An Even Newer Story

Before I get into what I’m working on now, in novel form, if you read my weekend thoughts about social media, I accidentally published them instead of saving them in draft while being very distracted on Sunday. I do have a lot of issues with social media, but a lot of it is a big whine against attention-whoring narcissists, such as Donald Trump, the “internet celebrity,” and the dishonest facade many folks have while portraying staged lives and relying on validation from strangers (and bots!). Little do these folks see how ridiculously transparent they are, but I guess it’s best to just put those thoughts aside and concentrate on the parts of life that actually make sense.

I can’t remember if I talked about my newest writing yet. I have three novels in various stages of draft. I don’t mind projects that start and stall; in many ways, writers start projects that may end but aren’t exactly wasted because ideas are built that make it into later novels. It’s a weird writing process, but sometimes I just have false starts, as I would guess many writers do. The newest novel is really inspired by dark ecology, hyperobjects, and the weird fiction of Jeff VanderMeer and Michael Bernanos.

The premise of the story is a climate-changed world in the future where a man is traveling with his daughter to metaphorically find his wife who has disappeared with no trace. Sex trafficking in this future world is worse than it is now, and he imagines his wife has been stolen. The novel starts out bleakly. He is utterly depressed, but good to his daughter. Their locale is constantly rainy and stormy–hardly any sun on the French western coast where they are surviving by a thread. Enough time has passed that his wife has disappeared and he wants to head toward her homeland. He thinks it will be a better place. He dreams of a cabin by a lake, a hint of the past with a beautiful pastoral dream. The novel’s title has to do with the man’s thoughts, but I won’t say it yet.

On the way up the coast to this dreamy “paradise” he imagines, however, the ship he and his daughter are on is caught in a storm, and they drift out to sea. The other crew members die, and he and his daughter must navigate and survive until they reach land. When they do reach it, it is a very strange island where some odd, preternatural things are happening. Unlike Bernanos’s entering into another realm, this island is real. Like VanderMeer’s Southern Reach, it is hinted that despite a place being real, some very strange ecological and socio-economic things are happening. It is surreal, perhaps an experiment. While writing I keep thinking of the term “weird ecology.” My last attempt of writing a novel with the horses creeps into this one. I’m hoping a humorous scene from my first attempt at a novel from last year does as well. Despite being inspired by some weird fiction I’ve read lately, my novel is completely different and it is fun to write. It’s completely off from what I’ve ever written before, however.

That being said, and switching gears some, I took the weekend off from outdoor hikes or runs because I had already gone out three times in the week, which is my usual goal (sometimes I do more). But I had gardening to tend to and replanting/thinning of plants. This coming weekend we are tent-camping at a nearby lake. While Saturday looks to be a decent day, the rest of the days will be rainy and a little cool. But I think we’ll have fun regardless. We are celebrating our 10th anniversary. We’ve known each other for far longer; we first met in the early 2000s but were friends for a few years before ever falling in love. He is truly a kind, gentle soul who has inspired me so much. I am 100% positive that if anything ever happened to Morgan, I would never care about finding another relationship again, because he is simply so uniquely a loving person who is so mellow and fun. I like walking through life by his side.

Before signing off from this post, here are some photos from a Friday hike (I had run on Tuesday and Thursday, and this was a good workout regardless, due to the elevation of the beginning of the hike):

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