I actually halted working on the book for about a month. Mostly because I’d reached a point in the narrative where the focus shifts to the villainous faction of the story. There was a question I philosophically wrestled with during that time on whether the (impartial) third-person narrative voice should adopt a tone for this chapter that’s in any way different from earlier chapters that focused on the hero and his trusty sidekick. On the one hand I really want to convey the innermost workings of the antagonist’s head, but on the other hand I want to avoid telling the audience what to believe about him. A certain equilibrium between the two would be ideal. It’s a matter of knowing when to lean to one side and when to lean to the other. Not the easiest hike, but I’m forging ahead with it.
One of the things I miss about the SILVER BROWN experiment is drinking the essence of the people’s vibes whenever I threw pages of the manuscript out into the Twitterverse. I’ve been itching to do something like that again in 2022. Unfortunately, my current work in progress is not yet at a point where I’m comfortable with the idea of other people reading it — it’ll need to go through a few drafts before it gets to that stage, and I’m still in the middle of writing the first one. In order to scratch the aforesaid itch, I shall dig up one of my oldies that I started writing in 2008 and eventually forgot about.
Years ago, in the days when people still met in person, I used to attend writers’ critique circles that were advertised on Meetup. At the first meeting, I showed them the first few chapters of HE WITH NINE TOES — the manuscript I was working on at the time. If I recall, the reception was glowing. The only beef they had with it was the choice of vernacular. These chapters take place on an agricultural planet, where the locals speak a dialect that is heavily influenced by the Scots language. In their reviews, my fellow scribes told me that they frequently couldn’t make heads or tails of what the characters were saying. But aside from that, they loved it.
I never got around to correcting the issues they brought up, abandoning HE WITH NINE TOES to try my hand at writing something that wasn’t space opera. But I think it’s in decent enough shape to amuse people if I were to show it to the world at this time, warts and all. Starting on the 7th, unless something comes up. If it helps lighten the mood this
apocalypse tax season, it’ll be totally worth it.
The last night I got rip-roarin’ slobbering drunk was the night of the most recent presidential election in a little-known country called America. Without elaborating on the details, somebody said something (apolitical) to me during the subsequent hangover that initiated a complete re-evaluation of my relationship with the sauce, in ways that years of addiction counselling could not. I shan’t repeat that message here, for there were a lot of razor blades and venom in those words that I can’t see being beneficial to your garden-variety drunkard (and besides, it wasn’t so much what was said but who said it). But it was just what I needed. Like the verbal equivalent of Buckley’s Original. Tastes awful, and it works.
Despite the fact that I don’t drink nearly as heavily as I used to, there’s still much to love about St. Patrick’s Day. All the festivity and jolliness of Christmas, minus the sanctimonious commentary about your personal life choices from hyperconservative relatives. In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, particularly its association with The Cause of (and Solution to) All of Life’s Problems, I give you a picture of my old bong that was made from a beer bottle. Her Majesty’s immediate predecessor. Destroyed accidentally one night. By an overzealous gamer. In a garage. In London. Which was unfortunately named after that English city. ☘🇮🇪