What I’ve Been Up To

(Besides, of course, getting and setting up a Surface Go)

It’s an astounding (to me) observation about procrastination (except that it usually wins) that I ended up not posting anything for a year.  How time flies when you start a new job, then an old-new job, and then get busy with pressing work around the house.

Anyway.

The sequel to End Plan (with the incredibly creative working title of ‘End Plan 2’) sits at about 8,000 words, or roughly 12% of the manuscript.  While I don’t have “writer’s block”, whatever that is, I do find myself “phoning it in”, so to speak.  In other words, I haven’t built up enough internal dramatic tension to be able to relay that to paper.  Which means, re-reading it, that it seems kind of bland and matter of fact, and I’m not happy with it.  So I’m shelving it (to be clear, not dropping it) until I have some more passion available.

Speaking of passion, (and one of the reasons, perhaps, that I’ve been sidetracked) is an idea for a new book, which I’m roughly 2k words into over the course of a few days.

Follow me on this, because this is how these kind of ideas gel for me.  And sit back, because it’s a long winded story, as stories from old men often are.

We (Wendy & I) live in a rural area south of Ottawa (that’s in Ontario, for my American friends).  It’s an old area, as Canada goes, being originally settled in 1784 by refugees from the American Revolution (I find this itself fascinating, but that isn’t really germane to this story).

Being such a relatively old area, you can kind of see the ebb and flow of settlement.  There are abandoned roads that once-upon-a-time were important and went somewhere, there are abandoned homesteads (sometimes only the old stone foundations), there are stories of entire vanished communities, and, perhaps most important to where I’m going, there is a vast, vast swamp (or bog), that’s gradually grown to consume all of these discarded human endeavors.

10,000 acres in size, in fact.

Driving around, it isn’t obvious that this bog (I’m going to call it a bog now, since its official name is the Groveton Bog) is so vast.  Travelled roads connect islands in the midst of it, and it isn’t clear, until you think about it or look at an aerial view, that these are islands.  We live on one.  The Bog surrounds us and many others.

There are a few events, if you like, that’ve sparked my new idea.  Here they are:

  1. Although the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources once swore up and down that there were no bears in the area, they’ve been videoed wandering out of the swamp (remember, 10,000 acres that no one goes into). Ditto Lynx.
  2. Humans have been putting pressure on the Bog. I’ve witnessed a number of homes being built, literally on top of 8 foot mounds of dirt plunked into the wetlands and then covered with perfect suburban lawns.  I’ve been terribly amused at one new resident who spends quite a lot of time furiously weed-whacking bulrushes (cattails) that grow in the ditch.    If I was more of an ass than I am, I’d stop to let him know that, just by the way, the swamp is going to win.
  3. I’ve noticed in the news that (in the Western US and Canada), “unfortunate incidents” have become more common involving humans wandering, blissfully ignorant, into cougar territory. They are, I suspect, surprised when they’re eaten (#ProTip: Prey Runs)

This is kind of the perfect storm in my creative mind and I asked myself, given these events (particularly #1), what else lives in the Bog, and what if, when humans push on it, it pushes back.

The working title is No Such Thing, and Wendy has already begun enthusiastically designing the cover.  I hope it’s good and I hope I don’t end up disturbing something that I shouldn’t as I do my research.

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