I've started a new blog over at blogger beta. Don't imagine I'll be doing a whole lot over there, but anyone interested in checking out my mucking about with the new blogger features can visit

Yeah, I'm as surprised as you are that the address is still available.

EDIT: It might help if I got the address right.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Another taste

It’s like I said, I want to believe in something. It’s just that there’s nothing out there to believe in. Nothing that pulls all the madness together and wraps it up in a nice little package, with an attractive little red bow. Nothing that tells me how God can love a healthy child born in to a middle-class suburban family, a child born with cancer, and a child born into a war-ravaged country, all equally. How can a God allows the routine slaughter of innocents claim to love his creations with all his heart?

When a parent tries that game, he goes to jail.

When a father explains that the reason he killed his son is because he loved him, he goes to the electric chair, or he goes for psychiatric evaluation.

God is a mass murderer.

God is a psychopath.

But no one can hold him to it, because even if he exists, you can’t track him down. You can’t drag him into court or drop him onto a sofa in a psychiatrist’s office.

If God exists, and if he’s nuts, well, he’s still in charge of it all.

There’s a madman at the wheel.

When you come to that conclusion, as it’s the only conclusion you can really come to, I assure you that it’s a whole lot easier, and a whole lot safer, to just believe in nothing at all.

Which is to say, simply stop believing.

God goes into the closet, along with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Sleeping Beauty, Prince Charming, and Happily-Ever-Afters.

But when you grow up with faith – and not just faith in God, but faith in all that stuff – every time you lose a little bit of it, you get left a little emptier inside. It leaves a hollow little hole in your heart, or in your soul, where dust and cobwebs collect.

And as the years go on, you keep losing more and more. And the hole just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

There is no Santa Claus, the hole gets bigger.

There is no Easter Bunny, the hole gets bigger.

There are no good guys or bad guys, just different ideologies, the hole gets bigger.

God doesn’t love you any more or any less than anything else in the world, including children with cancer, and flattened cats on the side of the road, and dead 14-year olds in high school cafeterias, and the AIDS virus, and hepatitis, and algae, and sub-atomic particles.

The hole gets bigger.

Pretty soon, you start to feel like all that’s left inside is that hole, and you wonder if anything will ever start to fill the hole back in again, or if your life is just going to be spent listing piece after piece of yourself.

I’m smart enough to know that I’m not old enough to be sure. But I’ll tell you this: It’s not looking good.

It’s not hard to imagine some future version of myself, aged and bitter, and sad and lonely, with my insides so hollowed out that I can’t feel anything at all anymore. There’s no joy or sadness, no love or hatred, just blank indifference to any and everything around me.

Dead on the inside, just waiting for the outside to catch up.

Just waiting for the body to figure out what the heart already knows.

That there’s nothing.


Nothing worth believing in, nothing worth fighting for, nothing worth dying for, nothing worth living for.

That we were the ones in charge, that we were the ones behind the wheel, that we were the ones given an empty canvas, and what we painted onto it was brutal and red and violent and angry and perverse. That we are the masters of our own destinies, and as those masters, we have damned ourselves to hell.

And that hell is this: Life in the 21st century.

So yeah, it’s fair to say that I wished I could believe in something. Take my word for it, believing in nothing at all is no goddamn fun.

The blog's been kind of vacant lately, so I thought I'd make up for it with another chunk of the novel, taken this time from the portion that I wrote tonight.

Still working on it, technically, in the background, while writing this blog post, but I don't think I've got much of it left in me for tonight.

Current word count: 27,712.

300 more words to break the 28,000 mark and maintain my nightly average of 2,000 words.

I should be able to do that.

NIce surprise -- I thought I was further away than that.

I'm trying to get past the second-act jitters. The feeling that, having put out about 1/3 of the novel's total, it's only a matter of time until things turn sour. It's been going too well, too smoothly, too effectively. It can't keep going like this.

These feelings persist in spite of the fact that I have a pretty good idea of how it's ending (with one of two climaxes in mind -- one being more of an anti-climax, in some ways) as well as a pretty good idea of what's going to happen between then and there.

If I can get through this chapter, I'll be fine.

This chapter had so much stuff in it, so much important stuff -- the pressing on of the love-story angle, the revelation of the cult-leader, and -- the part I'm most concerned about now -- the cult leader's first chance at sharing his manifesto.

His well-oiled spiritual fantasies.

I'm not going to get to that tonight, thank God. I won't let myself. Because I need a clear head for it, and I need to start my evening's writing binge with it. I need to be on the ball, firing on all cylinders, and right now I'm not.

I wrote a good chunk of the manifesto in the car the other day. I wish I'd had a recorder with me, as some of it was pretty good, and I know with my luck it'll never be that good again. Or, if it is, it'll somehow not actually feel that good. It'll feel like a bad photocopy of the original idea, and I'll always kick myself for not capturing the first, pure moment of the idea's creation.

C'est la vie, I guess.

Sayla vee.

Back to work now. 300 words to go for tonight, if I can get out 300 words before it's manifesto time.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Just a taste...

We immortalize the flesh and blood in granite and stone, and then we lose the most important parts of them; our memories. The only part of them that lives on after they die. And most of us don’t even notice that we’re doing it. The memories just slip away without anyone fighting to keep them, without anyone giving a damn or trying to keep them alive.

Too busy with work and school and looking for someone to slam your genitals against. Too busy shuffling through life, day and in and day out, in spite of every single day being exactly the same as the one before.

I notice. I notice how much every day is so maddeningly the same as the one before, because there’s no distinction in my days anymore. It’s all just one thing. One long cycle of moments that are the same, over and over and over again, endlessly repeating, until death finally visits us, and it becomes our turn to be immortalized and forgotten.

Just a little taste of the current novel, taken -- out of context, of course -- from the third chapter. I stumbled upon it while backtracking and trying to confirm some dialogue tonight, and I just liked this bit so much I had to post it.

Which is not to say I'm patting myself on the back.

Oh, who am I kidding, yes I am.

It's ON again.

After vacation for just slightly more than a week, the book is rolling again. Well, rolling is maybe a but this point.

But another 2,000 words were added last night. And another 2,000 tonight would bring the total to 22,000, and (I suspect) a close to Chapter Four, the second of what will be (I suspect) three "High School Violence" chapters.

I'm rather looking forward to Chapter Five, for a number of reasons. First, it's the official first appearance of the enigmatic cult leader, who will, more or less, act as a sort-of antagonist (please note the wishy-washiness of the term -- most of the stuff I write doesn't really have antagonists or protagonists, just, you know, people).

Second, it will continue the eventually-dysfunctional love story that started in Chapter Three.

Third, it wlil give me a break from the school violence back story. A break I need to increase tension, to give me the opportunity to figure out some of the dramatic stuff that's still a little loose in my head, and break that will just give me a much needed break from writing about something so horrible.

Getting back to the book was a relief after the break. The longer I stay away from a project, the harder it is to get back into it again, the harder it is to pick up the threads, and find where I was going with them. I'm stunned, looking back on it, that I was able to pick up and continue, and eventually finish, "Waiting for a Miracle" after letting the book collect dust for more than six months.

But the 2,000 words last night came out almost painlessly, which was nice. There were a few moments of staring at the screen, thinking, "What do I want to say here?" which did cause a few fleeting moments of concern. But for the most part, I found the threads I had dropped and, more importantly, rediscovered my narrator's voice.

Which I'm starting to quite like.

He's really drifting into stream-of-consciousness style stuff right now, his mind all over the place after going five days without sleep. And, another new developmen that'll be fun to play with in Chapter Five -- paranoia and hallucinations.

Jeremy's roller coaster ride is far from over.

In fact, it's just about to get interesting.

Friday, September 01, 2006

A book update, but not.

So the novel's been suffering.

Well, not suffering so much, as taking a sort of temporary vacation. For the last week.

I can tell myself that it was the best thing, I can tell myself that, as I was about to enter some parts of the story that hadn't quite gotten fleshed out in my head, taking this break from it -- a break that would allow me to better understand where I was going with these parts -- was exactly what the book needed.

I can tell myself all sorts of stuff, but the truth is, the book has been on vacation because of this:

Yes, last Friday I acquired an XBox 360. And it has pretty much devoured every free moment of consciousness I've had since then.

I feel guilty neglecting the book. I sometimes think I can feel the book looking at, glaring at me, silently demanding my attention. And I try to apologize, I try to tell the book that I still love it, but that maybe we were getting to serious too quickly, that maybe we need some space, and that no, this isn't just another way of saying that we should break up, because I really do care about the book, and the want the best for our relationship together. But then the book usually goes on a drinking binge and then I'll find it locked in the bathroom at 3:00 a.m. sobbing so loudly I can't sleep, and by then there's no apology good enough.

The bottom line is this: A brief vacation from the book, even if not taken for the best of reasons, likely came at a good point anyway, if I can get back into it again. The plan was to do 2000 words tonight after work, but unfortunately, it's Friday, and some coerced me into have a few after work drinks, and now any chance of writing before tomorrow is pretty much shot.

Instead...hello multiplayer Uno on the 360.