I guess I’m blogging again? It’s been so long that I couldn’t immediately remember how to create a New Post! A bit of habit, faded into the forgetting place.
The world is a complicated place, and life is complicated at the moment. It’s easier to write about things that come naturally to mind. Unfortunately right now, my mind is pretty self-centered, so this is what you get. Lucky!
Here’s the thing. I’m five months into living in a new country, and still trying to find the kind of job that can keep me here. I need to be kept here. I see myself headed toward a cliff at a rate so steady it has no mercy. The cliff drops off at 7 months, and after that, there is nothing. I really can’t see anything. If I have to leave Australia I’m going to be a completely resigned and kind of nothing-person, and maybe I’ll live in some small landlocked town and find a job that computes with absolutely no one’s idea of success. And I’ll be happy there because I will have given up entirely on the idea of success, maybe I’ll just spend all my time reading books and the news and writing stories and going into the woods on weekends. It actually doesn’t sound so bad. Maybe Colorado. Maybe, I don’t know, maybe someplace even more unassuming, like Nevada.
But right now I’m in love with Sydney, I’m in love with it, and that love makes you kind of wretched because even if you see yourself headed for a cliff, the love means you can’t just roll there limp-handed, you have to grab at things, at anything you can, instead of thinking about Nevada.
My book just came out recently and this is where my head is at. It’s a serialised set of short stories, which, I guess when packaged together become something of a novella. It’s called Prolongment, and the first two parts have been released online through Curiosity Quills. There are sixteen parts, and a new one is being released every Monday. Hurray!
I quite like Prolongment. It’s a science fiction ghost story, basically about a research center turned corporation (B&E Labs), that is attempting to finance their research by providing a pretty exclusive service wherein people can have their consciousness extended past death. There are a lot of facets to the story, and a lot of people looking at the situation differently. There are investors and regulatory committees and journalists and legal problems and a touch of violence, infighting and so on. While it’s a bit ghost-y and scary in places, I think it’s really just about a city of people trying to deal with this weird situation, a world where ghosts are entirely real and the threat of time paradoxes are actually quite plausible.
Yes, there’s a bit of scariness and ghost-iness. But was really intrigues me (and I feel this way about sci fi and fantasy in general), is when philosophical problems are put to the test by being made real. What does it mean to have a body, and how would being body-less change the way you think? What constitutes a person? What does it mean if a ghost doesn’t have the experience of death? For something quite real-world relevant, what happens when a company produces and then markets a technology before society is actually equipped to deal with it? If the past can be changed, what happens to the old version of the future?
I can be awful at marketing. It’s not a lack of knowledge, just a passionate disinterest. But I’ll do the best I can.
Ideally, I would just write, and then hand my writing off to someone else, and they’d take care of all that nasty publishing/marketing stuff. And then once in a while someone would ask me if I want to talk about my book or read from my book and I’ll say sure! Because that stuff is fun.
But there’s a gap. Right now I have to pound on doors. A lot, a lot of doors, and convince strangers that my book is a worthwhile way to spend their valuable time. I don’t necessarily feel worthy in this regard. You could be reading my book, but you could also be watching The Wire or something. I hear the writing on that show is great.
But I very much want to be read by others. It’s the scariest and most gratifying thing there is. I wish I could get others to read my book and my stories just by being a really really really good writer, but alas, that’s not how the world works. You have to throw your hat in the ring and say “Listen, I’m the boss of this ring, and you’d do well to pay attention to ME.” I’m still working on this.
When my friends do amazing things like write screenplays, or make movies, or produce albums, I’m always right there, liking and sharing, listening and reading and watching, giving feedback if I’m asked to give feedback. I love when people send me their stuff. It’s a life affirming thing. It’s a mutual confirmation that we are here to do more than shit and breathe.
I love writing. I love writing in its essence so much that I didn’t think about being published or being a “writer” until long after college. But I still wrote, constantly, because that’s me. If you took that away from me, there would be no Grace. Just a face that looks like Grace.
Writing fiction is the best conversation I could ever have with the world. Blogging or journaling is different. It’s clamoring around in a messy backyard and picking up bits of detritus with a poker stick. It’s just me.
But writing fiction is going outward. It’s a challenge. It’s my grubby baby brain fingers reaching for everything brightly colored and weirdly textured. It’s a big brainstorm sesh with the universe, where I’m standing at the markerboard feeling so alive and the universe is sitting in a desk looking back at me. I’m saying “Hey, is this right?”
and something comes back to me saying, “Yes, this is right,” or “You’ve got your shoe on the wrong foot, Grace.”
It’s hard to balance everything right now. I’m scared and sort of angrily optimistic about the rest of my life. And as far as promoting my book and submitting my things for publication, I realize that’s a pill I’m going to have to swallow if I want to be a real-ass, low-down writer. Because I don’t want to spend my whole life with just the universe and me, talking to each other. I want to pull you in, to put you in another desk nearby where you can pass notes.
I’ll be writing forever, you know. No matter what. Even if I do end up a burnout in Nevada. What I’m saying is that I want you to read, and that opportunity will always be there. I just hope you like it.
You can start here! (marketing!). Prolongment is published every Monday at CQ. Enjoy.