Friday, June 11, 2010

The teachings: from Mario and Egon

I think it's always funny when the hero says "I don't believe in prophecy," in reply to someone that just told him or her what will or won't happen because of predestination. Because the character is a construct, a grouping of ideas, a made thing. They don't believe in anything, not really. Whether they're right or wrong, whether prophecy, in their context, functions or not, has already been predetermined in and of itself. I think to myself: "you poor foolish idiot. Don't you realize the princess is already in another castle?"

The writing group went well last night. My gut's confidence is restored. The group liked my story, fairly unanimously, using words like "tight" to describe the condition of the story having very few and minuscule places where the body bends strangely or gears where the transmission catches. It does everything I wanted it to do, and does it well enough to start thinking of the next draft as the final draft (and the next draft after that). Which is what I thought, so go me. I even have some emails to make in regards to marketing and such; maybe I'll explain that later.

In other news, the novel is not going so well. I have yet to conquer the laconic urges that consternate its being put to paper, and during my thinking times, other stories are crowding in and sapping energies that would be best used on the project I've "committed" myself to. I wonder at my plan, and if it's a good one. After all, what would it hurt to just stop one project and go to work on another? Does the current story have enough momentum to come back to? I think of it as a bit of a circus: one performer is riding several bicycles at the same time by pedaling on one and then dexterously jumping to the next. My fear is that if I jump from this story, when I come back to it, it won't still be in motion. It'll be back behind me, sideways against the ground and no longer part of the show.

I believe the sagely advice was "don't cross the streams." And I take it seriously. I can see the disaster almost before it happens, feel the calamity with the hairs on my forearm standing on end. Yet, I think to myself: "maybe it wouldn't be as bad as predicted." I wonder if I could be different, if I could defy the careful strictures I have applied to myself because of experiences in the past, frayed bits of nameless stories and strands of plot, unrecognizable even to the mind that conceived them. 

So, this is a jumble I'm going to have to unravel, I think, before I take any significant steps forward. Last night I told the group about my sci-fi novel idea, its details and trappings as I had thought of them. Many, many more are required to create what I have in mind to make. It isn't a complete idea, and yet it dominates my wondering. This morning I whispered the prologue. My hands walked themselves to my keyboard, and for a brief moment, I wondered if maybe I was that hero. And if I could succeed where so many others had failed.

Ironically it's a much more, seldom-told story where the old man in the tavern, gray beard and wrinkled face rasps, "I was a hero once. I didn't believe in prophecy."

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