Five years ago! My social media guru back then (she eventually left the social media coaching gig after coming to the understanding how pointless and soul-sucking so much of it is) would be horrified to hear the number, particularly when that little factoid is coupled to the fact the sequel has yet to be completed, much less make an appearance. To which I’d say, chill out, girlfriend… it’s coming. Maybe not as fast as it should, but hey, been a lot of water under the personal dam (and other hoary cliches) the last five years: belatedly coming to the realization my little fiction wunderkind was not going to storm the literary world all on its own… my father’s passing and his estate’s messy settling… and the winding down of my nearly 35-year teaching career with consequent decision to retire, prompted by another grim realization i.e. all my bosses (I absolutely refuse to refer to them as superiors) had gone insane in their ideas about what constitutes sound educational philosophy. And let’s not even get into the dumpster fire that is 2020… plagues, infernos and other climate-change disasters, the shrill, demented worldwide chorus of discordant populist demagoguery/nationalism… gads, there are days it’s like we’re living the opening pages of Revelation. Yikes. Deep breaths, deep breaths…
Anyway, returning to one of the areas of sanity in my life. In the nine years prior to its publication in 2015, I wrote Gryphon’s Heir, a 186,000-word novel. It was never intended as a stand-alone, but the first installment in a longer tale… trilogy? Tetralogy? Dunno. The Muse has yet to inform me how long the story is. (And yes, I’ve asked. She hasn’t deigned to answer. She’s kinda standoffish like that, at times.) The sequel, tentatively titled Gryphon’s Awakening, currently sits at 178,000 words and change. Although, see, there’s a strange thing: it’s on hold.
No, I haven’t stopped writing. Several months ago, a very long time ago now, about last April (to paraphrase A.A. Milne), I was hijacked. I’d been minding my own business, writing Gryphon’s Awakening, thinking vaguely along the way about writing some YA or short stories with changed point of view just for something a little different, and this character unceremoniously popped into my head: a scrappy, 18-year-old girl named Areellan (ah REE lan) who plopped herself down beside me and in no uncertain tones commanded me to switch on my laptop and write as she directed. She didn’t say Hwaet!, but might as well have. 81,000 words and several edits later, I’m still listening… and she’s still dictating. And since she’s the one doing the talking, the story’s written in first person --- her perspective --- which I’ve never done before. (Strange how refreshing it is.) I’ve no idea how long her story is, or where she’s going with it. I’ve also no idea where she came from. Well, that’s not entirely true; at the time she appeared on the scene, I’d just finished playing a PS4 game with a young female protagonist, and her visual image resonated with me fairly powerfully. (Yeah… I game… PS4, Xbox… so what? Stop looking at me like that. I really like games with strong, well-written female protagonists.) Somehow, in a way I don’t fully understand, it allowed Areellan to shoulder her way up from the recesses of my subconscious, and she’s been beside me ever since.
And a couple of times a month, I crank out one of these little epistles --- this is my 188th blog post, incidentally, so, given I usually aim for a length of roughly 1000 words for them, I figure I’ve also written the equivalent of another novel in those five years. I used to do one every week, but that got a little untenable after a while, so now, I write (once again) more as the Muse commandeth. Sometimes she doesn’t provide a whole lot to go on: today’s post began with just two little words --- five years --- sitting naked and alone at the top of the page for quite a while, the cursor blinking impatiently behind them while it waited for me to get my poop in a group. But I started rambling, and before I knew it, here we are, that thousand words later, and --- whew --- literary collapse has been averted one more week. Today’s musings haven’t been quite as structured as I usually make them… as I said earlier, more just a personal reflection of where things are with me, writing-wise, at a rather arbitrary milestone during a very strange year… so, if you’re still here… thanks, Mom.