Writing about the WIP made me realize how wrapped up in one set of characters I have been, and while they are a vast lot of folks, since I first typed the initial manuscript in spring 2009, I’ve been inundated with the same people. Now, they’re not real of course, but they are pretty encompassing. Yet as those last two novels inch closer to publication, a light shines, as if I’ve been walking down a long tunnel. There is life past Jenny, Alvin, Sam, and Tommie.
I’ve had a few busy years, so a nice array of manuscripts awaits, once I’m clear of this station. I can catch a new train, leave those lovely characters behind, but who will populate the next journey? I have a couple which I’m leaning toward, a revolving door of familiar faces, voices reminiscent from 2009 and 2010. Those were wordy years, and 2011 wasn’t bad either. But as I’ve said, I won’t attack all those drafts; there just isn’t time and I don’t want to work that hard. I’ve poured my heart into Alvin’s Farm, but something less demanding is preferred.
It’s also odd thinking I won’t do any more with Jenny, Alvin, Sam, and Tommie than poke through their stories like a bystander, an outsider, even if I know how it all ties together. Once those books are out of my hands, goodness, it’s like cutting off a limb that you really thought you needed. But guess what? You don’t. Or I don’t; they turn out like so many others, only alive when I happen to open that digital file. Hence the title; like it or not, baby, I am gonna shut you down.
There’s no other choice, a writer has to move on. The next possible project was written in summer 2009, but takes place in autumn 2013, a ghost story, a love story too. A Scent of Heaven also examines San Jose, California, the city with the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam. The Bay Area’s arid climate is a very different setting compared to Oregon’s damp Willamette Valley.
But for now, I’m still grappling with the Cassels, Smiths, and Alvin Harris. I think, and it might just be that I’m still so close to them, Alvin might be one of my favorites, quickly followed by Jenny, Sam, and Tommie. But for as much as I love them, it is time to start shutting this baby down.