Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Inspiration Jambalaya

I have a novel in progess. I like to think about it a lot. Like I think about quasars and other countries and deep sea creatures. I like to take notes on it, sketch out the characters, plot plots and subplots, imagine the far-flung research I'll have to undertake in order to explore the themes I want to explore. Sometimes I dream about it, or wake in the middle of the night with scenes that are priceless and must belong in my novel. The one I haven't written yet. The one I will soon. Oh so soon, after I finish all those short stories.

As far as the "novel" goes, so far I think it's about religious fanaticism and maybe just fanaticism in general. Like, if you want to live an impassioned, meaningful life on earth, sometimes it helps to be cursed and/or blessed with Strong Belief, be it in the powers of the body, the beauty of the earth, the meaninglessness of it all, or the challenge to forge vibrant communities amidst general chaos. In general, things get done if you're more of a fanatic than not. Some are just fanatics for chaos. Others for helping people. Some for drugs, others for music, others for misery. Some scientists are fanatics for hard evidence and nothing but. And some just want to slough off the chains of this prison planet for some netherworld paradise.

Fanaticism is a mixed bag. But profoundly interesting.

But it's also about fear. My novel, I mean. About a government in the prelude to a civil war. It's about an island run by a monastery. It's about that same monastery supporting their order through a heady, libertarian dose of "victimless crime" rings. It's about a crippled idiot born on this island who's name is Percy. It's about his strange physical conditions. His fevers, his insomnias, his clubfoot. It's about his adventures, his lovers, his failures, his disillusionments. I think it would be fun to do a comic-heroic re-write of the Perseus myth, an idea based on my own origin myths.

Spouting all this out here, I wonder if it sounds compelling, readable, or even remotely like something that would fit nicely into the novel form.

So yes, a novel-in-progress: I might be saying that for awhile, but don't worry, if it becomes tedious, I'll just mutter it to myself, in the wee hours of the night when the walls are crawling with things I couldn't possibly do justice to in mere words.

And as much as I like to make fun of the trend of possessive titles in novels these days (just the day before Christmas at Borders I saw three books side-by-side: The Heretic's Daughter, The Bone-Setter's Daughter and The Memory Keeper's Daughter which weren't all that far away from Corelli's Mandolin, Omnivore's Dilemma, Flaubert's Parrot and The Astronaut's Wife), for this "work-in-progess" I've been calling it "St. Lucy's Fire." For one reason or another, probably due to subliminal mind trickery.

Here's some links for my own benefit more than anything, regarding things I'm researching or reimagining for St. Lucy's Fire:

A memory from New Orleans: Saint Expedite

A memory from childhood, celebrating this feast day in Balboa Park: St. Lucy's Day

The myth: Perseus!

A recurring theme throughout: BIOLUMINESCENCE

Inspiration for spaces: Dark Passage

Ok, that's all for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment