Saturday, May 3, 2014


My first attempt at prose fiction was a couple of pages of fantasy lit, something about a young person moving through the market place. He had a name that I made up and everything. It didn't last. I was rerouted into poetry and lyrics for a number of years.
    What I could call my second attempt revolved around a character loosely based on me. It was to be fantasy lit as well but with all the tropes of psychedelic subcultural urbanism thrown in. He may have made it into ten pages tops, but in my mind he was way bigger than that. He was my Hero. Young, curious, adventurous. That's about it, he wasn't fleshed out. No family to speak of, no origin story, just a boy in a context. The context was mostly empty urban spaces, loading docks and parking lots. I've discussed my fetish for those places in another entry here.
    Two young male characters, fleeting but satellited by feelings and associations.
    Since those guys, I developed a recurring character for my drawn narrative fiction. He's a little kid and maybe not really a he. He has a boy name, he has 'boy' in his name but I'm still not sure. Maybe just a little kid, gender aside for the moment. Now, I've been writing about myself, some memories, some attitudes and opinions and I'm not what one would call a young man anymore. I'm not an old man either. I'm in the middle, I'm middle-aged. I find that I think I've already exhausted my memories, at least the ones I'm comfortable writing publicly about. I've already decided to leave my sex life out of it, to spare the guilty and innocent alike. I've decided to not get into any hairy details about my family life. This writing exercise is more about practise and daily discipline than about airing dirty laundry, mine or not.
    It stands that I've made some small false starts with fiction, here in the context of this blog. I write a line or two, notice I am struggling and there is no ring of truth about it and hit delete. One reason is that I'm starting cold, I don't yet have some hero percolating in my brain. The two characters first mentioned lived inside me before they ever emerged. The next guy will probably take a page out of everyone's book, aborted teen fiction and graphic novel. I don't make up steady characters. I just dwell on attitudes and fragmentary moments. The next step may be to consciously build up a character or two, actually draft out somebody's life.
    The next graphic novel I'm considering may feature 'me', some floating bearded head going on and on about words and identity. But that aside, if I were to seriously try my hand at straight up fantasy fiction, I'd have to venture a bit further than my own front door. At least, I think I'd have to.
    This place is becoming my launch pad and scribble sheet. I am ordering my thoughts as they occur to me and doing so in public - meaning, in a place someone may stumble upon them, unlike in my indecipherable notes and stacks of paper.
    So here I find myself, a myriad of potential projects poking me with their will to live. The strongest ones involve drawing, either 'billy heads' or 'bunnies' without he text being mostly strings of absurdist bumper stickers, in-jokes that are clear to me and maybe inaccessible to someone else. Narrative tends to occur my accident and I'm wondering if that just won't work anymore. Maybe it's time to actually plan some sort of actual story, fill it in with action and characters and see how they improvise.
    It's daunting because it seems like work. I tell myself to just begin inside my head with scenarios but it's not happening, I don't make it happen. I may have to start writing things down somewhere else, secretly, and hope something gels together. I may have to start drawing panel after panel of graphic narrative and see what comes of it. These things make me worried and get me excited at the same time, but mostly worried.
    My fantasy is to pull off a solid young adult fantasy novel, like the kind I enjoyed reading, the kind I still enjoy reading. I just don't know if I have to cross the street to write it or if it's already written and I have to exhume it. And if I have to exhume it, which I feel is most likely, first I have to find where it's buried, and that may take some dirty work.
    I hope you'll follow me along for this ride. I cannot guarantee that the pieces to follow here will not be fiction.