You know that moment where you are at the cusp of something real, where you are wonderfully comfortable and still, where everything seems almost as it should be? You know that clear sense of purpose where you know what you need to do, where you know exactly who you are, where you think there could be nothing more to life? And then you know that shift, where it slips, where the edge is not as it was, that was just there and then not? And you know how you are suddenly out of it, where you are just as you were, as before, not sure about anything at all, least of all who you are?
“The thing is we live in an upside world where the only law is our eventual demise.” Stuebing was trying to look wise in a stupid way and it almost worked. “We pretend like we’re trying, but we just can’t handle that basic thing.”
“We think we matter. And we don’t. We never have.” He toed the corpse and watched the foreleg flop back. “It looks like it’s asleep, but it ain’t. It’s just dead.”
I have written in a variety of formats – non-fiction, short story, novel, screenplay, poetry – and learned gradually that my form is the narrative trilogy.
An early novel, Faster, written in 1994, is an autobiographical piece centered on Buzz biking from London to Morocco. And while there was an arc, it was incomplete.The character was left hanging, adrift. And there had to be something next.
And so I wrote Through – Buzz now traveling across Canada with his young family. I knew almost immediately that the work was a bridge to something else.And Out was clear from the outset, Buzz systematically losing everything he could – money, family, health – until there was nothing left, just Buzz, and that was the end. All of it together was Buzz, which became a template over the years, leading to my present work, the science fiction trilogy Anori.
The first draft of The Sacred Whorewas written in Paris (Spring, 1987) & Saturna Island (Fall, 1987). I walked down the road almost every afternoon to the lighthouse to see the passing Orcas and only ever saw the local seal. I wrote the second draft in the basement of my mother’s house in Toronto, printed it, after a mother month-long edit at my family cottage in Ahmic Harbour during the 1988 Canadian Election debate (John Turner, Ed Broadbent and Brian Mulroney) on a dot matrix that took over seven hours to complete. I wrote the screenplay in San Francisco after watching David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, as a housemate, Lisa, muttered, “That was just fucking weird”. The novel was my first and last piece accepted for a full read by an agent, only to have no response in the end.
I realize now, after over a thousand blogs, that you should know more about me. I have been trying to write for as long as I can remember and, except for winning story-writing contest in elementary school, always failed.
As I wrote a couple of years ago, I began series of stories in Grade 5 on the Super Secret Spitball Society (SSSS), chronicling an underground gang who spat spitballs at random people. My English teacher, Mr. Bacon, wrote only one remark: “I hope not if it’s more of this, C-.”
Mr. Bacon had Andrew McIntyre read his exemplar aloud, the story of his family visiting Niagara Falls. It was good. I got that, and I realized my work was stupid and childish.
I attempted my first serious work, Vile Illuminations, in high school, and got six pages in before giving up that ghost.
In the continuing quest for inspiration in writing my science fiction book Aqaara, I was recommended the graphic novel series Saga by Brian Vaughn and Fiona Staples.I was most interested in its apparently profound treatment of sexual themes and imagery, and yet was disappointed to realize that it is neither thought-provoking nor titillating. The work is nothing more than a morass of simplistic morality propped upon a landscape of superficial sexuality in which – surprise! – a transgender character recently appears. The story-line is vapid, the dialogue interminable to say nothing of the farcical content. But worse of all are the references to the authors’ own process themselves, their love of books and killing off their babies. Which they never did and really should have.