Posted by jeanne
i’m taking a slight break from my story. i got commissioned to do a piece of fabric art, and am beginning to spend my hours in the studio flinging dye onto a large piece of stretched silk. you can follow it here if you’re interested.
i’d reached a stopping point. i’d finally worked thru the fucked up family long enough that pretty much everybody was doing something in pretty much every chapter. i was surprised that they had such active lives, and so many correspondences to what the other, more major characters were doing. they really enrich the story.
i’ve been thinking about this project, this world, this plot, these characters, for about six months. i got the idea suddenly, as i was finishing up my last novel. it was a very compelling idea, a compulsion. often i have complained about the opportunities i did not take when they presented themselves. my life is full of them. i didn’t write that astrology book. i didn’t paint those breast cancer pictures. i didn’t design that line of fantasy clothing. i didn’t start that podcast series. these ideas occur to me in the middle of a time of change, when i sense opportunity. but always something in me says ‘nah,’ and i pass the opportunity up. and am always sorry later. not necessarily because i would have been successful at what i was compelled to do. not that it would have changed the world. just because i was compelled, and really should have investigated further, not suppressed the desire. anyway, i’ve been studying this lesson intently for the past few years.
so i jumped right in to this project. what if kids learned quantum ‘magic’ in a videogame and used it to change the world? what if we were all jedi knights? where would the forces of repression be if everybody stood up and waved their light sabers?
it meant studying quantum physics, and theories of consciousness, and spiritual practices, and computer programming, and videogames, and gaming, and graphic novels, and politics, and culture, and religion, and history, and about antarctica, and pirates, and psychology, and social movements, about abuse, and repression, revolution and authoritarian institutions, and occupy whatever.
my plotting methods were strange, gathering an interesting miscellany for several years before starting this project, casting gathered information randomly thru the plot structure, building a large amorphous pile of research and musing about chraracters and story events. it has consumed me for six months, and only now am i to the point where i know what’s happening in every chapter. not precisely, tho. it’s very vague. but each chapter has a flavor, and a tempo, and i can sometimes hear words – no, attitudes – coming out of the dark.
the story is so familiar to me in all its complexity that everything i see and do reeks of it. when i watch a movie, i have my story running in the back of my head, and i’m comparing how the screenwriter handled a similar scene to mine. reading the bedtime chapter of a library book and eat my bowl of chocolate ice cream every night, i’m not sure if what happened to the main character in last night’s chapter isn’t something i was considering for a character in my own third act.
i dream of my story at night. i spend hours of dreamtime arranging symbolic blocks and making sure i am remembering their hidden significance, which i forget the moment i wake up. all i remember when i wake up is that i’ve been very busy with the usual people doing the usual preparation things, bustle bustle, trying to get things right.
i go back and forth in my energy. one day i’m working well and things are filling right in, and everything i find reading the news is something i can use in the story, and the next i’m paranoid about being mistaken for a badguy(tm) by them(tm) and am self-censoring myself even in my chapter notes. and the following day i’m thinking that all this work is never going to be seen and is the waste of time my daughter insists it is, and the day after that i don’t care because it’ll have a life of its own once i finish it, and i’ll have done what i set out to do and can move on (to all the work i put aside). every time i feel down, something happens to remind me of why i’m doing it, and i get right back on.
doing research, reading about what’s happening in the world today, and how crazy people are about it, and how irrational they sound, and how wicked they act, it makes me angry and dispirited. i feel like i shouldn’t bother because we’re all going to die in a fema camp. but all i have to do is a little research about how miracles happen all the time, and how good wins out over evil simply because evil is fear-based, and how quantum thinking will replace classical thinking as a matter of course. and i feel much better about my chances; i know we’re all one, and love will win. which is good, because i want a happy ending. i don’t want them(tm) to ruin my life and enslave everybody like the evil zombie vampire aliens they are. i want a duplicating teleporter and your choice of world to live in, and a pink pony with wings. and since i’m writing this, that’s what i’ll aim for. the characters might disagree, and they’re free to battle me on this. and since there are more of them and they only have to keep track of their own little character arc, the chances are they’ll win. there is no win or lose, of course, that’s because it’s quantum. it’s a continuum, it’s a spiral, it’s a flow, it’s a dynamic. there’s no final battle, no final solution, no absolute victory. that’s classical thinking. and it doesn’t work.
anyway, it’s being a lot of fun working on this story. and as soon as i make some serious progress on my fabric project, or as soon as i get a burst of insight, or come across a pertinent piece of research, i’ll be back with another post. and i’ll be thinking about it all the time in the meantime.