10 Aug 2014

The End of an Era

If you’ve been following my various musings on this blog, you may be wondering: what happened to the Poem of the Week? Is he back from his trip yet—or has something eaten him?

Well, I am not writing this in the stomach of some creature, rest assured; and I am back, too.

The Poem of the Week will restart itself after the Necromancer has been published. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy writing it, and I have no intention to stop altogether; but I have other priorities now. I should begin working with my cover artist from tomorrow. I have a publication date planned—though I won’t be revealing that just yet. And honestly? I need to publish everything, and begin working on something new.

I am a writer of novels before one of poetry. I feel... so much more alive and empowered when writing a book than a poem. I won’t deny the commercial allure—I’m not rich—but writing novels is just more fun and ultimately more satisfying.

That said, I have written two of my finer works while on my retreat. Those, however, I will try to get into higher visibility places. One in particular would be of interest to the likes of Stonewall, though the other may please a great many atheists...

But back to the point. The Poem of the Week won’t come until after the Necromancer’s publication date. I am working with a cover designer; I have planned a date; and most of all: I need to build up some buzz.

That is of incalculable importance. The Sandman has taught me that. It is so important, in fact, that I am not going to be publishing any essays or theoretical works until that date.

You can still, of course, read the poems that I’ve written thus far—there are ten of greater interest, and five more minor ones too—and go through past work using this blog’s archive utility.

This is not to say that I will not be writing anything at all on this blog. I am merely prioritising other venues (for I have decided this venue too crowded to try and gain attention at present).

I will be writing about me. This novel has practically changed my life—in scope and direction certainly, and perhaps even in wealth too (one can only hope). It has altered me as a person. I was a very rational creature before; I saw things too much in terms of goals and logic.

Now I see the subtler things in life. The things that can be, the fullfilment of living the life you desire; and all the small, emotional aspects of this existence. To put it short: I have realised that much of our life does not revolve upon objectivity and logic. We are more than that.

I do not believe my personal tales will garner this blog great attention—but that’s okay, because it means something to me. And I do have other ideas, as I’ve hinted.

When—hopefully when—readers start coming here (and I have taken great pains to tempt them) I will start releasing material pertinent to the Necromancer. Trivia; cuts; previous drafts. Indeed, I have written an entire short history on Arachadia, which I may expand further. So: do stick around—I have no intention of remaining unheard.

But now: to the title of this post.

The Necromancer: The End of an Era, and the Herald of a New Age

Think of me—at fourteen, on a grey October day—and understand my thoughts: I want to write a book. I have been a bookworm since I was five, and books became my life from age eight.

Some history is in order, is it not?

At age five I moved from Romania to England. I had been taught English... but not nearly enough. I struggled—at least for the first year. I was a difficult child. My teacher was... less than congenial. And honestly? I don’t think I would have liked myself then. I was spoiled, in many ways unpleasant, and very, very ignorant. Not stupid—I recall finding a colleague’s inability to correctly write ‘8’ immensely amusing—but ignorant.

Being in what was then a foreign country shook me a little. A lot, even. I had learned of a more difficult reality—and eventually I was forced to accept that, improve myself, and become a better person.

At first, books were a way to learn English. That proved extremely helpful, which instilled in me a great respect for them.

At eight I moved to Holland.

Again a foreign country; and though I now knew English quite well—most of the Dutch speak it, in case you didn’t know—life was difficult all the same. At first I couldn’t participate in the Dutch lessons; and those constituted half the day.

Commence the library. I lost myself there. I read books in a quantity that was really... awe-inspiring, for someone my age. I think I must have gone through 200 books—most of them non-fiction. For an eight year-old, I was the apogee of erudiation.

But more than the facts and the acumen and inalienable logic—books inculcated a wonder in the world. So much I did not know; and so much I wanted to know.

I experienced a personality change too. I was somewhat spoiled, proud and even a little vindictive before. I am still a little spoiled, proud and slightly vindictive—but I am also much more kind. That’s the crux of it all, at the end of the day. Children can be cruel. I said no. I had experienced some of that cruelty firsthand—you get that, being unable to speak a language at such an early age—and most importantly: I had seen its effect on the world.

And yet despite my new self, I still did not know the power of a story. I wouldn’t until two years later—once I’d spent my final year of primary school in England, and entered Secondary.

The Love of that Other World

I read 123 books in year 7—a yearly amount that surpassed even that of Holland. Most of those were fiction.

I believe my most impressive completion time for a book had been picking it up one morning and finishing it in the other. It was about 400 pages. A year later, I would beat that—I read a 500 page book within a day.

My most beloved book was Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. To this day, I still think it the best book I’ve ever read (though Narnia did come awfully close).

I had come to love the other world in which books talked of. My life was terribly troublesome—I had some detentions, problems at home, financial concerns—but in that world I saw a better future. A place far more exciting; a place of wonder, and magic. I had reached the peak of escapism—and boy it changed me.

Tales grew in my mind. They were the most detailed, elaborate fantasies: animal kingdoms, magicians, worlds of myth and magic; and even a certain being of powers infinite, whom I identified with. I have given it a name. I shall not speak of it now; but know that I have been keeping its tale within me for a very long time. I shall write it, eventually. Right now I have less challenging and (almost) equally interesting ones to tell.

Basically: by age ten I was a dreamer.

At fourteen I started to become an artist. A writer.

Writing the Necromancer

My first draft was terrible. You’ll get to see it, after the Necromancer is published.

Why, do you ask? Well, the answer is simple: I was totally unprepared. My teachers had taught me only the most basic of writing techniques; but worse was the fact that I did not know all the rules of punctuation, dialogue, paragraphing, etc.

I didn’t really plan it, either; a grave mistake. And I was a writer inchoate. I hadn’t truly discovered myself, my talent needed experience to grow; and I found it difficult, having not been enured in the difficulties of book writing.

But I didn’t stop.

Don’t get the wrong idea: I thought of doing it. I wondered how and if I would ever finish it. But I didn’t want to stop. I could no longer contain the ideas that bounced around my head—could not deny that itch in my fingers. Honestly, I had to do something about it.

To get an idea of what I’m talking about, imagine this: me, the sunless sky above; and me, not seeing the cars, the houses, or the people. Not hearing. Not knowing. Alone in my own world.

Somedays, I’m still like that.

In retrospect, I wouldn’t have written a full size novel. I would have created a novella: that would have been a more manageable endeavour, and still rather satisfying. (Especially compared to just writing poems.) And I would have planned it: that makes things so much easier, you know?

At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t matter. I wrote it. And I began to feel myself... growing.

I’m not certain exactly where in the book it became not a struggle, but a natural extension of my consciousness. My writing started to improve noticeably by about chapter twenty, but especially in chapter twenty one—an ironically minor one.

But it was not until chapter twenty nine— nearly three quarters of the way through—that the worlds really started to flow. The relationship between the mage whose life was upside down, and between the elf whose life was to be changed irrevocably... something about that really harmonised together.

The setting helped too. I’ve always been captured by two things: mountains, and forests. The Elven Forest has both. I had always wondered of the elves, too: of the beings unique, in tandem with nature; possessed by the allure of magic, and so different from us... yet so similar.

Not that I was in any way a master of my talent. I still aren’t... at least for now. Maybe I never will, for it is a gift fickle and mysterious and impervious to my acumen.

But I could write stuff people wanted to read.

I wonder if I should have stopped there, and wrote something else instead. The Necromancer was to prove a huge amount of work—and I knew that, deep down, though it took a while to accept. Maybe I was just too enamoured by my first work. It doesn’t matter, anyway.

What matters is that I rewrite most of it, and used my skills—which were improving by the day, having started writing poetry and seeing the extent of my competition—to better it. I dreamed, once more; and this time of the possibilities. I was imbued with a determination, and fire.

I still am.

The End of an Era

I am no longer a child. I have gained ambition that I never had.

It isn’t all because of the Necromancer. I’ve matured, read more books, and experienced the feelings of adulthood. I know of people unpleasant—all must learn of them eventually—and I have started to see that a future other than writing would be both less oportune, and not able to satisfy my imagination.

By age eight, I became a being of that wonderful blessing. By age fourteen, I tried to make it real. At fifteen, I became ambitious. A being of fire.

I am now sixteen. I am more realistic. I know that this work probably won’t make me a best selller, or particularly well off.

But it has given me more than that. It has awoken my talent. It has given me a skill. It has promised a future.

And most of all, it has defined me. Knowledge was an aphrodisiac; logic a comfort; dreams a better existence.

This is my purpose.

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