Glorious, glorious writing.
The one major upside to having no internet to distract me is that I could focus on writing almost all day, every day, for nearly a month. The downside is that it hampered research efforts and lead to a lot of ADD EXTRA DETAIL HERE reminders in my text. Extra details which I am now working on, hurray!
But what have you actually been writing, Wayne?
A novel! A bloody novel! Or maybe a lengthy novella. I'm near the end of it, so we'll see. I started writing a short story a looongggg time ago based on the 'myth' of Oedipus, who killed his father and married his mum then sexed her up. All I could find, way back when, was essays on it, and in my ignorance didn't realise there were technically three plays that formed an unofficial trilogy in the tale of Oedipus. But this last month, I managed to pick up a real-life book, with all three plays in, complete with its own fascinating notes.
Sophocles was a Greek dramatist, a contemporary of Aeschylus and Euripedes. He created the legend of Oedipus in Antigone, then provided the foundations in his most-known piece Oedipus Rex/King Oedipus, before allowing a tragic death in Oedipus At Colonus - though having no purposeful narrative link, save the character of Oedipus (they were not written as a true trilogy) they are rearranged by many into a chronology befitting the events in each play. Namely: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus At Colonus and Antigone (she is one of his daughters).
Although pretty much every translation/dramatisation takes some liberties with the language used (the nuances of Greek theatre are notoriously difficult to adequately translate into other languages), there is still a lot of excellent, raw material to play with (sorry, terrible pun, sorry). I enjoyed reading through all three plays and noting tons of lines, from simple declarations such as
O Holy Ones of awful aspect
to provocative statements such as
We have only a little time to please the living / but all eternity to love the dead
all of which are filtering into the novel in some way, shape or form. However, at some point in the past, before I picked up a copy of the Theban Plays (as they're collectively known), I ran out of steam with the story. I had an interesting setting (a suicidal town on the crossroads of time) and main character (a man, a wanderer, with a heavy past and desire to reach a particular future) but no real aim. Where was the man going? Why? What was the point of it all?
So it faded away, to join the ranks of many, many half-finished high-concept, but empty-plotted, stories.
Then, a year or so ago, I started writing a new story, about a man, also traversing a world ruled by 'new gods', who encounters a priest. This story was to be about apotheosis, a lovely old word that effectively refers to a person becoming a god. The traveller was the main character from my short published story Of Buried Truths (still available to read online HERE), a piece that many (myself included) felt like it needed/deserved some kind of sequel. This was to be that sequel.
But, once again, I had some strong concepts but didn't really know what to do with them. So it faltered and faded.
Then, a few months ago, when I was re-reading unfinished stories, seeing if there were any worth continuing ( a regular practice of mine inspired by my chum Jim musing on the idea of creative momentum) I suddenly realised these two separate stories could very easily exist in the same world. And if they did, why? How about if the man from the Oedipus-influenced story was after the man in the Truths sequel? But! What if that man became a female character...my mind was grinding along and a wider, deeper narrative took shape. One that takes the Theban Plays as its basis, without directly following or copying the events (so the main character isn't looking to kill his father, and isn't inadvertently related to his own wife) and applies ideas taken from quantum physics: time and space anomalies, alternate realities, duplication of the mind...
One idea I always like to touch on in my work is the fact that our world is governed by fundamental laws. Gravity keeps us on the ground, time moves forward, etc. What if something happened to utterly destroy or warp those laws? Could we, as a species, comprehend it? What if time became fluid, if geography grew fractured - everything remains in the same place, but the way you get there changes...? Heady stuff. And exciting.
So here I am, merging two separate narratives together into one plot, that examines time as a recursive wave, reality in a state of decoherence and the present as a state of existence that remains constant. All tied up with references (overt and otherwise) to ancient Greek tragedy.
I LOVE IT and I'm excited to get it finished and into other people's eyeballs. I'd like to try and shop it around once it gets to that point, see if I can bank on my old luck in finding a publisher. Otherwise, I may...may...try the self-publishing route. UNGH. Who knows? Life is full of mysteries.