This is the time of year that I usually post my word count and some information about the projects I’ve worked on. I’m not going to do that this year because, frankly, looking over my word count charts has felt less like a triumph and more like a visualization of my shitty mental health.
My mom died on January 16th after a long decline from ALS. When I look at these charts, I can see the peaks of weirdly manic energy and the long stretches of depression where I couldn’t even think about writing. Yes, I did crank out 150,000 words, but most of them were endlessly picking at the same unfinished manuscript. Almost all of the rest belong to unfinished or trunked projects. I did complete one novella, managed to send it out to a press for a submission call… and the press immediately folded. So yeah, I’ve been working, but at the end of the day I don’t have much to show for it.
I will get back to Astra Nullius eventually, but to be honest, I doubt the story will return in the same format with the same point-of-view characters. I was trying to tell about ten different stories at once, all of which were really about mourning for the kinder future I’d imagined I’d be living in today. I thought giving my feelings to a set of characters would be a good way of keeping them at arm’s length. That didn’t work, so I blew up a planet. Fiction writing: not actually a good substitute for therapy.
I do have a story I’d like to release sometime this year. It’s a smaller story, not about saving the whole world, just about making a piece of it a little less shitty. At its core, it’s about taking care of other people when you can’t take care of yourself, which is another fun feeling I have given to a character so I don’t have to stare at it head-on.
Here’s to 2020. We made it. And here’s a song I listened to a lot in 2019.