A Pseudo-Madman Rings in the New Year

Leave it to your ole’ buddy the Madchronicler to write something about the new year two weeks after it started. For those of you that don’t mind my tardiness, Happy 2013! I will make for you the same wish that I made for the entirety of my Facebookverse and Twitterverse two weeks ago today: May you all have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year filled with new experiences, new opportunities and well, just new stuff. Just think, if you were my Facebook friend or my Twitter buddy you’d have gotten that greeting pre-this moment. Am I saying that you should friend me/follow me? Only if you want to. But I’d be happy to have you as a compadre on either. That said…

Believe it or not, my delay in writing about the new year–something I have proverbially done both publicly and privately for as long as I can remember–is not a result of procrastination. I was just discussing this with a friend/vendor of mine. Generally, I approach each new year as a new opportunity. But this year, I’m looking at things a bit differently, which could account for my “meh-ness” about it, too date. You know: “Meh.” As in I’m really just ‘kinda “meh” about 2013.

Don’t get me wrong. Some of my own, personal “new stuff” is really cool. Por ejemplo, I’m beginning the new year for the first time as the father of two daughters and not just one. I’m ringing in the new year as a husband of eight years and am entering the twelfth year of my relationship with my wonderful wife which, once upon a time, would have seemed an outlandish boast for me of all people to make.

2013 also marks my eighth year at my current job. Those of you that have been around for a while may remember that my eighth at my former place of employment, CVStress Pharmacy, was also the year that I was promoted to Store Manager. And while I can honestly say that I don’t see a life-altering promotion in my future at my current job, and I’m still two years away from the hypothetical tenure that, per my football and politics loving boss, marks the proverbial point of employment demarcation beyond which I can never lose my job, not even if I curse him out and call him something unsavory. But considering that none of the handful of people that previously occupied my desk lasted more than a few months and I’ve been here almost eight years, I’m doing pretty well. At least I hope I am.

There are other, less monumental firsts that I could include herein but to do so would be excessive. My point? I remain the living and breathing facsimile of a smiley face that I’ve been for the better part of the last decade plus, and I should be excited about 2013. I should be looking at it as a time of new opportunity and should not be “meh” about it. Why, pray tell, am I so disinterested in the days, weeks and months ahead?

The answer to that is simple, really: If I were told to describe my life in no more than two words and no less than one on this damp and dreary morning in mid-January on my side of the proverbial wormhole of existence I would say “status quo.” Yep. Status quo, defined by the Free Online Dictionary as, “The existing condition or state of affairs.” That’s it. I wonder if those of you reading this are as underwhelmed as I am at that definition.

All together now: “Oooh. Aaah. Smurfy.”

Don’t get me wrong: Status quo pays the bills. It keeps us determinedly moving forward with our lives. But does it lead to sublime happiness? To the fulfillment of dreams? Generally, it does not. Generally, it leads to… well, “an existing condition or state of affairs” and while that is not necessarily a bad thing, it is not enough for me. It never has been. If you know me, you know that dreams are a big part of who I have always been. That said…

What to do? It’s not fair to me or the people that I care about… hell, even the people that I don’t care about to toil away as little more than a walking, talking head for the next 350 days… as little more than a curmudgeonly prophet of “meh-ness,” even if I am grinning 90% of the time. That’s not how I roll. So how can I break free of this burgeoning state of mind before it becomes all encompassing?

Brace yourselves, because this is the part of this blog entry where I start writing about what I’ve been doing/why I haven’t written a word since a few days post-Christmas. Yes, I’ve been “meh” but despite that, or maybe because of it I have been thinking. A lot. About life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, my own subjective universe and… all together now… everything. I haven’t just been playing picnic with my daughters, reading “A Memory of Light” (Book Fourteen of The Wheel of Time for those of you keeping score) or playing “Final Fantasy Tactics” on our new iPad though admittedly? I have been doing all three. I started by debating a few, potential ideas. I then cross-referenced them with things that make me feel alive. The following list, for better or for worse, is what I came up with…

DISCLAIMER: These are NOT New Year’s Resolutions though they may sound like them. I do not do New Year’s Resolutions. This list is exclusive to me, and it is a road map, potentially showing me how NOT to be a prophet of “meh-ness” in 2013: 

1. Lose Weight: It’s no secret to anybody that knows me that I’m not exactly svelte. I never have been. I’ve been fighting those dastardly, overweight demons since I was a little kid and I’ve never once managed to drop below an above average weight for my height and my age. Said aspect of me has been a point of ridicule in the distant past but lately, it has just been me, as in “he’s Frank. He just is.” Am I satisfied with that? Not entirely. A few years ago I managed to drop 40 pounds and I’ve got to tell you, it felt great (please don’t take that last statement as my auditioning to be the next pitch man for Weight Watchers or “The Biggest Loser”; it wasn’t intended as such and if you could see me right now, you’d understand why).

But in the intervening time since I’ve put the majority of that weight back on. So I could go on a diet and attempt to drop down to my ideal weight–a goal that I missed by only 10, measly pounds back in 2008. It would make my PCP happy and I might be able to get off the High Blood Sugar medicine that I’ve been taking since September of last year. It would also make me feel more alive; more vital.

Will I? Probably. I generally let my post-holiday gorge (otherwise known as me, building up an extra layer of insulation for the forthcoming winter) continue through the Super Bowl and after that, I go on a crash diet. I don’t publicize it. In fact, this may be the first time I’ve even referenced dieting on “Random Musings of a Pseudo-Madman,” version 1.0 or 2.0. I anticipate the same in 2013 but will I manage to reach the goal I fell short of last time and stay there? Only time will tell, I guess. But I’ll do it, if only to be able to keep up with Cara once Spring and Summer roll around. That said…

2. Be a Better Father: Okay, so this one is debatable. I mean, I think–I don’t know for sure, but I think–that I’m already a pretty good one. I have my moments when I doubt myself. The nights that Cara won’t eat her dinner or go to bed without a struggle? I’ll admit that I get visibly frazzled. The times when Natalie won’t stop crying? Yes, I’ve simply put her down in her bouncer, or on her play mat and walked away. That’s what we’re supposed to do as parents, right? Granted, that eminent sage of parenting wisdom Harvey Karp never said so (sarcasm fully intended) but what’s the alternative? Shaken Baby Syndrome? A child that has a complex about being yelled at by the time she turns one? No thank you. I’ll take walking away and taking a few deep breaths over a kid that despises me before she’s old enough to walk. My kids smile a lot and I like that. Smiling is > Bawling.

But still, there is room for improvement. There always is. And save for the third item that I’ll be rambling about shortly, there is nothing in the world that makes me feel more alive than spending time with my girls. So how can I be a better dad? Admittedly (and some reading this might take exception to this), I have modeled my parenting style not after what I read in “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” or what Harvey Karp claims is appropriate but after the combined styles of my mother and… yes… my father, otherwise known by many reading this as “The Biological,” “The Deadbeat” and my own personal favorite, “The Sperm Donor.”

My mother is easy: Hard love and hard work; teaching my daughters about responsibility and accountability, even at an early age. She still sets that example for me and my sister too this day and I already use it to a certain extent with Cara. But my father? “The Man I Once Called Dad” as I wrote in a previous blog entry? (linkable HERE in case you’re interested)

Admittedly, he wasn’t really around long enough to have much of an impact on how I parent. “Around” meant every other other weekend for a time and, after a while, every other month, et cetera and et cetera until he became the equivalent of a non-entity in mine and my sister’s life. In truth? The time that we spent with him in the rundown shacks throughout Northern New Jersey that he called “home” in the late 1980’s the early 1990’s, eating off of hotplates and frequenting lower Manhattan via the Staten Island Ferry or the subway were, in my opinion, a textbook example of how not to parent. You would never catch me dead taking either of my kids for a leisurely stroll around East Orange, New Jersey, not even on a Sunday morning. I mean no offense to any East Orange-ites reading this but unless something has drastically changed since the mid-1990s you see the truth in my words.

But despite my sometimes disdain for the man and how he eventually turned his back on his biological children–that’s not a misrepresentation, guys, he did; my sister and I turned our backs on him only after he did us–I did learn a few things about being a father from him that I can not deny. The first? Father first, friend second, but be a friend. Share your interests with your children and encourage them to do the same with you. The second? Impress upon your children the importance of and appreciation of unconventional pursuits like literature, art, et cetera and et cetera. As my now-Father in Law–a man whom I respect above most other men in this world and also, to some extent, model my fathering style after–would say, push them to do something productive with their lives that will make them financially viable and stable, but “make sure they have a hobby,” be that hobby painting, singing, reading or…

3. Write, Write, Write:  Admit it: You saw this one coming. How could you not? It’s the thing I talk about the most in these blog entries and it is, in fact, what I’m doing right now. What, you thought I was composing this via some sort of psychic, alien transmission ala “The Tommyknockers?” (holy sh*t; I think I just won the award for “Most Obscure Literary Reference of 2013”) Last year and the year previous it, I vowed to write a book. Not just any book, but the book. The one that I wrote when I was a teenager and an early adult. I successfully achieved that in both 2011 and 2012 but sadly, I was unable to achieve the addendum to it last year: Finish it and get it published. At this moment, “Endworld – A Novel” still sits completed but unpublished on my computer at home. It awaits a final edit; it awaits feedback from the people that I got copies of it too. All these things? If you’re reading this right now you know them. I’m not going to rehash them because quite frankly (no pun intended)? I’m tired of doing so.

I’ve seriously considered just doing it these last few weeks. The software is installed on my computer at home and it is ready to go. Just a drag and drop and a click on “UPLOAD” and wah-lah! “Endworld – A Novel” is self-published on Amazon.com via the Kindle Readers Lending Library.

So why wait? Why procrastinate? Because I told myself that I would not publish it until I was confident that people would be able to read it and enjoy it. Call me a perfectionist… I’ll admit that I am. But I’m not going to take the easy way out. I will not put Frank Marsh’s version of “50 Shades of Gray” where anyone can read it ’cause at this time? That’s really all that it is: An unrefined story. Input breeds refinement, and without it, my novel is no better than a “novel” written by an 18 year old, lovelorn kid that originally conceived of a formulaic cross between “The Wonder Years” and “The Terminator” starring an alt-version of himself, and the woman he pined after at the time. It doesn’t deserve to be published, yet.

I wrote version 1.0 of “Endworld – A Novel” for me. It was my way of coping with the indelible fact that I could not and never would be with the woman I thought, for a time, I was in love with. News flash, guys: I wasn’t. I was, as a wise man once said, “in love with the idea of being in love.” In hindsight, I see that now but then? I was young and stupid. I’d watched “Say Anything” one too many times. What I feel for my wife and my children, now, is real Love with a capital “L.” it’s spiritual. It goes deeper than anything else I’ve ever experienced… ever. What I felt then? I don’t want to say that it was a crush because despite my posturing to the contrary it was something more than that. But the real deal? Nah. No contest. Still, I fabricated a fictional reality–“Endworld”–in which I–William MacNuff–was with her–Maria Markinson. If you didn’t know that before now? Well, there you go. See? I’ve always been slightly mad, even before this blog.

All together now: “Oooh. Aaah. Smurfy.”  

But version 2.0? I wrote that for a different reason. Despite my motivations for writing version 1.0, I always believed that it had a certain something that would appeal to an audience. Something about humanity’s capacity to love, and how it set them apart from their robotic overlords. But I also saw it, even then, as a starting point for something much, much larger: My own Wheel of Time. I wrote what I wrote in 2011 and 2012 with those concepts… those ideas in mind and all indications so far point to the fact that while I’m closer to my goal than I was, I still haven’t achieved the broad appeal that I’m looking for. The “Wow Factor,” if you will. If I revisit William MacNuff’s world in 2013, I will revisit it with an eye towards that. Sadly, that’s a big “if.”

It’s not that I’ve moved on from “Endworld – A Novel.” I haven’t. It would be irresponsible of me to do so after I put so much time and effort in to it. And I love that world. Despite what some have said about it being too reflective of other fictional realities it has a little something in it that is purely me. And do I believe that I will one day publish it? Yes. I do. But I cannot allow myself to remain tied forever to one idea. I have others, you see. Other worlds that I want… that I need to tell you about. Some closer to home than others, actually.

That beginning? While it’s not the beginning it is beginning (thank you, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson). 2013, guys. The year that your ole’ buddy the Madchronicler finally wrote and completed something that wasn’t tied to William MacNuff’s story. That’s my vow. Mark your calendars ’cause I’ll revisit this resolution in a few months. If I’m no closer to writing something else? Well sh*t. Maybe I’m not as much of a writer and storyteller as I always thought myself. I don’t want to be a… cliche alert… one trick pony.

Maybe my “meh-ness” is a product of my hesitance. My incapacity to let go of one idea and embrace one of the many others that I have. Fact is? I know I need to. I wouldn’t be a very good writer if I didn’t, would I? But “Endworld – A Novel” and its subsequent sequels, formerly entitled “The Endworld Chronicle” have been the center of my creative universe for almost 20 years now. Even when I wasn’t actively working on them I was thinking about them… thinking about how I could improve them… grow them… make them more. The expansive outline that I have for Books Two and Three and potentially beyond is the product of that time. Time spent thinking. Time spent revising and re-revising in my mind. Other than my family, is there anything I have thought about as much? No. Not even close.

But there comes a point in every life where one needs to move on, whether from something simple like an idea or something larger like… well, like one’s biological children (that was not a veiled attempt at a dig but rather, a very obvious one). I’m blessed that for me, it is merely an idea. I’m pretty gul’darned happy with everything else from my job to how “A Memory of Light” ended the epic Wheel of Time to how far I’ve progressed in “Final Fantasy Tactics.” I remain as I was x-amount of paragraphs ago: A living and breathing facsimile of a smiley face. I’ve been that way for the better part of the last decade plus and that smile? It is widening the more time I spend my my wife… the more time I spend playing picnic with my daughters… the further I progress in to 2013 and beyond.

Being “meh” doesn’t mean being miserable. “Meh-ness” can exist concordantly with happiness, believe it or not. Hell, I wish I’d known that 20 years ago. That said, my place is here. Not there. “Endworld – A Novel” is a product of the there despite how much it has changed. My other ideas? They are a product of the here, and I think that it is one of those ideas that I’m going to roll with in 2013. One of the smaller ones. Not the one I wrote about a few entries ago that is a cross between The Book of Genesis and Asmiov’s Foundation Series. I’ll get to that one, but I think I need to complete something a bit less ambitious, first. Maybe a couple more short stories. The last one I wrote, despite it’s being rejected for publication, gave me a new taste for short form prose that, apparently, I’d sorely missed (considering I have about five short story ideas running through my mind, currently). I don’t know, guys. It’s a bit of a mystery.

So for now, I’m still “meh” as morning segues in to afternoon here in lover-ly Royersford, Pennsylvania. I light mist has begun to fall outside though I can’t see it directly through the feux-mural of a forest that adorns the brick wall to my immediate right. I’m going to get back to the grind that I’ve been slaving away at for the last eight years. Happy New Year, all. Fare thee well until next time and remember: This is not the ending. There are no endings to the Wheel of Time. But yes, it is ending. Or maybe that should say “an…”


New Beginnings

“It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.” (Leonardo DaVinci, NOTEBOOKS)

It’s funny, really. In life, beginnings have never been an issue for me. Until recently it was endings that I had a problem with on my side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. Things never ended properly, be said things relationships, friendships, stories, et cetera et cetera. The only thing that ever seemed to end well for me was employment and that’s due primarily to my 13 year climb up the CVSStress hierarchy from cashier to Store Manager. In truth? The only reason that ended well was because I ended it before they could. Had I stayed much longer I likely would have been forcibly removed from my position and replaced with someone younger and cheaper. Instead, I got to leave on my own terms and I will never regret that fact. No sir. Never.

Now, seven and a half years removed from that job and seven plus years embedded in another I can honestly say that while I never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, for the moment I feel relatively secure in my current position and do not foresee a poor ending to it. Of course, I am writing the beginning of this blog post (like how I did that?) while at work and my boss has been known to terminate people for reading during their down time. I’m not sure what he’d do if he found out I was typing up something other than a heat exchanger quote. Maybe I shouldn’t take that risk. Then again, my options are rather limited at this juncture, and I’d rather exercise my mind while sitting here in silence than let it atrophy due to inactivity. Yes, I am that caught up and we are that dead right now. I’ll take “the lesser of two weevils,” Captain Aubrey, and stimulate my brain a ‘lil bit.

Back to beginnings. I’ve never had much of a problem beginning anything. Consider “Endworld.” “Endworld,” for those of you new to these ramblings, is a book that I originally wrote when I was 18. I rewrote it in my mid-twenties and then re-rewrote it last year. It is in the capable hands of a collection of beta readers and an editor, now, and for the most part, I am awaiting feedback before I re-re-rewrite it and attempt to publish it (so beta readers–you know who you are–please get on it! I’m counting on your feedback). Only two aspects of it remain virtually unchanged from when I first sat down in front of my old, powder blue, Royal typewriter in the summer of 1993 and typed that “it’s difficult to remember a time when my life had meaning. When you’re 18 and on the run, the only meaning your life has is surviving from day-to-day. Any other meaning my life had vanished that day upon the beach.” The first is the battle scene at the end of it but the other? The words that I just quoted and the rest of the Prologue. Everything else has gone through a dozen or more permutations over the last 19 plus years but the Prologue… the beginning is pretty much the same save for a few grammatical changes, word choices and consistency inclusions.

I have  compromised portions of my original vision of a cross between “The Terminator” and “The Wonder Years” to make “Endworld” less formulaic and more appealing (besides, Fred Savage hasn’t really been relevant since 1993 though congratulations are in order: He and his wife did just have another baby). I’ve also taken formerly benign characters and turned them in to Shakespeare quoting sociopaths, but one thing that I have always vehemently refused to change is the beginning. Call me sentimental, but those words mean a lot to me. They were the first words that I ever wrote in anything other than a term paper or a book report. In essence, they triggered the love affair that I have had with writing since. They were the reason I chose to study English and not Computer Science, or something that guaranteed me a well-paying career post-college. Initially, I had hoped to see them published sometime in my twenties but life got in the way. Now, at 37, I still desire to see those words… that beginning published if for no reason other than that: Sentimentality. There may be other reasons, which is the same way as saying “there are other reasons” but I won’t address them herein. Those belong to me and me alone.

Beginnings. In my writing, I have written many beginnings and very few endings. In truth? The only things that I have ended other than “Endworld” are its two sequels, a handful of poems, an even smaller handful of short stories and many, many blog entries/pieces of Mental Flatulence/Dissertations. While that may seem like a lot to many of the people reading this trust me: When you compare that output to the amount of stuff I have started but never finished the amount of stuff I have started but never finished trumps the amount of stuff I have finished two, and maybe even threefold. FACT: I have no problem conceiving of an idea and beginning it. I can even go 50, and sometimes 60 pages in to it. But seeing that idea through to its ending? Its fruition? That has always been a struggle for me, which puts me in an incredibly unfamiliar position, currently.

You see, for once I have a big idea unrelated to anything that I’ve ever attempted to write before that I can see a framework for and, amazingly enough, an ending to. But the beginning? It is one big, gray cloud of Huh and it is threatening to remain so unless I figure it out stat. For once, beginning is my issue, not ending. In my subjective universe on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence a precedent has been broken. Cue the sarcastic “oohs” and “aahs” from the peanut gallery. I deserve them.

I’ve asked myself on many occasions since I first conceived of this idea why? Said inquiry in to my own, personal psyche has led me spiraling in to a deeper psychoanalysis of my own motivations or lack thereof. Yep, guys. This is going to be one of those blog entries. You know, the ones where I exhaustively talk about myself and likely alienate a good segment of you. Feel free to look away now or re-navigate back to The Curious Case of Our Elf on the Shelf, Jingle for less psychoanalysis and more entertainment. I won’t hold it against you. But if you choose to read on remember what I wrote on my ABOUT ME page: “I write what I feel like writing when I feel like writing it.” Sadly, that sometimes results in something less of an essay and more of a… what? A journal entry? Am I that girl in “The Breakfast Club” that dumps her… I mean his purse out on the couch and forces his problems on the Jock? Maybe I am. Whatever the case, you have been warned.

In continuance, I’ve always assumed that the reason why I can begin an idea but not finish it is because I will never be able to finish anything else until I finish “The Endworld Chronicle” as it was once called (I have no idea what I’m going to call it now). But at this juncture, that answer seems a bit forced. After all, what makes “Endworld” so special that it somehow holds me back from writing anything else? At its core, it’s a pretty simple love story set against the backdrop of a dystopic, future world run by machines. Not exactly ground breaking. What, as Lee Ermey would have said, “is [my] major malfunction!?”

A few weeks ago, I wrote a rare short story which I submitted for publication to a worthy cause. The story is called “The Day of Final Departure” and “Endworld” didn’t hold me back from completing it. Nor has it held me back from writing this blog entry, the one before it or the dozen before it, the Customer Service Manual that my department uses and… well, okay. That’s about it but again: Not a bad sampling.

Quick parenthetical aside: Information on the worthy cause that I submitted “The Day of Final Departure” to can be found HERE. I’ve touted this ever since I decided to do it and I will continue to do so, even though I still do not know whether or not my story will actually make it in to the planned anthology. I advise any writer out there reading this, amateur or otherwise who consider monetary gain secondary to… well, just writing to check it out. If anything, it’s a neat little exercise, the proceeds of which go to a very good cause. Ask yourself: Do I write to be recognized or do I write because I f*cking love writing? I know my answer. What’s yours? End parenthetical aside.

In essence, then, this whole idea of “Endworld” holding me back seems to be something deeply ingrained in my personality that I feign to distract people from the real reason why I begin things but never end them. It’s the same reason I start a game like “Diablo III,” get through the first two difficulty levels and stop playing before I can take on “Nightmare Difficulty.” I get busy at work or with family and friends. Or I get bored. Or I get distracted. Or I get lazy. Or I get in to a television show. Or I et cetera, et cetera. You get the idea. FACT: I find an excuse. If I ever have any intention of being anything more than a Monday through Friday and every fourth Saturday Joe Schmoe that dreams big but doesn’t actively pursue anything that might make him more… make me bigger I need to stop finding excuses and, like Nike, “just do it” regardless of the consequences to my sleep or my television viewing schedule.

Which brings me back to my initial issue. How should I start this new, big idea that I have? And how can I maintain my interest throughout the writing of it? Well, the latter is easy. I just need to train myself to not get distracted and be like Mike (veiled, Nike reference). But as for how to begin it, I think the cue is in “The Day of Final Departure.” Said story is a pretty simple concept and if you want to read a copy of it, drop me a line and let me know. I’m not overly concerned about plagiarism since the story has already been submitted for publication. It’s about a guy named Finn Drummond who awakens one morning in the late autumn of the year 2215. His apartment is empty and he is packed for something but you don’t know what. He continually refers to it as his “day of final departure” but you don’t find out what that is until about three quarters of the way through the story. I don’t want to reveal much more herein for fear of spoiling the surprise if and when it is published but the long and short of it is this: Finn decides for personal reasons not to depart. He embarks upon a personal quest in to his past while at the same time he embraces his future. The story ends at the exact point where I believe the novel or the novelsneed to begin. But how to begin? What words to use?

Beginnings. Words. My favorite author Stephen King wrote a series of novels of his own about one character’s quest for the Dark Tower that sits at the center of not just one proverbial universe on one side of the proverbial wormhole of existence but at the center of all universes. I’ve read everything from “The Lord of the Rings” to “A Song of Fire and Ice” to “The Wheel of Time” to “The Incarnations of Immortality,” and I can honestly say that King’s tale is my favorite of all of them. It all begins with his beginning: A simple sentence that kicks off the first book, “The Gunslinger” and sets up everything that happens over the course of not only that book, but the six… scratch that, the seven (I forgot about “The Wind Through the Keyhole”) that follow it:

“The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed.”

From the get go, the reader is introduced to the primary antagonist and the primary protagonist of much of the series. You not only get the characters but you get the setting and you get an incredibly large plot point from word one: The Man in Black is running from the Gunslinger. As for why he is running and why the Gunslinger is chasing him, you find out over the course of not only the first book but the other books, as well. As Stephen King proved, beginnings and how they are worded are crucial, and admittedly? I modeled the beginning of the Prologue to “Endworld” after the beginning of the Dark Tower. “Endworld’s” introduces not only the main character to the reader, but the mentality of the main character–a life without meaning–the fact that he is on the run and lastly, the fact that once upon a time…

‘Cause all good stories begin as such…

…his life did have meaning. But said meaning “vanished that day upon the beach.”  What happened to him? That information is revealed throughout the course of the novel via flashback before the Epilogue ends in the same place that the Prologue began. I desire to do something similar with the beginning of my new idea. Something simple yet revealing. Something worded like this:

“As the vast emptiness of space closed in around BLANK (I haven’t decided on a character name or gender yet) and the 179 other souls suspended in stasis in the cargo hold of the Magellan, BLANK dreamed of the life he (or she) had left behind him (or her).”

It’s a good beginning. A strong beginning. Cue BLANK’s dream which will give you a broader look at the setting that you merely got a glimpse of in “The Day of Final Departure.” Much of the beginning of this book takes place in a dream state because lets face it, guys (and this is all that I will reveal): If you’re in stasis travelling trillions of miles through space toward a destination a couple dozen light years away there’s really not a lot to do. Don’t get me wrong: There will definitely be amenities for the 180 passengers to take advantage of en route to wherever their destination is once they wake up but the ship within which they are travelling is more ark then Carnival cruise ship. No shuffleboard or deck pool on this baby. Practicality rules the day in 2215.

Some of the more hardcore science-types among you might be reading this and saying, “wait. Hang on a hot minute. Are you postulating that in 200 years, we’ll be able to travel trillions of miles through space?” To those people let me respond with a resounding yes. Yes I am. Whether you believe that humanity will have that technological capability in the early 23rd Century or not is irrelevant. Science Fiction predicts but doesn’t always get it right. For every “Neuromancer” that successfully predicted the World Wide Web a decade before it even existed there’s a “2001: A Space Odyssey” that mistakenly predicted we would have bases on the moon and be flying manned missions to Jupiter in the year… well, 2001. The joy of Sci-Fi is looking at the science that exists currently and extrapolating a future per it. If your prediction is right you’re considered a visionary. And if you’re wrong? You’re still considered one. No one ever critiqued Clarke or Kubrick for being wrong. Rather, most people stated and continue to state that “2001” is the greatest Science Fiction movie ever made despite the fact that it didn’t really get much right. That said…

Beginnings. New ones. There’s nothing like the rush you feel when you start something new. Whether a relationship, a job, a story or something else, beginning is a blast. As I sit here at my desk, staring out the window at the gray and chilly morning beyond it, I look forward to beginning this new idea. I’d do it now but I’ve dawdled long enough and am very, very leery of being discovered doing something other than spec’ing out a directional valve by my boss. In conclusion? I just need to sit down and “do it.” All other concerns will, I hope, fall in to place around it. If you’ve read this far thank you for, once again, joining me on another journey in to the dark and sordid psyche of the Machronicler. Maybe one day this blog entry will be looked back upon as the thing that deepened my steamy, two decade love affair with writing. Or, perhaps it’ll go down as yet another inane, substanceless rambling by a 37 year old Sh*thead. Either way, it always feels good to write something, even if said something could potentially be construed as little more than me, dumping my proverbial man purse out on the couch for all of you to see.

Have a good one, guys.

The End (like how I did that?).