Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A snippet from Spellbinder

Look, things are just starting to settle down, Cameron said. I mean, it’s, you know, there’s a house and I live there with some people and they’re nice, and I’m in school and I have some friends, and, you know, it’s–it’s–

Roland pushed the walker around and looked at him, the one green eye reflecting endless patience.

Normal, he managed. Just, you know, ordinary.

The single eye watched him, unmoving.

And I don’t know what I want to do. He didn’t mean to say this much. He couldn’t seem to stop. I mean normal’s okay. Normal’s fine. But what we did was so–

Again Roland waited him out. Not a flicker of expression crossed that scarred face.

Cool, Cameron finished, a poor choice of words for everything he felt.

Then you have a problem, said Roland, which was a relief; for a while there Cameron wondered if he was talking to himself. You cannot be ordinary and extraordinary at the same time, as I’m sure you know.

Jen speaking: I'm closing in on the end of this thing. I think it's gonna end in a bad spot and I don't know what to do about that. When Big Steve wrote the second or third part of The Dark Tower, he ended it with Our Heroes on a train, which just happened to be possessed by a psychotic computer that was hurtling them all toward certain doom. (Flashback: This must have been 1991 because I'd just graduated from college and was on my way to, or from, California with my then-boyfriend, Noah. It was my turn to drive and I only had like twenty pages left. Somehow I talked him into reading me the rest while I drove. After a few pages he kind of got into it. He started doing different voices for the different characters, including this dull monotone for the psychotic computer, and when he got to the non-ending, he said, "Well, that sucks.") The ending I have in mind may be just as sucky as far as being nonconclusive. Will it be as bad as Smilla Jaspersen hopping from one ice floe to another in the far north of Greenland, hoping to find other humans before she freezes to death? I dunno, but I'm afraid it's not going to make anybody happy, including me.

What do you do, when you're in the middle of a trilogy and there's no good place to go from Book Two to Book Three? Or Book One to Book Two, for that matter. Ol' Tolkein picked a hell of a place to end The Fellowship of the Ring, with the good guys split up and the bad guys in charge, but somehow you had total faith that Frodo was gonna make it to Mordor with Samwise, Aragorn was gonna catch up with the orcs that made off with Merry and Pippin and kill all one hundred and thirty of them, by himself with no help, and Gondor was going to stand up against the forces of darkness for a little while longer, or at least long enough for Gandalf to show back up from wherever the hell he'd been. Course you had total faith because Tolkein wrote the whole trilogy in the 1950s and this was 2002. I hain't written part three yet. I think I know where it's going, sort of, but I thought that about part two and it hared off in this totally unplanned direction. Fiction does that. It's got nerve.

I mean, I guess I could push it a little bit farther. Invent some cliffhanger or other with the misbehaving psychiatrist or the obnoxious drug runner. Give the mousy accountant some moral dilemma where he could do the right thing-again-and doesn't-again. I could even force the whole story another hundred pages or so to the big betrayal at the Manhattan Bar and Grill in downtown Chalchuapa. But I think that'd be a bad idea. For one thing, I haven't found a publisher for the first one yet. For another thing, every time I push something past where it wants to go it has this bad habit of dying on me. Eight hundred pages into a trilogy is no place to drop dead. For a third thing, I'm tired. It's not easy, this God game. In case you were wondering.

Am I whining? I guess I am. Okay, I'll shut up for now. But if you're one of those people who watched the end credits after The Empire Strikes Back and thought you might have to kill yourself immediately if you didn't find out what happened to Han Solo before the three year intermission, you might wanna just wait until I get all three of 'em out there. Forewarned is half an octopus and all that.

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