Worst Job in the World

It always bemuses me when other writers burst into an uncontrolled rant about how being a writer is supposedly the greatest occupation in the world, how they enjoy the process of writing, of reviewing and revising and rewriting, of creating something new and original, and about how much it fulfills them and how rewarding it is and everything.

You know what, fuck that.

I hate writing. Facing that empty piece of paper that’s waiting to be filled with fresh, original content every morning is the worst thing I can imagine. It’s so dreadful, I’ll allow the poorest of excuses to drag me away from it, like doing the dishes, sharpening pencils, or getting root canal work done. All because of that world in my head that constantly coerces me, almost as though at gunpoint, to set it free, out into the open because I know it’s the only way for me to maintain an acceptable degree of sanity.

Sometimes I wish I were more normal, less interested, less attached to the real world and real people, a mindless drone like all the others, numb, only caring about the basics of human existence: food and sex and television. Let me spend my life in a dirty, dusty garage rolling Cuban cigars for a living, let me toil away in a Bangladeshi sweat shop sewing shirts for Primark. At least I’d know how it’s done and what the finished product is supposed to look like, no fantasy, no creativity, no elaborate thought processes required. But instead I wake up every morning and I slump down at my desk, trying to give a manifestation to that world, that universe, that multiverse inside my head before it explodes.

It’s a beautiful, amazing, wonderous, almost magic place, but at the same time it’s also complex and confusing and scary, and any attempt to give it a closer look in order to be able to describe it and put it in words paralyzes me and makes me stare out of the window for hours on end because I’m afraid to unleash that world and let it become a reality.

And yet I know that I will never be able not to try to overcome that fear, because that wouldn’t be me. So I just keep going because I don’t know what else to do…

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Minor Setback

In case you’re not following me on Twitter (LOL, whut?), I didn’t advance to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award quarter finals. That’s kind of disappointing all right, but then again I’m not so delusional as to think I wrote a brilliant novel and the judges failed to recognize it. It’s a nice little book, but it’s not brilliant. Nor is it the best I could do, nor was it the right book for this year’s ABNA contest. The end.

Or rather, not the end. Not at all. It was a great experience, it was fun while it lasted, and if the contest is back next year, then so am I.

I’ll still be getting feedback from the reviewers who read my excerpt and didn’t deem it good enough to advance me to the next round. I’m looking forward to that, and I hope it’ll be helpful and constructive. Either way, I’ll put it up here on my blog once I’ve got it.

Now back to work. Another book is waiting to be written. And then another one, and another one… because as Edgar Rice Burroughs once said, “If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.”

 

Keito & Ginger – A Love That Wasn’t Meant To Be

Keito OkamotoToday I have a special treat for all those who have been following me since way back when I used to blog about Japanese teen idols. I know, right? Those were the days.

Anyway, a very early draft of my novel And a Child Will Lead Them contained a sub-plot that involved a certain member of the Japanese boy band Hey!Say!JUMP, a very fine specimen by the name of Keito Okamoto (who by the way turned 21 years old earlier this week, so Happy Birthday). Before he started his career as a teen idol, Keito went to school in England between the ages of nine and fourteen, a fact I drew upon in the novel by making him the first crush of Ginger, one of the main characters. However, this episode didn’t make it to the final draft of the story for two major reasons: 1) there already was a Japanese character in the book, and in this case having another one seemed to be too much of a good thing, and 2) it didn’t add anything to the story I was trying to tell, and since the book was already running much longer than planned, those twelve thousand words were most obvious to omit.

So, after many a heated discussion in the creative department (i.e. between my partner and me) the decison was taken to scrap the Keito sub-plot. Now the only remnant left of it is Ginger’s trip to Japan in the second half of the book. That trip – originally intended to reunite her with Keito – was eventually reduced to a simple vacation in the published version of the novel. But instead of letting it whither away in my bottom drawer, I decided to share this sub-plot today with those of you who may reminisce fondly about the olden days when I was still having a public opinion on the world of Japanese teen idols. So if you’re interested, you can read a first draft excerpt of the Keito sub-plot here (link opens in a new window). Enjoy!