Ξ November 20th, 2007 | → 4 Comments | ∇ UNBOUND, BOUND, and my other creations |
“It’s been a long time coming…”
I recently came across a letter dated October 1988, with the demand “Finish your book!” inscribed on the envelope. I’d already been going on about this story for quite some time, you see. And Denise had heard quite enough about it by then, as had my family and my friends.
“What’s taking so long?” was the common question from all of them, at one time or another (usually more often than that). “Well, I’m easily distracted,” was my usual reply. That response didn’t sit at all well with them, I’m afraid. Most people don’t seem to have this problem, although in today’s ten-second attention span world, they can probably relate.
But my writing habit needed 10-18 hours a day to satisfy, and between socializing, sleeping, and especially work, it was impossible to get more than a couple of hours in, which was only a tease for me. It takes me that long just to get warmed up and started! So I determined to give myself over completely to my Muse, who demanded no less than full cooperation. I signed her contract, and she never let go.
Seven years ago, I pried myself loose from literally everything, and moved from San Francisco, my birthplace, to the great Northwest, where I was in completely foreign territory, and not knowing a single soul or contact. In fact, I’d never been to the area at all!
Thanks to a small inheritance left me by my parents (to whom the novel is dedicated), I managed to juggle finances and property in order to subsist on a minimal “expense account” (such as it is) and have spent the intervening years with no income creating the final and subsequent drafts, and polishing the manuscript with attentive, detailed, and loving care.
It’s been more than a little scary, at times. I’ve probably gone through $200,000 in ensuring that the Muse had complete freedom to tell her story, and in an environment as conducive and pure as possible to her. It’s been worth every penny (as long as I don’t end up out on the streets and starve to death, at least).
It, and she, demanded no less than my full attention, concentration, devotion, and love. So in willfully giving myself up to her she told a wonderful, beautiful, and heart-breaking story that took on a life of it’s own, and carried me away in the writing of it. From all reports given me by readers she has succeeded. I must give all of the credit to her, my faithful Muse, who rejected any attempts to put her back to sleep. Once she was roused, and our contract signed, she was relentless, persistent, and ever-present.
She’s presently resting, poor thing.
After much fretting, worrying, and just-plain-fear, now is the time for me to work on getting her story published, and the first serious query letter to an agent will go out today. Someone once said that when the writing stops, the hard work begins. I laughed. What could be harder than the writing?
Getting it published, that’s what.
So here’s a little story of the road to the here-and-now, with a hint of what hopefully is to come…
Inspired since the age of ten by the work of Mary and Percy Shelley, UNBOUND is a subtle tribute to the both of them, and their signature works, Frankenstein, or: The Modern Prometheus, and Prometheus Unbound. While reading those stories is not necessary to enjoy it, themes from both works echo throughout, though not the most obvious ones you might have picked up from the movies. I felt the Shelleys’ presences strongly, and wrote as much to to appease their spirits as their purposes for writing those tales, conveying the same sentiments but in contemporary times and terms.
The novel therefore tells the tale of yet another Modern Prometheus, but how I cannot say. You dolike to be surprised, don’t you? I like surprises. UNBOUND is full of them (and a few red herrings as well): hidden in layers upon layers of mystery, dread, enthrallment and suspense, and revealed through heart-piercing arrows of desire, loss, and love. It’s not exactly a romance, but a “Loves story.” It’s not exactly horror, but at times horrific. It’s a thriller like no other, and readers have consistently said that they’ve read nothing like it. It’s practically indescribable.
Simply put, it is what it is: just a Story.
So marketing it is going to be tricky. Everything is “genrefied” these days for all-too-easy digestion and must fit into a neat little box, consistent with the dumbing-down of our culture. UNBOUND, by its very nature, resists comparison with anything to date, and doesn’t want to fit anywhere, or be bound to any preconceptions. It’s not a fantasy, but fantastic. It’s not a romance, but romantic. It’s not religious, but definitely of the Spirit, and decidedly non-dogmatic, perhaps even heretical. I’ll leave the theologians to discuss that aspect, as I’m sure they will.
I can so easily say what it is not, but saying what it is is so damn difficult. I would be so happy just to put it into the Reader’s hands and say, “Just read it. It’s a story for You,” and leave it at that, and each to discover the other. We created it for every one of you, whether reading this or not.
Those of us born in that small, ephemeral ”Love Is” window of my generation seriously wanted to change the world. It sounds naive now, but that’s only because we’ve grown so cynical. How does one change the world? By creating dialogue; a sharing of ideas, experience and intents between as many people as possible. And what shall we discuss then? The themes of UNBOUND, to start with. What are they?
Silly. I told you I’m not telling! It’s between me and my agent and/or publisher, and only because I have to. Long ago I revealed one secret to someone and she screamed (yes, screamed, and in a restaurant), “WHY’D YOU TELL ME THAT?”
I was a little embarrassed. But I leanred my lesson: Don’t spoil the Story!!!
In explaining this sort of fable, with its intent of effecting Change, the tendency to become “preachy” raises its big, ugly head. That is a big No-No, and off-putting in the extreme. So it took quite a bit of crafting to make it as accessible to as many Readers of as many types as possible. I didn’t want to try anyone’s patience, but they will be tried in other ways, for certain. Getting to the end will be challenging; not in difficulty but in dealing with the heartbreak, loss, and longing for an Answer. And the fragility of trying to keep one’s faith and hopes, for they can be dashed so easily…
Thus the many small steps I took to get it out there. Thus the dolls, thus the anime, thus the interviews and any way to get Lily out there and into the consciousness of as many diverse readers as possible. All that I’ve done and undergone here in these years of living dangerously has been for Lily, the Muse, and their Story.
Most everyone who has previewed it have commented on how “filmic” it is. Given my fear of a “Hollywood-izing” of the novel into something unrecognizable (should it get filmed), I considered animation as a better way to deliver the full spectrum of the story, ideally as a Western anime, which the West is only now beginning to accept as an art-form. This manner of wonderful story-telling has not been explored here to its best effect; most here consider Pokemon and kiddie cartoons to be its exemplars. Um, very wrong. I’ve come across several stories that were so uplifting, so romantic, and so very transcendent they boggled the mind, heart and soul.
Thus the interest in anime. Do you get it now?
So, that explains away much of the time after completing the first draft on Christmas Day 2003, and building up to this Moment, today.
UNBOUND is a story that involves You. It is told in realistic terms, and if for sanity’s sake you wish to view it as a fantasy, then by all means do so. It is just a Story, after all. Isn’t it? Might be. It could just as well be Real Life, though… so take your pick. The choice to choose is always up to you. Remember that for the future. You’ll have your chance to make that choice.
What will you choose to do with it?
Hopefully there will come a time when we can discuss these matters without all the screaming. It may not so much be a case of “changing the world,” but changing one’s Self. And that metamorphosis will change the World, one by one, step by step.
This is, as I hope you will get to see, a first step toward evolution, or revolution.
“A change is gonna come someday.”
Let’s make it soon. Time is pressing.
Thank you for Reading… keep it up!