The Creative Endeavors Thread Wallows in the Past

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Hey folks, the “Paper Chase” Guy once again, this week to remember long-ago projects.

I basically gave up writing almost three years ago, and though I’ve continued to work with storytelling both through webcomic plots and single-panel images, I’ve rarely if ever dipped my toes back into my former creative vocation. That said, there’s been a lingering bit of unfinished business, namely my second novel Pretty Little World, which I finished in 2013, intending to edit it after some time had passed and I was less attached to the story and writing (all the better to “kill my darlings,” as one must). I got three chapters into it, was distracted, and then a whole host of other priorities got in the way: moving to my present digs, starting to date again, the relationship, and then the breakup, which brought an end not only to my relationship but also to my writing “career” (if you want to call it that; I was continuing to write throughout, but somehow the discipline needed for that level of longform editing wasn’t there). Ever since I turned to all the other stuff I’ve been doing, the first draft (with three chapters edited) has gathered dust in my closet, and every now and again I’d think “maybe I should finish with that sucker.” In the midst of my cleaning campaign for the autumn, it turned up again, and I made editing the rest an official priority. It was super humid around here last week, so I went by the library after work Thursday night and sat down with it for the first time in five years.

I started it as a half-serious satire of the super-glum baristas at a nearby cafe, but it quickly turned, to my great surprise, into a thinly-veiled roman a clef of my old job (at another small cafe where I had a lot more responsibility than at my present job but which paid little and often sucked) and especially my relationship with my former boss. A few other things on my mind at the time slotted pretty easily into the narrative and I was happily surprised at how much of it seems to hold up (at least to me, not to say there aren’t more than a few boneheaded and ill-advised passages and phrasings). I was able to get eleven chapters in that night (so about a third of the way through) and finished yesterday morning (maybe to finalize the edits in-document this week or at most early next). There’s next to no likelihood that it’ll ever get published, but it’d be nice to have around, along with my first novel (Delight of Shadows, more of a straight fantasy though with Earthly connections) and a planned collection of my favorite short stories. If nothing else, they’ll be fun to show my niece when she’s old enough.

Header: The Sphinx, from Description de l’Egypte, the collected findings of the scholars and scientists who accompanied Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798: a historical wallow in much farther history for the time (been reading War and Peace the past couple of weeks and the Napoleonic example is much on my mind).

Tell us about your old projects! Particularly, were there any good ideas, stories, or pieces you abandoned or forgot that you were suddenly inspired to take up again for whatever reason? I think the question’s been asked before, but maybe there are new answers.