My great project for 2011 is to write a novel. It won't be my first novel. In high-school, I wrote my first, called "Tangents" which, naturally, was about my life in high-school. A lot of angst, a lot disconnect, a lot of disillusionment. Need I say more? I think the manuscript still exists inside a manila envelope in a closet somewhere.
I began my next novel when I was twenty-one, fresh from my travels in the Mediterranean. I called this one "The Charioteer", recalling the famous bronze statue one may see in the museum in Delfi, Greece. In this novel, the reader follows the adventures of the narrator who meets up with a strange, largely silent figure, who moves from site to site in Greece seeking some undefined reconciliation with a long last past. Is he, in fact, some reincarnation of a Bronze Age warrior? And is his quest a worthy one? Cue in the Twilight Zone theme music...
Life intervened. Completing university. Getting a teaching job. Losing a teaching job (over-enrollment). Moving to British Columbia. Getting married. Starting a family. Yadda yadda.
Until finally that little angel on my shoulder (good or bad--hard to say...) finally convinced me that it was time to start writing again. That was back in 1994.
I began writing plays at a fairly furious pace.
Encouraged by my sister, I took the bold step (bold for an introvert, anyway) of actually producing one of them in 1998. More plays, learning how to sound edit and produce radio plays, performing. Dabbling in short stories. More and more short stories as time went on. And finally, in the midst of my research, stumbling upon the character of Wernher von Braun.
I'd heard of von Braun before. I grew up in the 50's and 60's and images of rocket launches were burned into my neurons, but I never really "knew" von Braun until I began digging, and one thing led to another and suddenly I had tons of notes about the man and his times. Eventually it transformed itself into a stage-play which I called "Rocket Science". Almost got it produced, but it can be difficult to get all the pieces into place for this kind of thing. So then I converted it into an audio-play. Turned out pretty well, but only received local distribution on our local cooperative radio station. And, anyway, who makes money on audio drama nowadays?
By this time I was tempted to "let go" of the von Braun thing all together, but I couldn't somehow. His ghost was always in my thoughts. I was haunted by the man. He just seemed to cry out for other means of expression. Gradually the idea of the novel began to form. And in my novel, I decided I would grant von Braun's lifelong wish--to fly into space. In the novel, which I'm calling
"Lunatics", von Braun becomes the Lunar Module Pilot of the last lunar mission, Apollo XX.
So, I guess, this is primarily what this blog will be about: watching me struggle with getting it all down on paper. Writing chapter after chapter. Encountering the dreaded "writer's block", confronting the dragons of Insufficient Conflict, Poetic Overkill, Over-technical Exposition and who knows what else?
And armed with only a keyboard, Wikipedia, a file folders full of notes!
I would love for you to join me and welcome the moral support. (I suppose I could endure a few heckles too.)
Onwards and upwards!