Good day, all. It’s Thursday again, and time for another incarnation of my weekly blog post. Rejoice!
It’s been a relatively eventful few weeks with respect to my writing. As stated before, I’ve put the production of the audio chapters of CatC on indefinite hiatus.** This is partly due to an apparent lack of public interest (if you are a counterexample to that, please let me know). Mainly, however, it’s due to a combination of factors within me and my life. Specifically, the production of the audio takes a lot of my spare time and mental energy, and without any obvious feedback, I’d rather put those resources into doing what I love most: writing new things.
Of course, I have been continuing to write new things all along, in the form of my blog posts and Unanimity, which is proceeding steadily. That novel, though, is partly what triggered my decision. I recently looked back and realized that I started Unanimity on September 9th, 2017. This is over a year ago, in other words. To be fair to myself, I took months of time away from it while finishing the editing and preparation of The Chasm and the Collision for publication. I also wrote and/or published three “short” stories during that time as well, so it’s not as though there’s been uninterrupted progress on the book for over a year. That would be galling.
Also, it’s not as though the work I’ve done has been unproductive. Currently, Unanimity is four-hundred-fourteen-thousand words long in first draft, and may reach half a million by the end, which means, even with the hiatus, I’ve written over a thousand words a day on it. That’s not a terrible rate, but I think it’s been too slow. The first draft of a new book, given how quickly I write, should NOT take that long.
Nevertheless, I haven’t added time to my daily writing of Unanimity—not much, anyway—but have instead begun ahead of time a project I was going to start when the novel was finished: a new sci-fi short story, Penal Colony, which I’d been planning to write for some time. I’m taking it slowly; I’ve written no more than a page a day on it since its inception. Still, it’s fun, and it’s nice to be working on a new story, even as the older one continues its inexorable but lengthy trek to completion.
I’ve also started retyping a story that I began by hand some time ago and never finished. It’s called In the Shade, and it’s a horror story. I left it aside mainly because it is just purely a “gonzo” horror story, in the sense of having no deeper meaning, commentary, or exploration of the human condition, and no real twists and turns. Possibly those will come along for the ride automatically, but I didn’t feel that it had much depth, so I just set it aside after some thirty-five handwritten pages, with the intention to return to it later.
Well, here I am, and I’m pleased to find that I like it so far, though I’ve only rewritten the first six or seven pages. It makes some sardonic passing commentary early on about the peculiarities of Florida subdivisions, and these are funny to me, though they may not amuse anyone else.
I’m still having trouble reading fiction, whether new to me or something I’ve read before, and this is deeply worrisome. I thought perhaps I could just force myself through the problem—sometimes that works—so I read an old H.P. Lovecraft story or two, and an excellent short story by Joe Hill, Voluntary Commital. But it’s difficult, for reasons that I can’t entirely fathom, and that fact is depressing. Reading fiction has always been one of the most immutable and central joys in my life.
The problem surely arises in part from limitations of time, as well as the perniciously easy trap of video entertainment. It’s so simple, after a tiring, long day at work and commuting, to come home, get on YouTube, and turn on videos of British comedy panel shows, which I like a lot. In times past, I might have used that time to read a novel or short story, and I have been reading regularly at stolen moments during the day, but that’s much more likely to be nonfiction than fiction.
I’m trying to force my way into and through one of my favorite Stephen King novels, Insomnia, and I’ve been making headway, but find the reading depressing. This isn’t because of the content—it’s not a depressing story—but I just feel sad as and after I read. Some of this, I think, is that there’s simply no one currently in my life with whom I can discuss such things; I don’t really have anyone with whom I can discuss anything of interest or substance, and I see no candidates. The world is not a dull place by any means, but its people—or at least their level of discourse—seems to have become duller, more childish (in the bad ways, not the good), and more vacuous with every passing day. Sometimes despair is difficult to resist.
Oh, well, whataya gonna do? If anyone has any ideas about how I might break out of my funk (I’m already trying to set specific and strict limits on my video watching), please let me know. I’m honestly open to suggestion. You can leave a comment below, or tweet to me, or contact me on Facebook. I’d be delighted to hear from you.
In the meantime, Autumn begins this weekend, my favorite of all the seasons, bringing with it my favorite holiday (Halloween). My only associated lament is that the trees don’t change color in south Florida; everything is always green and lush and warm. Oh, well. As always, I suffer…I suffer…I suffer in silence, right?
Of course, right.
*Do blogs have ears?
**Is a hiatus that never ends strictly a hiatus anymore, since a hiatus is supposed to be a gap, not a border? I suppose a similar question could be asked about whether a chasm without another side can honestly, accurately be called a chasm. But let’s not open that can of wasps.