For me, this has been a difficult year - and yet I have persisted, keeping my claws locked in the edge of the cliffs time and time again. Fortunately, my actual life and my writing life have coincided strangely. When I don't feel well, my protagonist has difficulties, too. When something goes right for me, my hero has a good day, too. It's eerie how that alter ego keeps me going. But I suspect many writers role play a happier life (or, at least, a more invigorating life) through the fictional personas they create. Am I right? Am I?
So 2018 began for me with the finishing of the second volume of my vampire trilogy. Any Book 2 of a trilogy exists because something was not addressed in Book 1. And Book 3 follows automatically once the decision has been made to take the plunge into a 2nd volume after a so-called stand-alone novel fails to wrap up one or two crucial issues. So I did that, and launching Book 2 of the Stefan Szekely Trilogy was a pleasant diversion from the run of the mill runs around that old mill.
But seriously, then Book 3 stared me straight in the face, demanding what I would do for an encore. I said, "Here, hold my Merlot goblet." And promptly ratcheted up the rhetoric and the horror. For what could be more horrible that to be forced to commit evil every day lest you be punished? Everyone hates you for that daily act of evil yet you must do it or those around you whom you care for will suffer. It's an unpleasant conundrum. How to escape from this situation? Ah hah! And so Book 3 was born and shall be available soon enough (yet not so soon that you wouldn't have time to read Books 1 and 2 first). As with previous years, I went to China to teach a class in the summer and spent a lot of my free time alone in my hotel room typing away on the latest book.
Besides the day job, that is what has occupied my time and attention for the bulk of the year. Except for the NaNo - the National Novel Writing Month - which I elected to indulge in by finally writing my autobiography. You know: finally a chance to write down all those little anecdotes you remember being told about when you were a baby or a toddler, and the adventures you remember from your elementary school days, and the first inkling of puppy love in junior high school.... Oh dear! I sense I'm getting into "spoiler" territory so I must cease. Well, it remains unfinished, as most good autobiographies are until the author ends it with a good whack or a doctor's note.
So what else did I do in 2018? You can look back through the blog posts of this year, down by count from previous years. As mentioned in a blog post or two, on too many occasions, when I planned to post a light-hearted entry about nothing important at all, something horrible would happen in the real world and my blog post seemed even more frivolous, so I did not post. I don't think the problem was my posts but, rather, the things people do to each other. What work of fiction can stand up to the reality we often face every day? It almost makes the writing of fiction a delicate luxury: a place to hide, or an escape into a mental landscape - which is good for a time, yes, but should not be a permanent condition.
Alas, as with every end of the year, the optimist I keep in my shirt pocket pops out his little head and grins precociously as if certain the new year will be nothing but merriment and mirth. I wish always to agree. And yet, as we so well know, it may not be. In each of our corners of the world, or in our own little neighborhood, try to take care of each other, share stories, be less suspicious and ready to wield weapons. Talk - for that was the reason the great Rhetoric was invented. Words are not sticks and stones; they're made of phonemes, which are soft and squishy and slide right off us unless we pin them to ourselves.
"Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow."
-Weekend Update sign-off, Saturday Night Live
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