This is the end of the first week of my summer break, where every year I plan to do amazing things: write deathless prose, discover the meaning of existence, get ready for all my fall and spring courses in the next academic year, and generally save the world. Since none of that actually materializes, this time I’m keeping to modest weekly goals.
One of my goals for this week was to get started on two short stories that had been languishing for several months. Today I am feeling I’ve earned a halo around my head because I’ve actually managed to work on them enough that they need some fairly minor tweaking before I send them out into the world. It is nice to feel like a writer again.
Another goal was to get started on trying to protect a local wetland not far from my house that, although protected by law, is not in good shape. I’ve surveyed the area with a botanist friend, even going through tangled underbrush in her wake, which was quite an experience — and I’ve done a lot of internet research on community efforts for this sort of thing, and have some ideas, but they all involve my Emerging From Under my Rock, which can be discomfiting for me. Sometimes you have to do it, though.
On a related note I have been thinking for some time about how one would write a positive story about a potentially catastropic ecological situation like global warming, so last October I wrote an essay about it as a guest blog on the site of the gracious and articulate Jeff VanderMeer. Now I think I have some ideas but the way it’s going to work out is not merely through sitting and staring at the compuer screen and doing a ton of research on everything from ecological and social networks to the meaning of death, inertia and new technological advances. I think I actually have to go out into the world and be involved in things directly. I don’t know what that means yet, but we shall see.
Another writing goal this summer is to finally finish the third Younguncle book, of which I’ve written five chapters. That was last summer, when I didn’t really know what the book was going to be about, since I was just following where the words led. I almost always write like that and sometimes I get stuck. During exam week last week I had a strangely clear moment in my head, late at night, when I knew just how the book had to flow. Ofcourse I immediately forgot the details (it was late and I was tired) but I have enough to make a start. There are lots of cardboard boxes in the story, with some possibly strange contents.
I’ve been told in the past and also recently that actual grown-ups have greatly enjoyed my Younguncle books, as well as kids, and that is always nice to hear.
Other writing plans include re-writing a science fiction novella that might become a (short) novel and might be YA.
I’m mentioning all this with the vague hope that if I write it down in a “public” space I might actually feel obliged to accomplish some of it. We’ll see.
And then of course there is the Kanpur trip and all that I hope to give to the workshop, and to learn from it. I also want to write a post soon-ish about SF in other Indian languages versus SF in English, and possibile ways to start a dialogue between them — all this partly based on an email conversation with an SF writer and fan in India, but I need to think more deeply about it than I am able right now.