It was supposed to be a light story with a fun and silly premise but it has somehow turned into a festival of gore, dismemberment, spilled brains, and leaky bowels.
From jolly japes to blood, darkness, and despair at a keystroke.
And I was going to write my happy story in three months. That was 13 months ago when I started to compose the thing. Or 19 months since I decided I was going to write it.
And for 13 months of work, the story weighs in at a skinny 36,000 words, about half the length of each of my previous four novels. We might call it a novelette.
So what have I been doing with myself? How did all that happen — or not happen?
Without wanting to cry in public or beg pathetically for sympathy, the last two years have been one of the most difficult times in my life.
I guess during the process of composing, reality leaked in and soaked everything in its own grimness.
I am impressed, if I want to toot on my trumpet rather than blub in my beer, that I have managed to move the story along or get anything done at all. I’m impressed I’ve managed to keep dressing, feeding myself, or breathing. Yes, I think the real-world travails may have coloured the story. Standing back and taking a more distant look at the story, I see that it might be teetering on the brink of autobiography — especially the stuff about bowels.
At one point in the composing I wrote a note to myself in the text: Where is the humour? The humour is there if you find death and decay funny, and I recommend you do.
So, lightness didn’t happen, but it is a tale of every day horror that you may recognise. You may even be a participating character in the real world.
Like a novice nurse having their first encounter with bowels, I have been taken aback at the grotesque things coming out my imagination, which points to some kind of unguessed at facility for the grotesque. Perhaps the signs were there in the last story, Sanctioned, with its dangling corpses. But the arc has continued into the depths of the abattoir — all clanging chains, screams, and sudden sprays of blood.
This suggests a career development. Perhaps I could become a surgeon or a police officer or a middle manager. Or perhaps I could write blood-soaked genre fiction under a butch pseudonym and get lots of money.
Perhaps, if I ever sorted out my life the inclination to horror would disappear and I would get back to sweet stories about lollipops and unicorns and cushions and things, and wouldn’t you be happy at that.
The current story — title to be decided — will be out some time this summer.
If it doesn’t kill me.