Friday, April 9, 2010

The story behind the story

Transcending world-wide dread:

With little more enthusiasm than the prospect of root canal, I've created this blog. Never have I imagined the day where I'd undertake such a quest, but in order to realize a much greater quest, they say writing a blog is a necessary means to that end. They say I must promote my work; they say I must establish a platform. I'm not entirely certain what a platform is, or even exactly who they are, but they are not well liked by the inner voices that preside over my little universe. And as far as I'm concerned, they can go to hell!

But for the good of the cause, and to help save a world, a blog has been born. Consider this a written reality show on writing - a chronicle of train wrecks and success, and all points in between. I hope you find some interest in the forthcoming scribble.

Leggo my ego:

Equally as upsetting to the little voices, is the fact that, at least for much of this blog, the first person must be applied. A task that, I assure you, is not well received by the anguished cast of me, myself and I. If I could work out another way, know that I would, and spare you the measure of ego inherent in the pesky pronouns. But I lack that particular talent, and am therefore without choice in the matter. Most regrettably, me, myself and I, will be occasionally employed, and done so with the same dreaded necessity required in scraping pyogenic goo to allow septic wounds to heal. So when you see such creatures as you venture deeper, know that I fear them with the same lions and tigers and bears panic of those who once crept cautiously along that fateful yellow brick road...

Me, myself and I, oh my! Me, myself and I, oh my!

A word of caution:

Before moving further, a disclaimer is probably in order. Those underage or easily offended may want to log off or consider clicking on the next blog button above. I'm sure you can find plenty of good reading on hiking the Appalachian Trail or how to make a really good pot of chili. But if you don't mind getting a little dirty, and itch with Magellanic angst, stick around; you might enjoy the cerebral circumnavigation. The above call of caution stems in no small part from the fact that, beyond my next foggy idea, I truly don't yet know where this is going. But I do know this... boundaries will be pushed to their elastic limits; and some of the ensuing cyber-glyphics may be unsuitable for some viewers. And yes...nibbling on these words could be as hazardous as sniffing Chinese drywall, especially to the sensitive or closed minded. Raw language, violence and gratuitous nudity are all to be expected. Needless to say, viewer discretion is strongly suggested. And beyond anything else, all of the above can be distilled down to one simple and immutable edict....

Don't try this at home.

A natural selection:

Without further objection, I present the genesis of the novel, Unnatural Selection....


The moment of inspiration for Unnatural Selection came many years ago. Between then and now, countless other key moments have been spent crafting plot and prose alike. Like mortar in an old brownstone, life and its many little speed bumps filled the moments in between. At this moment the manuscript is in the very capable hands of my literary agent. By now the manuscript may even have found its way to the desk of a publishing firm, perhaps being carefully considered for rejection, even at this very moment.

Summiting the mountain:

One might ask how one can be so negative about one's work. What may appear to be negativity is simply realism wrapped in statistics and served up with a steaming pile of facts. And those facts are as staggering as they are unfavorable. The kind of mojo required for a chance to breathe the rarefied air of the published is a feat tantamount to summiting Everest. Surviving to print by conventional means is every bit as harsh as the conditions 25,000 feet above sea level; the elevation known to climbers as the death zone. Storms, hidden crevasses, and lung shriveling hypoxia are no less precarious for all their brutality than an industry so utterly devoid of mercy.

The glass is half full:

Despite all the skepticism, there's plenty to be optimistic about. Now that the novel has been fine tuned the preliminary hurdles have been cleared with surprising ease. From two English teachers to the folks at The Frances White Literary Agency to a professional editor, the hurdles have all offered praise, in addition to valuable input. Even my brother has given his seal of approval. For those who don't know him, I assure you that that's no given. In fact, winning his approval may have been the highest hurdle of all. Sharing bio-bytes from the same filial mainframe would be no deterrent from the issuance of a harsh reminder not to quit my day job. Perhaps the biggest upside to this endeavor, even more so than hopping hurdles, is that I may have serendipitously proven the existence of God. Divine intervention is the only logical means to explain the creation of a manuscript that is flat-out beyond my neural bandwidth.

Break glass in case of emergency:

Fortunately, should it all spiral down in a fiery crash, there's another way to flip the script these days. Whew. the Internet has provided writers a safety net of sorts, a way to reach the top of Everest by an alternate route - parachuting in from above. The wheels are already in motion to publish this novel as an eBook, should it come to that. So if you've taken the time to read the first few chapters that have been published above, and you've enjoyed the read, you will not have to wait long for the balance. By one means or another, the novel will be available soon. We're hoping to get it all done before 2012; sometime prior to the highly prophesized Armageddon, the demise of life as we know it, and the meltdown of the Internet into the world wide ebb. And if in fact it should all go belly up, and should you be one of the lucky to crawl from the rubble, the tale will still be available. The narrative should play quite well as cave drawings.

A call to arms:

Whether you've found your way here by invitation, recommendation, or by the same statistical DNA dice-roll of conception, all comers are welcome. As you sift through the shrapnel of a blog written in the half-baked etchings of a neo-Neanderthal, I truly hope that you find something here that tickles your fancy. If so, feel free to sign on and follow along - the larger the following, the greater the chance of reaching the mountain-top by conventional means, which is still the primary goal. Aside from sound work, publishing firms like to see a following before embracing entities unknown. Mountain climbers enlist the help of the Sherpa when attempting to reach the Himalayan Promised Land. This quest will require help too....

Literary Sherpas unite!

Claustrophobia and dental fillings:

For the record, and for what it's worth, I've never aspired to be a writer. Strange as it may sound, I still don't, certainly not in the traditional sense. But teaching through stories....ahhh, now that's another story. I have in fact grown to enjoy my time spent building worlds with words upon foundations of inspiration. I now view my keyboard as a retreat, find my time spent in creative labor soothing and deeply satisfying, like Prozac for the soul. Truth be told, what I really want to be when I grow up is an explorer. Yes...a modern day Christopher Columbus. I cannot think of a more satisfying rush than the anticipation of discovery mixed with the fear of the unknown as mainsails flex with gusts of pioneering inertia.

Godspeed young lad!

But alas, all the good stuff has already been discovered, and I'm not such a young lad anymore. It would seem that I was born too late, anyway. Terra firma has largely been mapped, sampled and probed with the same systematic efficiency of an archaeological dig. Claustrophobia prevents me from venturing to the uncharted oceanic depths, dental amalgam prevents exploration of the worlds above. All of which has resulted in a raging case of exploration constipation.

Somebody pass the ex-lax:

Ahhh...that's much better. Fortunately, there's at least one realm largely unexplored, I'm sure you've discovered it too. From what I hear, we've only explored about ten percent. Turns out, there's a vast terrain of inner space that sprawls across a world of infinite thought, a world that reaches far beyond the physical limits of dura and skull, a world that spins at the speed of imagination and sits on an axis about eighteen inches above the beating heart that fuels the spirit of discovery in us all.

With personal exploration comes discovery....

Writing with rhyme and reason:

The initial discovery took place during my early years as a high school science teacher. I remember the exact moment of the first sighting of land. It occurred while sitting with a group of teachers on cafeteria duty as I absently scribbled out a lesson plan. I remember the flash-point of inspiration as if it was yesterday; the images still shine bright in TiVo reels of hi-def memory. Panning the cafeteria it struck me as odd that the students sat in groups arranged mostly by race. The observation set my inner scientist into wonder, inciting insight, as discontinuity stoked curiosity, and curiosity crunched data into a single question - shouldn't the sea of faces around the cafeteria be a homogeneous gray? Statistically, yes, unless of course there were other forces at play. The question, at least to me, was interesting enough to examine further. Soon after, while teaching a standard biology lesson on industrial melanism as it relates to the peppered moth, epiphany struck like a ball-peen hammer to the frontal lobe. I wanted to report my finding; thought the connection was really cool and really important.

Educate, enlighten, entertain:

Although a teacher at the time, a shy disposition prevented me from speaking publicly on the matter. Reporting the findings to each person I met was always an option. But the notion was quickly dispelled based on practical limitations, not to mention the inherent weirdness in such action. No, I wasn't quite ready for a stint in the loony bin. And so it was decided, so it was deemed - the message would be told in the written tongue, specifically a novel, sparing the public my epileptic tongue. Perfect. Not only did it allow me to remain in my cave, it also allowed me to make sure words and plot would be exactly as they should be, as well as assure that the issues upon which this novel was inspired were appropriately subtle. Now that you know the genesis; it's time for revelation.

Read the opening few chapters, and begin the journey.....

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