This post is mostly going to be a bit of housekeeping, etc. So if you’re a regular you should probably stick around for this, but if you’re not I doubt you’ll find anything in here you’ll care about.
Since the end of the Cynthia story is coming into sight, I’m starting to think about my next project and what I want to do here on Medium. I’ve learned a lot in the course of The Stone by the Stream — but one of the things I’ve learned is that I don’t want to use this format when it comes to writing long-form fiction in the future. From now on, any long-form fiction I write needs to be my own private thing, at least until the first draft is completed — and maybe on through the first few rounds of editing. As is, The Stone by the Stream has a few glaring imperfections and needs to be edited into a coherent whole.
I think it was Neil Gaiman who said the first draft is just a matter of getting the thing out there, and with the second draft you make it look like you knew what you were doing the whole time. Big truth there.
So the end is in sight for Cynthia, and today I finally got a rough idea of how the thing’s going to end. It might take a week or two to get there, but it’s on the way.
Which means it’s time for me to start thinking about two things: what my next fiction project is going to be, and what the heck am I gonna do on Medium?
As far as the first question goes, I don’t have much to say here. I have a few days (at least) to pretend to think about it before jumping into the next project — at which I’ll end up starting a story that suits my mood at the time. We’ll see how that goes.
And anyway, nobody other than me is going to see or hear anything about that story for several months, or maybe even a year or more. Who knows how long it might end up being?
(And come to think of it, here’s one thing I’ve learned from writing The Stone by the Stream: I actually do have the follow-through and the discipline to write novels. Which is something I’ve always been afraid I don’t have. So for those of you who have stuck around through the whole thing… you may not have realized it, but you’ve helped me get over probably my biggest creative block. You helped me realize I really do have it in me to write novels. You already know who you are, and I do too — and I just want to say how grateful I am to you for helping me develop that confidence. Long-term writing projects have always intimidated me, but now I know I can do it. Thank you.)
So on to the second question: what am I gonna do on Medium once Cynthia’s over and done with? Because having to come up with a post idea every day just isn’t going to work — not if I’m going to be working on a novel, plus my poetry, plus my LinkedIn posting. It’s going to need to be something semi-formalized, so I can have a predictable type of post to put up daily.
I realize the way I put that makes it sound super lame, so let me just tell you what I’m thinking.
The first thing I’m thinking (which I expect nobody will be interested in, but I love the idea so it’s the first one I’m mentioning) is a section-by-section commentary on Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time. I’ve been revisiting it over the last month or so, reading a section a day, and I’d just love to be able to really dig into it and engage with the text. I never feel like I really understand something until I can explain it in my own words, so this would be a chance to engage with one of the most profound books of the 20th century and (who knows?) maybe inspire others with an interest in Heidegger’s work.
(You know how it is. My degree is in Philosophy, so there’s part of me that wants to deeply engage with Heidegger, Plato, and a few others… writing commentaries until my thinking develops to the point where I’m ready to write original works.)
But enough of that. Second thing I’m thinking: daily commentaries/interpretations of poems. (You’ll notice I’m really wanting to write commentaries for some reason.) The idea here is pretty similar to the philosophical commentaries, but with poetry instead. A little like what I did a couple days ago with Sexton’s “Where I Live in this Honorable House of the Laurel Tree,” but more strictly focused on the poem in question and less focused on speculating about aesthetics and the meaning of poetry in general.
Just like with philosophy, the idea here is to develop my understanding of poetry — engaging with the tradition in order to carry it on in a way that both honors the tradition and suits our own time. (A very Heideggerian thought, btw…)
A wrinkle with the poetry: there’s a potential that this could have more involvement from you — because I’d be more than willing to take requests that I engage with a personal favorite poem of yours. That’d be a great way to encounter poems and poets I may never otherwise have encountered.
Third, I’m thinking biblical commentaries. (Yes, I have commentaries on the brain.) By now we’ve been through this explanation twice, so you don’t need me to explain it a third time.
Anyway, that’s what I’m thinking at this point. I’m not committed to any of these ideas at this point, and I may end up doing something totally different. If I have a sudden flash of inspiration, if everybody tells me all these ideas are boring and lame, or if somebody has another suggestion that catches my imagination, I may end up doing something totally different.
But that’s what I’m noodling on right now. Any thoughts, any suggestions, etc., would be very much appreciated. You like these ideas? You hate these ideas? Lemme know.
And again: thank you.