Saturday, February 23, 2008

Where I'm At And Where I've Been

I'm still here!


I've been doing a bit of blogging elsewhere or journaling in private. You get the shtick. But I'm back and I'm still here. And so, early this morning I'm coming around to give you an update to the quirky places I've been going as a writer in truly the past two months that I've not been blogging.

If you go back to the beginning. All the way back to the start of everything (well, everything in this blog) you'll notice that I said that this blog would be a starting point for me working on my Jack tale. That I would use this as sort of a dumping point while writing it. Then, as the months passed, my interests dwindled and it began to slide to other projects, short stories, the Rider, Hero of the Second City, and The Long Goodnight. Now, in my last few months as a student at Columbia College Chicago, almost one year after starting this blog, everything has come full circle (and full of unfinished and untapped story potential) back to the Jack tale. And the funny thing is is that of all the stories I'm working on and thinking about and kicking around, this one feels like it's got the most potential to actually finish itself.

So, for those just sidling into the bar now, and have no idea what the hell's going on, a quick recap. The Jack tale, in a nutshell, is the story of boy Jack, a kid from rural Virginia who, in his 8th year, his father dies. The men from the bank/child protective services deem his mother unfit (for reasons unbeknownst to Jack) and decide to take him away. Their car crashes, and through a series of adventures and misadventures Jack begins to make his way across the country, meeting a bevy of characters such as Cole, king of the Gypsies, Al Keeder (the green man), the immortal, and eventually making his way to California, where his two brothers are living and running a surf shop. Along the way he kills a few giants, grows up for a few years (maybe falls in love (not entirely sure yet)), and learns of this thing called the Treasure of America. And with that, I'll let you simmer over the juicy details and wonder how it will end.

I staggered back to this story in the wake of the brick wall that "The Long Goodnight" hit. It was really depressing. I was about 25,000 words in, and then BAM. Just stops. I lost the story, lost interest in the character, the narrative. It was just a big freakin' mess. And for the last few months I've been stumbling about over other stories, writing a couple short stories here and there that I'm really not all that proud of, and eventually one day while standing in the shower (which seems to be where I do most of my best thinking) The way to open the Jack story so poetically hit me.

"Jack's father died on the coldest day in December, half way between Christmas and New Years. The men in finely-pressed suits came in early July."

I've always had issues with trying to introduce a character by name. If I don't I'll refer to him by a feature or some other moniker. EG: Stranger, the Rider, the boy, Briefcase, The Driver. If you don't learn his name through what's happening, then you don't learn his name in the story. It's an odd fixation of mine.

Anywhoo I'm writing the novel completely long hand. I'm about 55 pages in, but there's been a hiccup and I think the last 10 pages or so are a complete misstep, and I need to rearrange the story inside the notebook. Part of me want's to barrel on through the end of this chapter and keep on truckin', but a better part of me knows I should go back. I just have to remember my idea. Well, off to the shower...