A new world

I wrote a few months ago about how I started writing a story sixteen years ago, and how, despite thinking I was incapable of finishing it, I realised recently I had in fact written much more of it than I remembered. After that point, I decided to get serious about the story. To commit to it. And then I realised how much more work there was to do on it to get to where it needed to be. With an uneasy mixture of disappointment and determination, I resolved to complete my first book in 2022.

And then, yesterday, on the second day of 2022, I realised that, actually, I already have.

So that was a weird paradigm shift.

I have in no way completed the story. But I have passed the natural conclusion of the first book, and sunk my toes deep into the fertile soil of the second. And, contrary to what my very serious self had been telling me, I don’t need to fundamentally change that first book. I had convinced myself I needed to fit the vision of the entire story into the first book, rather than just allowing it to be what it is. But, of course, the first book has its own vision, and it declared it to me quite cheerfully over Christmas. Once I accepted that, I was able to see that it already has all the pieces it needs. It is, at its heart, complete.

So I’ve written a book. First draft anyway. Well, more of a first-and-a-half draft. Well, okay, some bits are already a fourth or a fifth draft. I started it a long time ago, okay?

I don’t know exactly how long it will take me to finish typing the fucker up, let alone buffing all the dents out. But it is clear that my timescale has drastically reduced from initial projections.

Happy New Year.

With a twist

I watched another one.

I watched another Christmas rom-com. Except this one was one of those rom-coms with a twist – you know the ones where the romantic interest turns out to be a ghost? Yeah. One of those.

And look, I quite like it when the outcome isn’t girl gets guy and they live happily ever after. I quite like it when, instead, girl builds a better life for herself despite the profound absence of guy, because he was actually dead all along. I guess that’s more relatable for me. But it’s still a bit sad, right? Like, it’s not as good an outcome as if girl built a better life and then guy was magically resurrected and they lived happily ever after, is it? It doesn’t have quite the same depth of satisfaction. The story doesn’t quite feel complete. Something is missing.

I thought, at first, this post was going to include criticism of the idea that girl even needed guy to facilitate healthy transformation in the first place. Like if we’re gonna challenge stereotypes, why not fucking push the boat out? And that would, of course, be criticising myself, because I did. But the reality is we are ill prepared for the life we enter into, and we rely on many crutches to get us through the day. Acknowledging that is not a fault.

But if, when one of those crutches breaks – which, considering the strain we put them under, is nigh on inevitable – and we fall painfully; if we then somehow, from some place, find the strength, the wisdom, to rise on our own and walk forwards, then we, and the whole world, should rejoice wholeheartedly. That should be more than enough of an arc to sate us.

So why is it that I feel so empty when the crutch is not replaced? I don’t need it anymore. Why do I want it so badly?

I quite like it when stories mirror the natural, complex, partial satisfaction of life. The trap with life, though, is that you can always keep hoping that the story isn’t over. And that’s the very thing that stops the story moving on.