A coy observer of the title of this blog post will remember that back in November of 2018, I wrote a piece I called “On Endings and Beginnings.” This is an intentional juxtaposition of that title, and it is in no way, shape or form related to that little piece of Mental Flatulence. Quite the contrary: This is a rumination on writing, not life though some will claim that for many, writing IS life and vice versa. Never for me, though. Life is my daily, 9-5 gig. It’s spending time with my friends and family. It’s paying my bills, cleaning my house et cetera et cetera. Writing is a luxury. A desire? Yes. Oft times an obsession. It’s my pre and post-9-5 gig. It’s spending time with the characters in my head. It’s not money driven though there IS house cleaning involved. Editing they… Sh*t, I call it, and even though I have arguably the greatest editor I could ask for (booyakasha, Amy. RESPECT), I still have to clean up my own mess before I hand it off to her. Et cetera et cetera. So let’s talk about writing. Specifically? The ENDWORLD Series. A bit about how it started, and more about how it’s going to end. Not THE end (no spoilers; I promise). But the inevitable conclusion of what has, in many ways been the longest constant in my 45+ year existence on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence.
A casual observer will likely note that this post belongs over on the ENDWORLD site, linkable HERE if you are so inclined to check it out. Argument made. But this FEELS like a Random Musings post and not a book-related one. Anyone who knows me knows the story of how ENDWORLD came to be. It was originally written as a fictional autobiography… A reflection of my life at that time which drew upon three main inspirations: The Terminator movies, The Wonder Years and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Many, if not most of you reading this also know that what it once was is not what it is now. It grew… It evolved. It still retains remnants of what it once was but at it’s core, it is now so much more. It’s a rumination on spirituality. Love. Loss. Dreams and ideals… Goals not achieved because of selflessness. And most importantly? Sacrifice, and its importance because as Spock once said, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” William MacNuff, formerly Roland MacNuff is my tragic hero. He is me, but not as I am. He is me as I always HOPED I would be. That is what The ENDWORLD Series was, and remains now, a few years shy of 30 since I initially started writing it.
This year? I will finally finish the process that has been an ever-present part of my life for almost three decades. Yes, this year. I know this now. Not because I want to finish it… I don’t. As is the case with almost everything in my life I hate endings. I find it God awful hard to say goodbye. But I will finish it because I have to. I am beholden to MY better angels, and the people that care about me and that I care for to be done with it, once and forever all. Forever more. So this will be the year. Get your red pen ready Amy. Winky emoticon. Smiley face.
The knowledge that the end is only a couple hundred pages away makes me sad. There’s an emptiness on the other side of it that I simply do not want to face. Yet I have known for years… Decades really, that the key to unlocking all the other stories that have formed in my mind is to finish the first one. THIS one. So with a heavy heart and a reasonable, albeit not crippling amount of fear I commit to, and surrender myself to the inevitable. It’s true that the end has been written for some time. Don’t worry. I promised no spoilers and there won’t be. It’s also true that I’m not entirely convinced that everyone that has graciously bought, read and enjoyed the first two books will like said ending. But that is a chance I need to take. Because as I have said before, authors don’t write books. They are merely a conduit. A storyteller. Books write themselves. That was one of the first lessons I learned as a wannabee novelist 26 years ago now. But I hope… Nay pray that you understand it, and the rationale behind it when you have the final manuscript in your hands. Some of the greatest tales ever told have a questionable ending. Sad. Confusing. Aggravating even. To defy your instincts as a writer and “play to your base” is how some authors roll. But not me. I’ve spent too much of my life going with the flow. I can’t sell out on this. My apologies in advance. Remember: If you hate it… If it scars you, I’ll offer you a refund. That’s about as close to a money back guarantee is your ol’ buddy the Madchronicler can offer.
So? Let’s mark this moment for posterity. A bit earlier, over dinner I finished a read through of the first, and only 131 pages of the HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD manuscript. It is rough. Yet I did not clean my house. I did not break out my own red pen and edit it or make any wholesale changes. There will be time for that when the first draft is completed. I am picking up the story exactly where I left off. On page 125 (confused? Remember: The ending is written, and now you know it’s six pages long which, again, is NOT a spoiler). William MacNuff and a handful of his brethren are in a bit of a pickle, and it’ll be interesting to see how they get out of it. Even I’m a bit curious. You may be reading this right now and asking yourself why I’m blogging and not… noveling? Authoring? Writing. A little known fact about the original HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD: I paused at roughly the halfway point for around six months. I was bracing myself for the eminent race to completion. True to form, I’m doing it… I DID it again. Not stalling. Committing. Resolving to complete the story that I so desperately want to keep telling. But everything has an end, and The ENDWORLD Series is no different.
I’ll leave y’all with this as a “thank you,” not just for reading THIS blog post, but for reading all of my musings and stories over the years. Mind you that this is relatively unedited (albeit redacted to avoid spoilers per my earlier vow), and only a small sampling of what is to come. But if you haven’t read CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD? I’d look away now. These words could change but… well? Here it is. The beginning of HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD. Book Three of The ENDWORLD Series. By Frank Marsh.
PROLOGUE – Forward
Time present, and time passed are both perhaps present in time future, and time future contained in time past. If all time is eternally present all time is unredeemable. What might have been is an abstraction remaining a perpetual possibility (T. S. Eliot, Burnt Norton).
The sea has no memory.
I’m not sure where I heard that before. Some pre-Administration author or poet wrote it. Someone whose name was lost along with so much of what existed before. I stand here, my tarnished boots in the sand, staring out over the endless expanse of water that stretches out to the horizon before me beneath a gray, late Fall or early Winter sky. Not a dreaming python, and not deadly if you provoke it. But peaceful the way it undulates hypnotically before me. Somehow… someway I understand, and I close my eyes and feel the way the chilling, sea breeze blows against my cheeks and whips my long, mostly white hair out behind me.
The sea has no memory, I whisper to myself, and feel a moment’s respite from the nagging pain of hunger in my gut and the way my mind drifts like a fallen leaf, or a piece of wood upon the water. I open my eyes. It is hard. More difficult than it ever has been before because I am tired. So tired. Time has passed. I am unsure of how much as time has no meaning here. A day… a week… a month, year, decade, century or millennia is infinite. Forever. Everything else dies but time? It marches ever onward like a dutiful humachine, it’s only purpose to taunt us… it’s only meaning to give a vague, sense of structure to the All. In the end? Laughable. “Only to die, as all must in time, the demise of a fool to fact.”
Remelius Vincent really knew his shit, sarcasm fully intended.
* * *
You know who I am. You know my name. You know where I’ve been, the things I’ve done, all I’ve lost and what I’ve gained if you’ve followed me this far. For the unindoctrinated, my name is William MacNuff, and I have been many things in my life. But what am I at this juncture, as I sit here once again by candlelight, writing these words in shaky longhand on a faded and yellowing piece of paper? I wish I knew the answer to that question. Perhaps you can assist me with it as I endeavor to tell, and likely finish my story because although there are relatively few constants in this place save for time, or the lack thereof (depending on your perspective) one thing is undeniably true…
This is the end. My beautiful friends? The end.
Jim Morrison really knew his shit too, no sarcasm whatsoever intended.
Goodnight and sweet dreams all. Time to go. There’s novelling/authoring/writing to do.