Days are getting easier to remember. I think it’s because I’m using my novel as the rubrick. Every day is measured in words written. Every day is defined by the section I’ve completed. Actually, when I finish this thing I’m probably going to lose all sense of time. The good news is I’m one or two days away from being done with the first draft. I edit as I go along, which means that by the time my “first draft” is finished, it’s actually on the third or fourth version. That’s not to say all the kinks have been worked out. I’m still making edits on the first book. But I feel somehow this second book is more solidly written. The plot was finally all worked out in my head by the end of the first book, and the writing has simply been more interesting. There’s more cohesion throughout, characters take more shape, become less stock and more nuanced. The themes have also shifted somewhat. The book does maintain focus on technology as a facet of humanity’s dark nature, but now I’ve tried to also move it toward love and the motivations of power. With my limited grasp of such things as politics and theology, I’ve tried to steer aside from those, though I do touch on them a bit.
I will admit, the book took a cynical turn about three quarters of the way through. It’s always been my intention to end it with the good guys winning and the bad guys getting theirs, but it seems plain to me that with my ideas firmly set in motion and the plot taking its twists and turns, the fact is, there are good guys, but they are merely players in the larger game of world domination, which is sadly occupied by all bad guys. So there’s some positive resolution, but it’s overshadowed by the larger and more insidious cynical, yet realistic situation at hand.
I enjoy writing the book. I also occasionally enjoy writing about writing the book. But I can’t maintain that for quite as long. It’s the difference between experiencing a roller coaster and telling your friends waiting for you at the platform how exciting it was. It probably means more to me to read about the ongoing work than it is for you. I’d just as soon make the blog brief and spend the extra minutes on the novel.
Yesterday I missed my chance to write about 9/11, and it seems a little cheap to go back now and sermonize about how it changed my life. I spent yesterday evening at a Freedom Walk, a remembrance event with some military and NYPD speakers, my brother James being one of them, and then a small catered dinner in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, sitting under Air Force One. The entire affair was a pitch perfect exercise in remembrance. Parts of the evening were solemn and subdued, others were more joyous and thankful, and the tenor of the time was one of a simple message: Never Forget. It adds meaning to a day that would otherwise be like any other, and at a time when memory is short and history recedes further into the past, we look to a day like 9/11 to remind us, not just why we fight terror and injustice, but why we exist as a people and a nation. We have never been perfect, and never will. We’ve made mistakes along the way. Lives have been lost, and the world stands on an apex of decision: will we give in?
Never, because we haven’t yet forgotten. As long as we memorize the lines of that day, the police banners and the silence of the skies after the second terrible plane, remember the smoke and the fire and the floods of tears, we will never give in.
So I look to tomorrow, and I look to the day after that. It’s about as far as I can see these days. But the work continues, and we all have our busy lives to attend to. I hope we’ll see each other at the top of the hill.