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Bookends.

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My Pied Piper episode is coming in fits and starts, but it’s coming. Finally. It’s half, maybe more than half written, and when it’s done, book three of Sly will be about three quarters done. (I actually had the remainder all written but my thinking has changed radically in the last fifteen years.)

And so, with my novella essentially complete, book three near to it, I have a pair of bookends to a four volume series.

Who here considers himself to be a disciplined writer? Do you put in a set number of hours a day? Someone (someone famous) said his method of writing was: apply butt to chair and write. That may work for you, it doesn’t work for me. I’d be writing crap.

My style is – I think we all know it – style heavy. And I surf from one sentence or thought to the next. I’m not getting events down, to be cleaned up later. I do that sort of thing in fragments below the finished text. I drop down and plunder my notes as the spirit moves me. My file presently contains 95 pages, three quarters of which are my haphazard notes, and research material copied from around the web – in this book heavy on John Dee – waiting to be rummaged through. This mish-mash is as close as I come to an outline.

Bookends: I am going to publish my novella first, and immediately thereafter, to publish book three, the wrap-up. I will tack a synopsis of books one and two onto the novella.

I am moved to go this route partly by the announcement of the demise of Bookkus, all those high hopes! Heartbreaking! And partly by seeing the difficulty everyone is having gaining traction in the marketplace road race. I am ready to throw caution (and, probably, good sense) to the winds.

My attitude now is, to coin a phrase: Just Do It. The faults in my book are baked into it. No amount of polishing is going to change that; they are the essence of my storytelling. Every one of us has to stake a claim to a piece of literary real estate, and my flag is planted on ‘Whatever’.

A friend (not a writer) is reading my new material as I go, and says, and says, and says: you sure have a lot of story here. She means it in a positive way. She loves it. Others will say the same thing and it will be a criticism.

I do have a lot of story. One idea leads to the next. I expand and expand. A question occurs to me and I want to know the answer. If it turns out to be counterproductive to my goal I dump it, but frankly, this rarely happen. I almost always see value, for the next chapter, or fifteen chapters on, or way back in book one. Nothing goes to waste. My abundant hypotheses find themselves a home in some way, shape or form. Sooner or later. For better or worse. For richer or poorer/my bet is poorer. Till death do us part. I’m married to my monster. I’ll be adding to my silliness on the day I die.

How does the song go? Old friends, old friends, sat on their park bench like bookends. This story and me, we are old friends.

On one end of my park bench sits my novella. On the other end, book three, the wrap-up of my essentially endless adventure. Can’t recall the exact title right now, isn’t that terrible? I’m losing my grip. (Maybe I lost it long ago.)

I’m in the middle. Here I am on the bench, on the Group W Bench (W for Wacky/love Arlo, will love him forever) . . . back to S&G:

. . . old men (in this case an old woman) waiting for the sun . . . The sounds of the city sifting through trees settles like dust on the shoulders of the old friends.

Me and this old friend of mine, we’re going down together.

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8 thoughts on “Bookends.

  1. GD Deckard says:

    Thanks, Mimi. Life could be worse than to sit in Alice’s Restaurant, reading Sly’s adventures.
    I remember looking at lyrics on the back of an album. Not an album I recognized, it belonged to my dorm mate. When it suddenly hit me, this was poetry. These song lyrics were poetry! Modern verse. Simone & Garfunkle, of course.
    I love discoveries. And, something tells me, your opus will be full of discoveries.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I can’t help but think you have very clearly articulated what it means to be a traction-less independent author these days. We’re all a bit wandering and lost in the way you mean for it to be an adventure, not a cry of help.
    May the gods of back to back release shine on you.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. mimispeike says:

    A hint, GD: Sly will be giving Oprah-style motivational speeches to the rats: “Live Your Best Life, you morons. Life is a cabaret. Go for it. You deserve better than this.”

    He’ll be congratulating them on how intelligent they are (they are, according to my research). “You are smarter than dogs.” (True, pulled off Google.)

    “Your deficiency is not the brain, it’s the personality. You must work on your ability to connect with the humans. Show them how cute you can be. You are superbly capable of starring in circuses and doing all kinds of great stuff – way better than nosing around grain silos being hunted/trapped/ poisoned, looking over your shoulders every minute.”

    They’re teachable, very trainable. See the video on my FB timeline: a rat standing on his hind legs, soaping himself down in a shower. He stands upright with ease, appears to be comfortable doing it. Sly will be extremely jealous.

    He starts a rat charm school. His goal: every child in Hameln to adopt a pet rat. The mothers rebel. His plan backfires. The rats are hunted worse than ever. He’s going to try to save as many of them as he can. A good number of the children and their talented pets, turning somersaults, bowing, doffing little hats cunningly, run off to join the circus. No, the town is not emptied of its children. The thing is blown out of proportion, just like with the original story.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Mimi,

    First love the photo of GD and Curtis. They were cute kids. Ha ha.

    I totally agree with you on the writing process. I cant just sit my butt down and write. My brain doesn’t work like that. I visualize every important scene over and over for days and weeks changing something and seeing how it works. Once I get it right mentally, then I do another big scene the same way.

    At some point when I get time to sit my butt down, the scene flows out fairly easily and then the connecting scenes work themselves out until I get to the end of my scene bank. Then it seems like everything stops and I start mentally working on the next scene.

    It is a very slow process when combined with my lack of writing experience slows it to a craw. But it is what I do and since I am the only person I am trying to please and since it keeps me off the streets at night. It is working for me.

    rob

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Good luck, Mimi! Keep up the good fight! We all work away at writing in our own way. After all, if we were all the same we’d just be a bunch of cloned automatons cranking out the same stuff every day.
    Much like you and Rob, I work through plot and scenes in my head endlessly, hoping to find the time to finally sit down and write once they gel clearly.
    And you are quite right, rats are fairly intelligent. The problem is they lack the cuteness of their cousins, squirrels and chipmunks. (Actually if you look at cute squirrel and chipmunk tails closely, you’ll realize they’re just rat tails with lots of bushy fur!). Unfortunately, maybe because God made them the ugly ducklings of the rodent family, they’ve developed some nasty personalities which has resulted in their less than stellar reputation.
    Oh, and BTW, the quote you mention about applying your butt to a chair and writing is attributed to the late Clifford D. Simak, Science Fiction Grand Master and both Hugo and Nebula Award winner. He was also a journalist so wrote for a living in many ways.

    Liked by 2 people

    • mimispeike says:

      Thanks, DocTom, for this: Actually if you look at cute squirrel and chipmunk tails closely, you’ll realize they’re just rat tails with lots of bushy fur! Unfortunately, maybe because God made them the ugly ducklings of the rodent family, they’ve developed some nasty personalities which has resulted in their less than stellar reputation.

      This will be Sly’s goal with the rats of Hameln. He tells them they’re smarter than dogs, only lacking the cuteness. He’s going to train them to be cute. He says, Hameln is missing a good bet here. Turn the rats into an asset. Train them to perform tricks, in funny hats and collars, on the town square. The town has a Europe-wide reputation for rats. They can make big money off it. (How about a Christmas nativity scene, all rats?)

      Liked by 2 people

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