Although my major writing project at the moment is Apocalypse Nation, my zombie story, it hasn’t been moving as quickly as I’d like. When I started, I thought, “Oh, a zombie book. I can crank that out.” But this summer has proved that for me, no piece of writing moves quickly. That’s probably one of the reasons I’m forty-five and don’t have a book yet. Waaaayyyyy toooooooo ssssslllllooooowwwwww on the page. Or maybe it’s a case of suddenly switching “genres.” I’d always considered myself a literary writer (whatever that means) and suddenly I am trying to write something more commonly associated with the horror genre (whatever that means). I’ve never read zombie books and have only a passing familiarity with the conventions of the genre. Of course, I thought that would make it easier. I wouldn’t be bound by any of the rules, man. I’d pave own asphalt. Or something. Turns out, I have the same struggles as I always do–character development, POV, plot. I’d grown really frustrated with the story by the end of July and had stopped working on it. I even took a few day jobs moving furniture so that I didn’t have to think about it. I had a major existential struggle over a zombie book. If I couldn’t finish it, did that mean I was done as a writer? Was I writing a novel “true” enough for my standards? Would this mean I could only write zombie books for the rest of my life? I seems so silly to even note at this point that I hadn’t even finished this manuscript and I was already worried about how it would affect the rest of my writing life. How about I just keep my writing life on the page I’m working on today, okay? Fortunately, I got over myself. I switched POV from first to third and the whole story shifted and came into focus. It means more work (I was 150 pages into the story) but I think it will open the story up in many fascinating ways.
I turned forty-five at the end of July and Gail bought me some art supplies. I’d been making noise about learning to draw so that I could make my own graphic novel version of The Aurora Project. TheAP is my last manuscript about the end of the world and mankind’s renaissance. I worked harder on that book than I’ve ever worked on anything. I think the prose is really strong and the story really intriguing. Still, I couldn’t get anyone to look twice at it. It is a strange, unwieldy book, though. I knew it’d be a hard sell. I mean, it takes place over six thousand years. There are four sections divided by about 2k years each. So, it’s sitting in a drawer. Earlier in the summer, I read Maus and Persepolis and I started thinking of TheAP in terms of its major images. I’ve never been much of an artist, but I can see the book so clearly. So, thanks to Gail, I’ve started drafting some of those images. Chances are, this is just something that I do for me, but if I’m going to be switching genres, finding my way into creative spaces for the sake of adventure, I might as well go for it. I’m hoping that the next forty-five years of my life sees me living in a number of different creative spaces. Thanks to my lovely wife for getting me started.
Below are the first two pictures from The Aurora Project drawings. They are images from Part One: Landing.