Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Dreaming

Instead of telling you what I want to do, I will do it. In full. And take you on that journey.

However, a plan must be laid out, of course. So here's my normal drivel.

I was 23 years old, in my last semester at college, when I decided, with the conviction that a 23-year-old usually has (not as stubborn as the conviction of an 8-year-old, but stronger than a 32-year-old's) to become a fiction writer.

Back when I was 14, I was very sure I would be a horror writer. However, the things I could think of and write were very scary for me, so that soon gave way to science fiction, which I thought was a higher discipline than fantasy, for some reason. Probably because it involved science or something.

Anyway, horror writer, sci-fi author, fantasy, dark fantasy, urban dark fantasy, alternative history, comic book writer - all those dreams gave way to becoming a businessman by the time I was 16. By 17 years of age, I wanted to become a currency  speculator because George Soros was the only guy who could slug it out with the Almighty Dr M at the time - or so I thought.

I wanted to become a Super-Soros and use my currency speculating powers for good. And THEN, by the time I'm 55, retire and start writing books. That was the plan.

In college, I failed two subjects during matriculation and instead of taking the extra special semester to retake them, I spent several weeks at my friends' university - MMU - and watched anime all day, every day.

This stunt meant I would have to be a semester late before choosing my major. I couldn't take languages or writing because those things were dead ends in a future Dr M believed would be full of engineers, contractors, scientists and programmers. A utopia without orators, writers and politicians. A country - nay, a world - governed by scientists and technopeople.

The arts were frowned upon, and fiction is inferior to non-fiction, though we all know now how the two to be inseparable, really, or hardly distinguishable.

SO blablabla, I took computer science because it had no drawings in it, and we are back to the time I am finishing the degree at 23.

I realised then that there is only one thing I ever want to do - to write fiction. I had a dream. A real one.

So I sought out the recipe and path I should take. The greatest writer who ever lived (and he's still living) is Neil Gaiman. After failing to publish his short stories at 22, he became a journalist for eight years and then quit to become the most successful comics writer in human history and  the best all-rounder when it comes to books, movies, short stories, in any genre or form.

So I followed his path. Shadowed it, in fact. I sent my stories in order to fail to get published. I sent them to Bantam, Del Rey, Random, all, manuscripts and ideas, half-finished short stories with little apologetic notes to the poor sods who had to read them.

I sent to international as well as local publishers, fully intending to fail to get published.

Then, horror of horrors - I got published. One of my short stories was chosen for Silverfish III.

I didn't know what to do. I mean, I was supposed to follow the recipe, the plan. Fuck.

So I decided to become a journalist anyway, since having even 50% of Gaiman's life would be fantastic than having none at all.

I passed the eight year mark last year, pleasantly surprised that I was no longer a journalist, that I had published a book, written three movies that actually made it to the big screen and hundreds of assorted articles in newspapers.

The plan, though, the journey, was fucked. I have never written a single published comic book, I didn't get to  co-author a book with Neil Gaiman - a prospect which if given at any time in my life, I would have dropped everything and went for - and I was still in the media industry.

A few weeks ago, I dusted off a couple of unfinished short stories I wrote when I was 19 and 25, and sat down, and finished them. I found that thing again that place, that source where stories come from, where the energy originated. I tapped into it and for some moments, I felt truly alive. I felt immortal.

I felt like I could fuck anyone I wanted and I really want to fuck Scarlett Johansson.

I don't know where life will take me - having a plan or not, it happens as it happens any way it wants to happen at the moment - but I am sure of one thing. That I would eventually, no matter how many years or effort I have to put in, be writing fiction again. Lots of it.

Right now, they are neatly compartmentalised into manageable weekend hunkerings and mad dashes on Saturdays and Sundays. I would love to take a week off and just write stuff.

This is happening right now. I am finishing a movie script for a small project and have just found avenues for the first love of my life - comic books.

In the end, I want to look back on this year and see a respectable body of work.