Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One brain on ice, please

So I've clamped down on the start of this novel like an alien crab to the face of a Black Mesa scientist. The pages fly with godspeed and urgency since being introduced to the incredible Q10 program by that abysm of perfidy and obsequiousness that is David Barron. In that inky darkness of yellows and grays, surrounded by the clacking of an ephemeral typewriter, playing a veritable videogame of words (for this is what Q10 is), I am absorbed by the likes of demons, princelings, oracles and vanished oceans.

But I have a caveat, a caveat with the brains residing in my very head. For, utterly without instruction, they have set upon the quest of deciding the direction in which this novel is headed. That, of course, was entirely the opposite of my intention. My intention, to wit: to create something utterly aimless; something that would (might) arrive somewhere, with the very happenstance of life itself, and thus by its own organism be satisfied.

But my brains have other plans. They concoct, they contort, they direct and flay me forward to the conclusion that they have so quickly (in only two days' time!) found to be the penultimate moment of a story scarce begun. Curse them! Curse these brains.

Another problem I face is the assimilation of professional authors' writing styles. For the past few months I've been writing short stories, which allowed me to escape unscathed from this malaise. That I could finish a short story always before beginning a new book, I was never unduly influenced by more than one author at a time. But now, in the writing of this novel, there is a jarring battle going on between Mervyn Peake and Terry Pratchett, these spectres that the activity of reading has hinged to my internal space. These two wraiths of Jolly old England (Pratchett, granted, not in fact being undead, but possibly being a wraith nonetheless) now battle for the honour of my writing style: will it be terribly introspective, full of questionably delicious metaphors? Or magically comic, wonderfully evocative, simply erudite?

Either would be grand; but together they shall be a maelstrom of literary abortion.

Which sounds equally grand.

I feel that if I could only bore a hole into my skull and insert shredded ice, these problems--overthinking the project, overassimilating my influences--would cease. My thoughts would no longer percolate; my style would be like a sculpture of brass.

Alas... I am a creature of whimsy, a harbinger of doom.



  1. I'm a label now. My internet immortality is assured. Just for the record, though: My official adjectives are 'matroidal' and the anagram thereof.

    As for utterly aimless (a noble goal), I might use this opportunity to encourage by saying that you don't get to write "Time Enough For Love" without you've first written "Starship Troopers".

  2. According to Andy's Anagram Solver, there is indeed only a single anagram for matroidal.

    On a Heinleinic note: I've never read anything by him (for shame), though I zealously follow his writing rules, and at present have practically his complete works on order from the library.

    One day, David--perhaps one day soon--I will understand your maladroit allusions.

    ...scratch that. Your allusions are actually pretty matroidal.

    Hot dang!


  3. I would have used a Pratchett reference but I couldn't really think of anything Utterly Aimless he's written. He keeps to the point.