The image above succinctly explains where I am at. As of this August it has been exactly 2 years since I started writing my fantasy novel Where Things Went. I wrote a blog post last year around the same time celebrating the completion of the Act I rough draft. It was truly exhilarating to have finished something even if it was only a 33k word novella and the first part of a grander narrative. I was so satisfied I naively thought I could go back, do a couple rounds of revisions/edits, and then maybe release Act I fully to the public.
This was a fun topic of discussion towards end of 2022 and beginning of 2023. Now I find myself incredibly tired of the conversation. Especially because I see worse and worse hot-takes from well-meaning people who don’t take a moment to consider the implications of what they’re saying. AI “art” took the internet by storm and caused a tremendous uproar for quite some time, just as crypto, NFTs, and other technological advancements have done and are doing with increasing frequency in our manic modern world. If you read no further, please, be considerate of others. Even if our tech oligarch overlords are not considerate, you should be.
In my defense, I did read The Hobbit as a kid. I’m not a total Tolkien freeloader. I remember quite a lot about Bilbo and his silly adventures despite not having read the book in 16 years. Tolkien had an unmistakable way of evoking wonderful warm feelings that stick with you for a very long time. Of course, I also watched the movies (not all of The Hobbit ones as those kind of disappointed me). And I have absorbed an absolute plethora of The Lord of the Rings stories through speaking with friends, online discussions, video games, etc.
This list was not compiled by online internet searches, dutiful research, or any sort of premeditated concerted effort. Instead, it is a list compiled over years of listening. A personal list of over 600 words I want to share with you.
Put up your dukes! Pump blood! Adrenaline! Even the pacifist enjoys a good fight so long as it stays fictional. But narrative excitement is not only from a chin to check. As much as I dislike drama in my own personal life, it drives a powerful motivation. An unfortunate accident! A terrible rumor. An unfathomable monster. Or even a spectacular celebration. All these ride the highs of climactic reward so desired from a dutiful audience who rode a narrative journey to this high place.
If you may indulge me for a moment, I would like to share with you a great victory I have achieved. I have written a story. A complete story, albeit only the first Act of a grander narrative, a complete story nonetheless. It was through this process of writing from August of 2021 to August of 2022 that I discovered so much about myself. A quarter-lifetime of hesitation, of doubt, of weightlessness was cast aside. In retrospect so much anxiety in my life was self-inflicted. An untamed imagination with no outlet to out-pour vivid dreams!
Reading through this graphic novel adaptation of The Great Gatsby reminded me of how stupid public school is. American “education”. Even if the original book is a great American classic, why on Earth should a 21st century teenager care about what a bunch of overly dramatic rich people from the roaring 20’s are up to? I haven’t read this book since high school. But, this colorful, abbreviated version makes a bit more sense now.