I had to write this out before it completely vanished. As I was dozing on the Metro this morning, I thought back to the Satan House – an abandoned house back in the early 90’s just off of MacArthur boulevard near Glen Echo, MD. Art students took it upon themselves to decorate the place with Clive Barker-esque tags and sculptures. It became a place where kids could go to get stoned, make out, and create weird art on the walls.
The story involved two friends going to take pictures there. He: the photographer, nervous as all hell. She: the artist, nervous for a different reason.
They end up staying there later than expected and are confronted by some of the other memories held in the house. Yes, there’s a girl who was murdered there but… she’s not the typical ghost. And the way the story ends is far more melancholy than the hissing ‘dark haired girl from the well’ endings.
I think this will be my next project.
It’s official and validated, in all senses. Admittedly, my overall goal was fairly low, but the fact was able to crank out 1000 words every hour-long writing session showed me I can reach a competitive word count. I’m not sure if the real beast in November will be quite as gracious, but it’s smaller cousin treated me well.
Now, figuring out where Metaphysical Graffiti is going… that’s the hard part.
First, a note: I need to start collecting photos of old typewriters. It’s getting more and more difficult to find proper images to fit this blog. And, while I adore the aesthetic of my grandfather’s typewriter, variety is demanded.
This April’s Camp NaNoWriMo was instructive. Not only did I meet my goal, which was admittedly low, but more importantly I proved to myself I can write about a thousand words an hour, if properly motivated. I’m wondering if the drag created by the long process of working on Ivre lead to a very low word count. Metaphysical Graffiti moves.
Every night, after dinner and a little time with my lady, I sit in the kitchen. Internet radio tuned to WWOZ, I’d write out a thousand words of Baton Rouge weirdness. Maybe my intense dedication to one project, with no other outlets, hampered me rather than helped.
Quite a bit to think about as the month starts to close.
Ivre, draft one, is done.
In the end, the beast clocked in at 153K words and has taken up about two years of my creative energies. I think I would have completed it much, much faster if I had taken the time to outline the book from the start. But, I will say the time I did take creating backgrounds proved very helpful later on.
Lesson learned: don’t go without a roadmap, write up some backstory, and keep yourself interested.
For April, I’m working on a writer’s vacation called Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s an experimental attempt at Metaphysical Graffiti. I bypassed one issue I had with my starting outline – the fact it felt too close to my personal live – and flipped character perspectives. This added a bit more distance, allowing me to write freely. If all goes well, I’ll have a good start and can fully work on an outline during the year.
But my main focus will be on short stories. Between the novel and the haiku is the short story, and I’d like to return to this form. My first publications, years back, were short stories. I rather miss the form. Years of reading short tales of the strange and beautiful, I wanted to write my own.
This year should hopefully provide a few interesting opportunities for storytelling. And as much as I love the characters in Ivre, it’s nice to take a vacation.