Having finished a novel…
I am now in that awkward spot where I need something more to write before the regular flow of ideas stops gushing out of the well. And unlike the last finished novel, this time I haven’t chosen a follow-up project to work on already.
It’s not that ideas don’t already exist, some of which have existed for many years. The problem is that I need something i can keep going on that won’t be derailed by further health crises or the possibility that Donald Trump may get reelected dictator for life. It needs to be a durable, fireproof idea.
Here’s the ideas I already have…
Kingdoms Under the Earth is a character study about a core group the Norwall Pirates falling victim to a mysterious and possibly fatal virus. This idea existed long before the pandemic of Covid 19. But it seems timely to take something like this up now. Especially if it is the last novel I write because this pandemic eventually kills me.
The story starts with Blueberry Bates, a transgender girl, falling victim to the mysterious illness. She fails to make it to school one day, and the other Pirates soon learn she is in the hospital in a coma. Mike Murphy, the love of Blueberry’s life, is distraught and worried that Blue is going to die. Tim Kellogg, the leader of the Pirates, gets a message from the fairy kingdom that the only way to cure Blueberry is to get sick too and go searching for her kidnapped soul-seed in the Kingdoms under the Earth. Of course, we as intelligent readers would realize that Tim is excessively imaginative and this is, in reality, a very bad idea. But Mike will try anything to be with Blue again. Mike kisses Blueberry on the lips and gets sick too. And Mike’s older sister, Dilsey Murphy, vows to rescue both of them and kisses Blueberry too.
Tim, of course, feels responsible for the three sick kids in comas, and he has a secret crush on Dilsey. So, he kisses Dils on the lips. And of course, four kids searching blindly in the realms of Purgatory isn’t quite enough. Just because he has nothing better to do, young Leo Toy also kisses Dilsey on the lips after she becomes ill, and joins the group in the realm of pestilence. Nobody seems to like him anyway, so he figures if they all five die, then at least he will have been a part of the group about something.
I know that is a pretty squirrely-sounding idea, but if Francis of Assissi can preach to the birds, then I should be allowed to write novels for squirrels.
I could also choose to tell the even older story I call There’s Music in the Forest.
This is the story of Dabney Calhoon, the autistic son of the late Joe and Sassy Calhoon who had the child late in life. Too late, as it seems they waited until only four years before they both succumb to stroke and old age.
The story is told by a school counsellor who worked with the boy after the authorities have returned him to foster parents following the year he spent living as a total wild child in the Sumpter Park woods.
Dabney was believed to be autistic, unable to talk, read, or write. But the school counsellor discovers he can do all three. He has apparently taken the books My Side of the Mountain and The First Jungle Book as his guidebooks for living off the land. How he lived in the wild for a year comes out slowly because he will only tell the story in the form of poetry. And somehow the guidance counsellor has to interpret all of it to help the boy learn to live with his foster family once again.
The choice is basically between those two novel ideas. I am, however, also working on another book of essays I am calling Mickey’s Rememberries. And I am about half way through the next AeroQuest book, Book Four. It goes without saying, I will definitely be working on those two projects also.
If you would like to have input on this decision, by all means, tell me in the comments how dumb you think these ideas are, and I promise to ignore everything but what I myself want to do.