The novel manuscript I've been tinkering with for 3 years now has come to completion. Votary Nerves is coming around the corner.
In 2009, while I was revising Turban Tan and prepping it for publication, I decided to do the NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) that November. So I set a little chunk of time each night to pound away at something a tad stream of conscious. I started to pre-plot and outline an idea but threw it out in favor of surprising myself. And I feel I successfully surprised myself. The only notion I had in mind to explore was "high school" for better or worse. I had at the time realized I never wrote a story revolving around a high school aged character. Even while I was in high school, I was writing about adult characters, because I thought them more interesting. At the time I had just watched Freaks and Geeks on DVD and re-watched Twin Peaks. There was a sort of fresh recklessness I found myself drawn towards through watching high school characters get themselves into trouble. In remembering my high school days, despite the lack of actual stakes in the grand scheme of things, at that time in my life, everyday was fucking vivid. And so my interest was piqued in that sort of naivety, and a perspective infused with curiosity and a tendency towards hysteria.
So I started writing, and soon a story emerged involving the death of the narrator's father. I myself lost my dad to cancer the summer after I graduated high school. I didn't necessarily set out to write about that, but things spewed, and a different exploration dug itself into my story. A fantasy evolved. After my dad passed away, I experienced little waves of inexplicable anxiety. But I felt I handled that period of my life with some semblance of grace and even temperament. So I thought while writing, what if I handled that anxiety with extreme resignation to my quaking nerves? Out of all of my fiction so far, this one is the most personal. It's certainly fiction, but there are autobiographical nuggets peppered in throughout, and that makes it actually pretty scary, for me, to release. But I decided it was time. The proverbial "they" say to do thing that scare you. Well, here we go.
The first draft was raw and all over the place. It took some time to reshape and fine-tune into something readable. It morphed into some other variations. I played with a section of it to perhaps try as a solo performance piece, and even played with a screenplay version. Both were helpful in developing the voice and action of the piece, but ultimately I brought it back to prose form, because I felt it was the more appropriate medium for experiencing the story from the narrator's head, especially with some of the cerebral, hallucinatory aspects I wanted to keep.
I recently wrapped edits, artwork, and formatting for this bad boy. The release is imminent.
Notes on the release. There will be a soft launch and an official launch. The soft launch will be very, very soon. Soft meaning, you can order it in paperback and Kindle editions via the internet. The official launch will be in early 2013 and will involve distribution to independent bookshops and a big launch party followed by a little book tour here in Chicago. If that goes well, maybe I'll run around with it in different corners of America.
Stay tuned for my baby, Votary Nerves.