1. Are you WRITING ANYTHING?* And if so, WHAT?**
2. Are you ever going to finish KES? Is it ever going to be available to buy, either finished or unfinished, but maybe preferably finished?***
3. Are you ever going to finish PEGASUS? I know you don’t do sequels, but surely the ending of PEGASUS isn’t the end. Please say yes.
4. Is there a sequel to . . .
Here’s the short form: Yes, yes, yes, no.
Here’s the slightly longer form&:
[NOTE THAT SODDING WORDPRESS HAS AN AUTO-NUMBERING DOOHICKEY THAT I CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO TURN OFF WHICH FURTHERMORE EFFS UP THE TYPEFACE AND IT IS NOT AN O’CLOCK THAT I CAN ASK BLOGDAD, AND YOU DON’T WANT TO WAIT TILL TOMORROW, DO YOU? SO NUMBERS IN THE FOLLOWING WILL BE WRITTEN OUT, AND IF I COULD DROP-KICK WORDPRESS OFF THE FRELLING PLANET I WOULD. I HAD ENOUGH TROUBLE FINDING AUTOCORRECT IN WORD TO STOP IT WITH ITS FRELLING AUTOMATIC FRELLING BULLET LIST HELPFUL PIECE OF ARRRRRRRRRRRRGH.]
ONE. Yes. I’m writing something. Its working title is ONE YEAR DIARY. But . .
I don’t know when I’m going to finish it, although by my standards I think more like sooner than later—but ‘sooner’ may mean 2020 rather than 2030. This is McKinley.&& Sigh. I would write faster if I could.&&& And a much bigger but . . . it’s a hell of a grim story. It’s not like anything I’ve written before. It’s not something I want to write, but it’s what is presenting itself to be written, and that’s the rule of my universe: I write what wants me to write it. I think it’s worth writing . . . I’m not sure what I’d do if the History of Twinkies or The Saga of the Purple Unicorn or something presented itself . . . but it’s not a jolly groovy good time with chocolate sprinkles. Or unicorns.
But I’m so glad to be writing again. I can’t begin to tell you. A writer who isn’t writing isn’t alive.
Why this or any story is presenting itself to me now . . . well, as previously observed, it hasn’t been a good few years, including for my writing. SHADOWS came out in 2013, a few months before Peter’s first stroke, and I kind of shut down. Peter was himself to the very, very end, but he was an increasingly sadder and quieter himself and I . . . didn’t cope very well, either privately or professionally. I managed to keep going with KES a little longer because of the gonzo relative freedom of doing it for free in 800-word chunks that got pinned up in public before I could get too obsessed with rewrites or story arcs or continuity or any of that sober professional writer stuff, but even that mail slot from the story council eventually stuck closed. I haven’t written anything worth mentioning in over five years. I’ve got frelling notebooks of fragments%, but nothing that would stay and play with me.%% Just many splitting headaches of staring at an empty screen. Till DIARY. Two years since Peter died: I started coughing out bits on the computer in December and waiting desolately for this story to leave me too . . . but it hasn’t. It’s put down roots and started demanding increasing amounts of attention. Yaay.
DIARY will also be the first story since DEERSKIN that Peter didn’t read first. His fingerprints are all over my subsequent books—there isn’t a one that he didn’t have perceptive comments about—and some of you may remember that he came up with the title ROSE DAUGHTER, for example, and SPINDLE’S END would be some other book entirely without my frequently-baffling-to-an-introvert-only-child encounters with the Dickinson clan. But it’s not even specific suggestions%%% or experiences so much as being able to rely on him to read honestly—knowing too that he believed in my writing and was coming eagerly to any new thing I offered him—and to give me his viewpoint as someone who really got my work but saw it from a fully, wholly, thoroughly different perspective from my own.
I’m not looking forward to doing without that this time.$
TWO. Part One of KES . . . is FINISHED. Really. When I said a paragraph ago I haven’t written anything worth mentioning in over five years . . . well, I did manage to dodge around all the slavering, multi-fanged anti-writing monsters with small handfuls of KES words. Lots and lots of guerrilla-dashing across monster-patrolled borders. These literary [cough cough] spoils I then set up on safe ground, stuck together and gave a brush and polish. And KES will be PUBLISHED. Details are still being worked out but watch this space. I think what will happen is that I will hang a few sample episodes for people who either didn’t read it the first time or need a little refreshing and reminding of the particularities of that lunacy, and then add one or two or three new episodes which leave our heroine in an EVEN WORSE situation than she was in the last episode on the old blog MWA HA HA HA HA HA. . . and then if you want to know what happens YOU WILL HAVE TO BUY THE BOOK.$$
At that point I’m hoping to get started on Part Two . . . it’s not a sequel! There’s no sequel about it! It just goes on! Because, you know, the end of Part One is a little . . . disturbing!
Which is an excellent, evil-cow sort of way to end Part One of Answering Ask-Me-A-Question(s). Because, of course, the answers are taking me longer than anticipated . . .
* * *
* Besides the blog.^
^ Listen, I wouldn’t have started the blog again if I weren’t writing something.+
+ But I’m getting ahead of myself.#
# Footnotes are like that.
** I could count this as two questions. But I’m not going to.
*** It amazes me the number of people who are apparently willing to spend money even if I don’t finish it. You are wonderful, kind, gentle, generous people and are too soft to live, and I worry about you.
& I know I’m a cow, but even I’m not that big a cow.
&& This is McKinley running out of money. It better be sooner rather than later.
&&& I’ve been saying this for forty years. BEAUTY came out in 1978.
% Including a second Miri-and-her-hellhound story, speaking of not doing sequels.
%% I’m hoping that DIARY is opening things up generally, and some of those fragments will play with me later.
%%% Which I mostly ignored anyway, as suggestions. It’s one of those things we totally got about each other: the UTTER REJECTION of an actual suggestion . . . but the critical boost or twist or tickle of something someone you trust has said, that you think . . . No. Wrong. But . . . um . . . I can use that. I’m not sure how yet, but I can use that.^
^ He could also be an appallingly bad reader, as he would be the first to admit: I read it too fast, he’d say. I had to know what happened. But then he’d read it again.
$ I have a large articulated lorry-load of stuff to take up with God about this when I get to heaven.^ The simple version is that there should have been two Peters: the one that married his first wife and had four children, and stayed married to her because she didn’t fall ill and die AND the one that I married who was my age so we had some hope of going out more or less together, or at least having more than twenty-five years together, or, more importantly, more level playing field years together, because he started getting old a lot sooner than either of us expected. His first wife had thirty-five years of Peter at the top of his game. I used to tell him he owed me thirty-five years too—and before this became too much like reality I used to tease him that if that meant pushing him around in his wheelchair I could do that too. So what’s the frelling doodah deal. Why was it this way?
^ Remember: we all get there, it just takes the axe murderers longer. I’m not on the fast track, but I’m not an axe murderer either.
$$ Which I’m hoping will keep me in books and yarn and hellbeast food and organic olive oil for the inner and the outer me, till I get DIARY done.