Still Nominally Alive

And here I am a college student, often drunk and joyous, surrounded by friends discussing Nietzsche and capitalism, still lost in the past, dancing around in my memory ether most nights. The new novel is coming along. I expect it’ll be finished by September, and optimistically speaking, I’ll sell it off to the small imprint publisher that decides to tolerate me and my short stories, novels, and poems for many years to come. Life is painful, and lovely, and strange. This pattern of developing a pattern I see among all the people I know is as elusive as ever to me. I often wonder if I could sustain that kind of mundane familiarity if it ever sought me out. I don’t think I could, and it hasn’t come knocking yet. I consider myself fortunate. But time changes people, and I am no exception. I may embrace it one day in some other life. For now I will drink my whiskey, laugh with my friends, write through the night, and try not to let the pain catch up to me.

Once In The Highlands

I’ve been so busy working on scripts, manuscripts, deadlines, and other menial tasks that I’ve been unable to properly update this site the way I intended. I’m still working away on the Other Lives manuscript. The first draft is nearly complete. It’s evolved and grown in many ways over the past six months and I am happy with the direction it is taking me.

In the meantime, I’ve written several scripts for an upcoming graphic novel anthology on literary icons. I’ve also begun work on an original graphic novel, heavily inspired by the ancient Servile Wars and concepts like globalization, among other things. My workload is heavier than it’s ever been, but I have no complaints.

Today I am sitting in my office looking out at the hills and reading And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos by John Berger. It teaches me something new every time I return to it. Here is a poem that has inspired Other Lives in many ways.

On your island

does the night fall later?

Am I walking a little ahead of you

so that no snake will bite

your sandalled foot?

The balance is never made.

This is why the stars are silent

offering no account.

How to measure

a season

against

the calendar of your absence?

How to measure

the stream

of my tangled light

in the mountain

of what has been

and will be?

The balance is never made.

Yet in the night your eyes and mine

sounding one another

show no trace of vertigo.

For Once, Then, Something

It’s December 2014 now. I began writing this novel last December. It may be a sign of maturity that I haven’t been pitching the unfinished manuscript to every agent I can track down. Impatience aside, I am one-hundred pages into this manuscript. I’d estimate having cut approximately two-hundred pages in the past six months. There have been so many rewrites that I’ve lost track, but it is a reassurance that I am sticking to my original vision, and not rushing to complete it for the sake of monetary comfort. It is, as I have been saying over and over, my first true novel. I stand by that sentiment.

My office is covered in whiskey and beer bottles, ink-filled notebooks, and ear-marked books. I’ve spent more nights in this office than I can remember. Some nights I drink and hammer on my keyboard until sunrise and collapse in my bed. Other nights, Aryn taps me on the shoulder to tell me it’s morning and that she’s leaving for work. “Sleep now,” she says. And occasionally, I lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling while psilocybin teleports me to another dimension and I examine my life from as many perspectives as I can fathom before I slip into a kind of madness and laugh until I come back down again.

I’ve changed while writing this book. I suppose twenty-seven is a fine time to begin understanding who I am. This understanding is due in large part to a group of friends I have affectionately deemed ‘my teachers’. David teaches me to laugh. Anthony teaches me to let go. My nieces teach me to love. Others teach me to see the funnier aspects of myself and not to brood so often. Still, there are familiar parts of me that linger. You might call them scars or something equally as cliche and childish – regret, remorse, old flames, the unending anguish I can’t quite explain, and the nagging uncertainty of impending death.

All of this to say that I am still working to finish this damned book.

Happy holidays,

Shane