Projects on the Back Burner, and in the Slow Cooker

The past several weeks have been relatively uneventful. Life has, for me, been plodding along though the ever-present residual mire of angst and despair, having once or twice been whipped up into a good thick miasma. But, that’s just how things go. Sleep has been elusive, mostly due to anxiety, and depression has generally sapped my physical strength.

Still, I’ve been doing well—Losing weight (though not as quickly as I’d like), carrying on at physical therapy for my knee (meniscus torn on two sides), and trying to come back to my martial arts, practicing three of my baguazhang forms, and learning a double stick kata in my Okinawan boxing. It’s often fun combining the theory and techniques of such disparate arts.

As I’ve already complained about the anemic sales of my book, I shan’t do so again here. The best advice I’ve received about that is to simply keep on writing. And so that is what I intend to do, for now.

The funny thing is, I don’t know if I consider myself a Writer™. I feel more like a fellow who has a few stories he’d like to tell. But I just don’t feel the burning passion to be constantly writing, like Ray Bradbury, or Neil Gaiman, or George Luis Borges, or any number of others. Maybe it’s the depression. Maybe it’s my adult ADHD. But, now that I’ve finished my first novel, I do have a few projects planned:

Galatea: This was meant to be a SciFi retelling of the myth of Pygmalion, in novella form. Of course, this theme has been done to death, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, to the superb Alex Garland film, Ex Machina. In fact, while some of my book is already sketched out, along with some of the dialogue, I have placed it on the back burner. Rather than address the question of sentience or sapience, my interest in such artificial life forms has more to do with emotions—That is, could an android ever be able to feel emotion, or is that the purview of biological entities? After all, intelligence is a fairly common trick in nature. Still, I don’t know that I could bring anything new to the subject.

Despoinae: This is to be a play. I have already outlined the main points, and have written about four pages worth already. The idea was a meeting in the afterlife of three women who had been victims of men’s pride and lust, and were themselves made to suffer instead of their abusers. The women I chose were Hypatia of Alexandria; Queen Vashti, known to us only through the Megilla and Midrashes, and Medousa (no relation at all to the Medousa of myth, but a young priestess in the far distant past, who was raped and murdered, and around whose name, the legends and myths grew). I even have a chorus of Seirens led by the Moirae.

Bragi’s Ignominy: This is going to be a collection of poetry and narrative fragments. I chose the name based upon Bragi’s position as God of Poetry in Norse myth.

Rhea: I am hoping to finish this as a short story or novelette before the year is out, as my own tribute to the character of Wonder Woman, who is celebrating her 75th anniversary this fall as a character. I have been rather disappointed in how “badass” Diana is often portrayed these days in comics, and I wanted to show a super heroine who does not, in fact, enjoy resorting to violence.

Kore’s Mercy: This novella is planned as an uncalled for, and unasked for, sequel to Medousa. It’s already plotted out and half written, but I find it difficult to maintain interest, because it really is unnecessary. I suppose I could tell you what it’s about; but then I would be spoiling the end of Medousa.

Necuratu: A polishing up of an old short story I once wrote about a vampire attack. It was written a long time ago when I was railing against the nerfing of the legends by those who began romanticizing and sexualizing the myths (coug-hcough-anne-rice-cough).

Scarlet’s Tale: This was a request from a friend. She wanted a mildly erotic urban fantasy about a faerie living incognito in the big city, trying to avoid the more predatory males about town. So far, I’ve got a lot of background mapped out, but I’ve been a bit embarrassed to start writing it just yet. It’ll probably be a novelette.

And finally, I also have memoirs that I am thinking of reorganizing and putting into more entertaining prose. My current plan is to arrange it in six or seven novellettes, and use the same form as Shen Fu’s Six Records of a Floating Life (of which only four are known to exist). This is, of course, dependent on the assumption that bits of my life have been interesting enough to actually merit publication.

Were I a Real Writer, I have no doubt that these projects would be coming far more easily to me. As it is, I flit from project to project, depending upon my mood. I’ll do research for one, writing dialogue for another, editing notes for this one, and sketching outlines for that one. But, as I noted in my previous post on writing, the best thing an author can do to improve his or her sales, is to simply continue writing.

Another goal for this year will have to be to write a positive, upbeat blog post. Eventually. It’s only late February, after all.

 

About Michael Butchin

I was born, according to the official records, in the Year of the Ram, under the Element of Fire, when Johnson ruled the land with a heavy heart; in the Cradle of Liberty, to a family of bohemians. I studied Chinese language and literature at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. I spent some years in Taiwan teaching kindergarten during the day, and ESOL during the evenings. I currently work as a faceless drone in a corporate call center, and am an unlikely martial artist. I have spent much of my life amongst actors, singers, movie stars, beautiful cultists, Taoist immortals, renegade monks, and at least one martial arts tzaddik. I currently reside in my dead grandparents’ house, alone, with an impressive collection of martial arts weapons, where I practice and train daily. I am not currently on any medications.
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