So, all of my work for my first short story collection is done. It’s a weird feeling that my work is in someone else’s hands now, someone who enthusiastically believes in these stories and my ability to continue writing. For that, I owe my new friend, Mr. Barclay, an enormous debt of gratitude.
I haven’t talked about this process all that much because I didn’t want to find myself in a position of talking rather than doing, rather than writing. The state motto of NC, where these stories were written and where most of them take place, translates to: “To be, rather than to seem…” and I dig that. That’s what I’ve been trying to be about with this project.
So I guess I’ll talk a little about the book now:
The tentative title is YOU DON’T REMIND ME OF ANYONE, which, in all honesty, I stole from a brilliant writer who is one of the reasons I started doing this in the first place. Not the first time that’s happened, nor will it be the last. Who was it that said all art is thievery?
Anyway, my team was shopping the collection around to some small publishers, but somehow the book made its way into the hands of a much larger company. From what I am told, this part of the process could now take weeks, or even months. I don’t know and won’t know much for some time.
The book will contain between 11 and 14 new short stories, depending on who ends up publishing the thing. The themes are pretty typical of a new writer my age: growing up, losing friends and loved ones, losing and finding faith in various arenas in life, mental illness, drugs, dependence on technology, sex, love, hate, the balance between the two, leaving shit behind for years and then digging up the past to view it from a new perspective. There’s also an adventure 3 friends take after another of their friends commits suicide and leaves behind a ‘treasure map’ of sorts for them. I’d like to think I’ve taken some themes that may seem beat to death, and sprinkled my own fucked up fairydust observations and twists in there to make them seem more relevant and real to my generation, and more importantly my friends.
The coolest part, for me anyway, is I wrote this entire book, excluding a couple of rewrites, while on the clock at my day job. My way of sticking it to the man.
Maybe the coolest thing about all this is that it has opened the door for me to write and publish a novel next, which has been my goal since I started writing. I’ve had a few false starts on that, where I tried to write the semi-autobiographical crap every writer’s first novel turns out to be. Good thing I got all that out in the short stories, because now I’m thoroughly exhausted of digging through my turbulent emotional past, etc, etc, ad nauseum, and have set to work on a novel I think will be a lot more entertaining and will challenge me in some new ways.
I’ll be telling a story about two groups of people that in no way relate to my life, that don’t remind me of anyone in my life (see what I did there?), and that are engaged in a heated blood feud. They beat the living fuck out of each other in order to claim a prestigious underground title as the most prominent family in a world of traveling gypsy crime syndicates. The main theme I’m working with is that of loyalty to one’s self and loved ones, and the many circumstances which cause loyalties to change. Sounds fun, eh?
I got the idea from watching Knuckle on Netflix. You should check it out.
Anyway, that’s my super long-winded quarterly update. I have to give another shout out to my deadline-giver Steve for making this all possible, and to The Elephant’s Den, a tiny DIY lit zine that you should check out on Facebook and Tumblr. Without that zine falling into the hands that it did, none of this would be happening. Also thanks a lot to all my friends and family that bought the Elephant’s Den and supported a great publication and my writing. There aren’t too many of you, which makes me love those of you who did support in any way that much more.
Well, that’s it for now. Sorry for raping your pictures of food and star wars shit and hot people with a bunch of words.