Both of you who follow this blog (okay, both is an exaggeration) have probably noted that I’ve been lax in posting since Raceboy and Super Qwok Adventures was published. And you might think that this is because I am working on yet another groundbreaking project that will change the lives of people everywhere (although everywhere is, again, exaggeration). Actually, this is not the case. The truth is I haven’t been able to finish anything. The true truth is that I haven’t been able to start anything. I’ve just been spinning my mental wheels and turning in circles and bumping into walls.
One of the walls I bumped into resulted in an idea that has been blooming in the fields of my mind, taking shape, coming into focus, growing clearer from the moment it arrived unbidden. It is not an idea for a new Raceboy and Super Qwok Adventure. Instead, it is a very personal project. Here is the kernel:
Even writers who self-publish seek assistance from their peers during he publishing process. They meet with writing friends to discuss their outline, or they share excerpts of their draft with online peers for edits. A friend may create the cover, or they may acquire an image from a website that captures the idea of the book. In a hundred ways a self-published book may actually be the result of a collaborative effort between the author and his friends and family. With a book published by a traditional publishing house, this collaborative synergy is compounded by editors, proofreaders, graphic artists, copywriters, and typographers, all of whom work together to craft a final project that is greater than the initial concept created by the author.
The idea that I had is simply this: To create a book that has had zero input from anyone else at any point from its creation to its composition to its proofreading to its typesetting to its book design to its publication. 100% me. I control everything. I’m to blame for everything. It seems like every book I read has an acknowledgements page where the author thanks all his friends for the suggestions to help keep the story laser sharp, or a thank you to a librarian who helped dig up the details of the time the Confederate cannons began their onslaught on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg (I think Shelby Foote reported it as 1:07 p.m.).
I want to create a project where the acknowledgement page reads simply, “A big thank you to me for coming up with the inspiration for this project. And I also spent a great many hours offering suggestions to myself on how to improve the story. My editing skills, while probably imperfect, were vastly better than this project would have been if I hadn’t shown up. I’d also like to thank the team of me and me who put together the look of this book and really made it stand out for my readers. And a final thank you to me for believing like the vain narcissist that I am that this project could matter to anyone in the world except me.”
The more I think about a project like this, a sort of literary biosphere experiment, the more appealing I find the idea of attempting to carry it out. I do have a story idea that I don’t think I’ve every had anyone else read. It’s a concept I’ve been meaning to revisit for over a decade. Oddly enough, I think the story itself is thematically congruous with the concept of inclusiveness, justifying the means to the end.
I may have more to say on this subject after a couple of days of thinking through what direction I may be going with it. I should point out to both of my readers that summer is coming, and that’s when I’ll really have the time to attack it full force.