In related news, I'm in another WriteClub. This one is different from DL Hammons' WRiTE CLUB in that it is spelled differently, plus its full title is WriteClubCo, which is the first indication that it's a local affair, meaning that I interact with people instead of computer monitors ("Co" is the grammatically incorrect abbreviation of Colorado).
The club is all but a reunion of former Borders coworkers. We had our first meeting in years last night, and much of it was spent simply catching up. Only a few of us were there in the final days of the store we all worked at together (in Colorado Springs, the Southgate location, on the off chance you might care about such details). Scott Quine, the general manager at the time I originally started working at this location (I originated at Borders when Burlington, MA, got its store in 2006), put the club together, something he'd begun elsewhere, which was how Lorraine Wright became a part of it. (I still remember when Lorraine transferred to the store, the first one since me. I guess I felt my gimmick had been infringed.)
Also present last night besides Scott and Lorraine were Christy Koffman Smith (whose tenure at Borders was complicated because she worked as the vendor representative of Paperchase, and the company made this difficult in its final years) and Kelsey Kramer, who knows weird veterinarian terms. Lorraine brought her husband along, plus pictures of her cats, and stories about her ferrets!
It was fun getting some of the band back together. I had only participated in the club once before, during which Christy memorably read a story about buttons. Thanks to "Project Mayhem" (still accepting submissions!) I've had a chance to catch up with her creatively, and even got a preview of the story she read last night, which I've been encouraging her to expand into a novel.
It's funny, because most of the meeting was spent talking about things other than writing, which I actually think was a good thing. As us bloggers know, talking about writing can be perfectly fine and certainly encouraging, but if that's all you talk about, it can be limiting. After all, a writer isn't just someone who writes but who observes.
For my part, I read a story based on the Space Corps, part of my continuing effort to begin writing more Space Corps rather than simply plotting out the saga. Last year I made more progress on that front than at any other point in my writing history besides 2002 (with bleeds into 2001 and 2003), when I wrote, or attempted to write, the foundation myth of the Galactic Alliance, where the excerpt "Quagmire" comes from that's featured in Monorama (my Facebook page for the collection is up to 22 people who "like" it, including a bunch of random individuals who may or may not have been confused by its title to believe it's something other than what it is). I wrote several short stories last year, including "Warship" and "Who Killed Iron Joe?," both of which can be found at Sigild V, my writing blog, plus began writing Seven Thunders. The story I read last night, "George Jackman and the Monastery of Burnside," ties into both Seven Thunders and the greater Space Corps saga, as it reveals certain details in a moment in time for both Lance Nolan (star of Seven Thunders) and Lord Phan (who is featured in "Quagmire" and several other points in the saga).
This year I will be finishing Seven Thunders and shopping it around, plus writing "Darkness Falls on a Dark Land," which explains a little more about the foundation myth of the Galactic Alliance (it'll be serialized at Sigild), as well as at least begin writing The Dark Side of Space, the second volume of the Space Corps saga and prequel to Seven Thunders. If I indeed finish Dark Side of Space, I'll be reaching completely unfamiliar territory for me, since the next three books will at least in theory be far longer than anything else I've written.
It was interesting reading "George Jackman," because along with all the talk I've been doing here and the few stories over at Sigild, this is the biggest public exposure of Space Corps to date. A decade ago, when I wrote the abortive story behind "Quagmire," I kept most of the details of the saga close to the vest. Of course,a decade ago key elements of the saga had yet to coalesce, and in fact that story had a big hand in shaping what it would become. Like George Lucas, I believe that a sprawling space saga needs specific points on which to rotate, otherwise it's just a bunch of random stories. That's what Seven Thunders as the first book is meant to address, and why even an apparent throwaway tale like "George Jackman" needs to address important elements, and why "Who Killed Iron Joe?" explains the origins of another key character in Seven Thunders (and why I was both sad and happy recently when a tiny publisher rejected it for an upcoming anthology).
The title of this post, meanwhile, refers to the fact that I am currently in the midst of watching an Alfred Hitchcock DVD collection. As the two films based on Hitchcock himself that were released last year suggest, he was indeed fond of the ladies, but what I've taken away so far is that his films do in fact put them in very prominent positions, even if sometime the camera leers at them the way Hitchcock himself apparently did. It's a way of saying that the themes that define us are hard to get away from. WriteClubCo reminds me (and hopefully you) that I was part of a similarly named club last year. Much of my experience with other writers has been in environments like this, though previously only in school. I don't do workshops. Workshops are for writers who haven't discovered their voice. If I haven't discovered mine yet, then I am a failure. Maybe workshops also help with connections, and maybe I should take them more seriously because of that, because I have few enough writing connections. WriteClubCo is one of mine, and I intend to value it.
I also have what's quickly amounting to a writing history, which at the moment I'm defining by Space Corps, which is long in coming, because I've been making a go of these stories in theory since 1995. That's a long time gestating! I'm also attempting to get Modern Ark (previously known as Finnegan) off the ground. I just wrote a new prologue, "Before Finnegan Wakes" (thus alluding to part of the reason why I've decided to change its title, just so no one is confused about whether or not I'm calling to mind James Joyce), which can be found at Sigild. I still strongly believe in Modern Ark, even though it may be something of a conceptual nightmare for some. I recently went on a binge watching Tarsem's The Fall, which has been a favorite of mine since its release. It's a personal work of great brilliance, yet it's a movie that you truly have to follow in order to appreciate, steeped in a very specific mythology. Modern Ark is a little like that. Actually, quite a bit like that. And the other problem of waiting to see Modern Ark published is that Minor Contracts can perhaps best be appreciated in relation to it. Even though it's mostly a story of Adam & Eve (and Cain, and Abel), there's a good chunk of it that also challenges the reader to rethink their relationship with religion, which is part of what Modern Ark is about, when it isn't about vampires (in the sense of Stoker, not Meyer).
If you've actually read all of this, thank you and congratulations. I suppose it's another way of restating my goals for 2013, plus being thankful that I have some people I know personally who may very well be rooting for me.