Saturday, May 26, 2012

Untitled. Very Untitled.

So I'm gonna start using the blog as a sounding board. Throw ideas and thoughts out there, and such.

"Oh yeah? Is that a good idea, you think?"

I don't know. Don't really care. Let there be songs, to fill the air.

"Uh, what?"

Sorry, lost track of things for a second there. But see, also, at the same time I'm gonna keep all my, er, devoted readers updated on the progress of the new novel.

"Wow. Just . . . wow. Let me tell you, the excitement levels are ripping holes in the roof."

No, but it's interesting. Really. See, I'm writing an (or is it a? ah, screw it) historical fiction novel on Bodhidharma. But it's not gonna be your typical, boring, stodgy brand of historical—

"Didn't you already go into all that in a recent blog post where you used all sorts of unnecessary foul language? Where you were, uh, sort of talking to yourself, just without the quotation marks, which for some godsforsaken reason you've used this time, and which as far as I can tell is a desperately waving flag that whatever crazy mind disease you've contracted has crossed some effed-up line of no sane return?"

Yep to all of that, whatever it was you just said. And I think I've done the whole "talking to myself" thing before. But back to the novel, which is coming along nicely for being envisioned just a week ago. My notebook is filling with scribblings at a frightening rate. I've also got a couple thousand words typed down in a doc file called "Daruma," which is the Japanese version of Bodhidharma's name, and what Bodhidharma will be called throughout the story by those close to him. A nickname/not-nickname, if you will. Just because the modern Japanese language didn't exist at the time doesn't mean it doesn't work. This is fiction, people. You'll find out about the name early on in the novel.

"Wow. Sounds . . . exciting. How long's this thing gonna take you to finish?"

A while. Maybe a year to completion of the final draft. My wife and I have a nineteen-month old daughter, and I work at a day-job, so I write and research when I can, usually long after the sun's gone down while everyone else in the house is asleep. Plus, I'm addicted to reading fiction, and it cuts into my writing time.

"Excuses, excuses."

Good ones, too. Well, most of them, at least. Dad/husband is my number one job. But when I start reading a good story, I'm hooked. But no regrets. Whether it's contemporary or classic, fiction or non-fiction, each book read is a learning experience. In "Daruma," I'm thinking of including three or four "flashback" tales of the Buddha's most famous encounters with Mara. But I'm gonna do 'em in the fashion of Trickster tales, a la Coyote. Mara will be a pivotal figure in the novel, perhaps consuming more scenes than Bodhidharma himself. Mara's daughters will also play parts.

"Yeah, great to get to know you personally, you jackhole. And how you doing with the historical aspect of things?"

The what-what-what-now?

"You know, the research portion of this great big project you're working one?"

Oh. That. Yeah, I think my reading of non-fiction is going to skyrocket in coming weeks. I shudder at thought of the boring historical facts that will soon be filling my head, but I'm sure I'll learn something, which is always a good thing. But the book's not just about events that happened 1600 years ago, even if those events shaped the modern world. This is story. This is humor. This is myth. This is knowing/not-knowing. This is life.

"Knock it out, son. Just knock it out."

You're right. And in honor of the first encouraging words you've ever "said" to me, I'll leave you—me—us—everybody—with some sweet, mellow tunes . . .

Lyrics | Grateful Dead lyrics - Ripple lyrics

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