Soon there will be a separate blog/website for Apocalypse Nation, and soon there will be a free download of the first fifty pages, but for now, here’s the opening paragraph. Tell your friends, Apocalypse Nation is on its way.
Jack Brinn tucked his backpack under the seat and fastened his seatbelt. He scanned the list of in-flight movies. One option, The Infected, seemed a strange choice for a plane bound for the United States. It was a run-of-the-mill zombie movie starring Lucia Galley, who rose to fame by playing herself on Cheese Steak, a reality show about life in Philadelphia. Lucia Galley had been dead for two years. They hadn’t found her body. Only her left leg, below the knee. A personalized yin-yang tattoo near her ankle provided identification. In the movie, Lucia fought off hordes of zombies with nothing but her wits and whatever weapon was at hand: shotgun, nail-gun, sharp stick, lighter fluid, etc. In reality, she’d died, security footage confirmed, trying to scurry beneath a rack of dresses in a small boutique in Miami. In The Infected, the undead came from nowhere to bite and eat. People were infected and turned or captured and eaten, no middle ground. The undead plague spread like lightning. Within a few days, a week at most, the streets were empty and the population of the United States was seemingly reduced to three: Lucia Galley’s character, a nameless child found hiding in a meat-locker, and a dog named Dirk portrayed by a mop-headed mutt often seen dog food commercials. There was no way to stem the tide and several hundred million died. Who the undead fed upon after they’d harvested the living remained a mystery. In the film, the undead were quite difficult to kill. Whether they were sprinting or moseying or stumbling, a few well-placed bullets rarely put them to rest. Why the military couldn’t help contain the undead expansion, or how the undead managed to down helicopters and force battleships aground was never explained. The zombies were soulless, inhuman creatures without basic cognitive capabilities, but they called forth the apocalypse. Lucia Galley’s character never faced any infected friends or family. The undead couldn’t talk or reason or plead. They didn’t plan or cooperate or care for each other.
The undead that caught Lucia Galley in the boutique were different.
So I’m at the stage of drafting that requires a great deal of focus and trust. Without laser-like attention, I feel this project could run off the rails at any moment. If I lose trust in the process, the whole thing could come to a screaming halt. If I allow doubt to weasel into my head and linger, I could easily doubt the draft into a drawer somewhere where it would never see the light of day and never be finished. I felt some of this today after a few awkward sentences. I felt it last night as I compared my messy handwritten draft to a polished and exceptionally written new novel. It is, for me, the most precarious moment in my writing life. This is me insisting to myself that I should continue writing, even when my own imagination isn’t living up to its harsh demands.