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Saturday, September 1, 2012

David Malki ! and Robert Silverberg Light The Way

An Illuminating Novel

Do you ever feel lost, as if no one understands you, and that you don’t understand how you arrived at this juncture in your life?  Somewhere along the way, did you veer off the path you should have taken?  Is it possible to return to your true path now, or are you utterly, irretrievably lost?

As yesterday’s blog might have indicated, I’d really like to attend Worldcon and Dragoncon.  (I’ve attended one Worldcon, but have yet to attend Dragoncon).  Of the two, perhaps Worldcon might best fit my interests, for above everything else I yearn to find people among whom I can share my thoughts and reflections about the science fiction and fantasy stories I love.  

For whatever reason, I don’t work well in crowds, and have never found the friends in fandom I have sought.  Nor do I have a good way of introducing myself.  Although I’ve written several novels, I’ve only finished my first, and I’ve lost faith in that story.  I would have to do lots of work before I could regain my previous belief in its salability.  (So I guess it’s not really finished either).  But even if I had a manuscript, and was ready to submit it, I know I wouldn’t elbow my way through the crowds that besiege every book editor in order to demand his or her attention.

I’m currently nearing completion of the first draft of my second dragon novel.  (At least I think I am!)  Although I’ve performed a line-by-line spelling and grammar edit on the first, I felt I needed to write the sequel before I could evaluate the concepts involved in the first and make some basic story decisions, such as the level of development (industrial, scientific, technological) in several different cultures.  Also, I’m trying to mix fantasy elements like dragons and magic with science fiction concepts like physics and real-world technology. Writing this second novel is helping me better understand dragon culture in my fantasy world, and so I hold out hope that when I finish it, I can take a look at the first novel with fresh eyes and make some sound story choices. 

Working this way, with only my instincts and rationale to guide me, is difficult.  Sometimes I yearn for others’ insight.  Yet I’m not comfortable with critique groups.  I’ve participated in them in the past, and while the other writers could tell me how they might write their version of my novel, their suggestions never helped me make those final, crucial, story decisions.  So I struggle on, with only my muse to guide me, because that’s all I have.

Caution: Artist at Work!

Right now, I feel like the cat in two recent Wondermark comics by David Malki !  The cat feels lost at this point in his life, and even his owner has given up on him.  So I look to the Watcher, in Robert Silverberg’s Nightwings, for hope.  Even though the Watcher has stopped believing in himself, he continues doing what he’s always believed is right.  Eventually, his refusal to give up, to abandon his beliefs and practices, is vindicated.  But even after he wins back his self-respect, he still struggles to find the ultimate meaning of his existence. 

Like the cat in the Wondermark comics, I worry that all my efforts have been for naught.  I know so many others have stopped believing in me.  Like the Aztecs, I fear that I shall live forever in darkness.  Yet, like the Watcher, I choose to believe I can resolve the problems before me, and make those final, crucial story choices.  So I continue on, in search of the dawn.  

Dragon Dave

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