Okay, well, another week has passed, and we are a week closer to the release of “The Chasm and the Collision” in both paperback and E-book formats. In fact, as the above Facebook ad shows, it will be released this month (which comes as no surprise to those of you who read last week’s posting). Even more excitingly—to me, certainly—is that it will be released within the next two weeks, and possibly within the next week. There are still a few variables at play, so I don’t want to be too specific.
Incidentally, to those of you who might wonder about the specifics of the above image: it is a representation of the drawing that one of the main characters in the book makes, fairly early on, of a scene from a dream that the protagonists share, dominated by a seemingly impossible, mountainous city hanging off the edge of a vast, seemingly endless chasm without an opposite side. This shared dream is only the beginning of a parade of truly bizarre and seemingly impossible things that happen to our heroes, but obviously it has bearing on the title.
As I’ve probably written before (I tend to repeat myself), I’m very excited to have this book come out, for several reasons. One, my mother is looking forward to it—she’s read some of the earlier chapters and is eager to read the whole story, as is my sister. Also, this is a novel that has been in the making for several years now, and was inspired by my children. Curiously, I thought of the idea while I was in jail (that’s a long story…maybe I’ll talk about it in depth sometime in the future), as a way to keep my own spirits up, and as a dedication to my children. Thus, it is particularly near and dear to my heart. It also carries strong “spiritual” impacts from my family in general: my sister began the typing-in process of much of the novel, which I had to send to her in handwritten form. Maybe one day I’ll show you a sample of that handwriting, so that you can understand what a daunting—nay, a heroic—task she undertook. Anthems should be sung!
Of course, as I’ve said before, my father convinced me to avoid profanity in this story. I had written the very first draft of the first chapter, and in it, when surprised and frightened, Simon—one of the main characters—gave a modest curse. These are middle school students, after all, and when I was that age, I know that I cursed around my friends. It wasn’t gratuitous or extreme—except perhaps as part of the occasional joke—but it did happen. *
In any case, my father read this first draft, and he said to me that, if this book was more geared toward kids than my usual stories—or at least was meant to be kid-friendly—then I should probably consider avoiding profanity, especially so early in the story. He was right, damn it! It was excellent advice, and I think it adds to the story’s charm. I also think I have avoided making it feel unnatural in the novel, but the reader will be the judge of that; I cannot be unbiased.
My mother, of course, has been inspiring in her anticipation of this book, and her interest in my writing in general. She is always cheerful and upbeat, and handles life’s vicissitudes in a consistently positive way. She is also very forgiving. The importance of this is not to be underestimated.
And my brother, though less directly involved, is also just generally a positive and pleasant, supportive and affirming person, though he has health problems of his own. He’s an unassuming fellow, but one of the best people I’ve known.
Of course, above all, my children are the inspiration of this book. I hope they read and enjoy it.
On to other matters. As I finish all the final work for “CatC”, I shall be able to get back to writing my next book, “Unanimity,” which I had well begun before deciding I needed to focus on getting my already-written stories into publishable form. It’s been difficult not to write new stories—I suffer from a tendency toward serious depression, and creative writing, on a consistent basis, seems to do a great deal to counter it…much more so than editing does, I’m sorry to say (or, rather, I’m sorry to say that editing doesn’t help, not sad that writing does). In any case, now I’ll be able to get back to work on “Unanimity,” and then the next story and the next. I have several already lined up and waiting.
“Unanimity” is NOT a family-friendly story, by the way. It’s quite dark, and horrible things happen in it. But, then, it is a horror story. If horrible things did not happen in it, that would be rather disappointing, and might even constitute false advertising. Those of you who prefer such stories can continue to look forward to it, but you will find some appetizers in “CatC,” I think. Though family-friendly, it has its moments of modest horror, as most good adventures do. When my son (then aged 12) read some early drafts of the first few chapters, he said that part of it was kind of scary. That was okay…that was the part that was supposed to be scary, so I wasn’t disappointed.
Okay, well, as Led Zeppelin might say, I’ve rambled on bit here. I hope you’ll excuse me; I’m excited (for me, anyway; you probably couldn’t tell by looking). Obviously, I’ll let you know when “The Chasm and the Collision” is released, and I do hope you’ll read it. I can recommend it without reservation.
* Please don’t mistakenly conclude that this was because of my upbringing. I’ve never heard my mother utter a curse word more extreme than “damnation!”, and that happened only when she was acutely frustrated or in surprised pain. My father was even more circumscribed in his use of expletives. He may have sworn occasionally at work, but not in my hearing (except in rare, and exceptionally funny, retellings of jokes). The worst I can recall from him was when my brother and I had broken a very nice, somewhat fancy window in a door in the front of our house. When my father came home and saw it, he yelled, “Jesus Christ!” We knew we were in serious trouble. In fact, I had my doubts that we would live to see the end of the day. It was a bit like seeing Mr. Rogers come on set carrying an M60.