Back in 2011, while we were expecting our second child, an idea took hold that I was really excited about. The first 20,000 words came out without any difficulty, then trickled, then stopped.

I became so stuck on the accuracy of one issue, that it shut me down for a few years. I researched the hell out of coin-flip probability. In my mind, a reader would scoff at my character’s poor study design and deem the whole thing unbelievable. The fact that it is a novel about fictional science was irrelevant. What kind of neuroscientist would run such a small n

And so the premise lay dormant for a few years, but I couldn’t quite forget it. So instead, I enrolled at UCLA’s Extension School and tried to use the idea as the plot for a movie. Science! Research ethics! Morality! Well, I couldn’t quite get it to work. So back it went.

Until last year, when I showed the opening to a friend who demanded an ending. Like the Neil Gaiman advice:

“How do you do it? You do it. You write. You finish what you write.”

And so, I dug it out. And combined drafts. And outlined and index carded and ruminated on the whole thing.

And finished.

75k. A draft, but a draft nevertheless of something quite unique that only I can tell.

The Grey Line (or terminator, or twilight zone) divides day and night. It is the point where dark and light meet. It is only visible to outside observation.



Opinion fatigue

I’m sick of opinions. It seems the bane of modern existence that we are drowning in them. And so, any negligence of this bloggy venture can be interpreted as ennui of opinionation (opinion nation?), my own included.

So, in lieu of opinion, an update?

I spent a quick two days in Venice this September doing research for my ever-expanding, ever-in-progress, magnum opus. I’ve been to Venice before, but in the off season, and alas, Sigmund Freud’s visit of 1895 occurred at the end of August, so I had to brave the city in the bright glare of late summer.

Sucks, huh?

This is my first go at a historical speculative project, and it was helpful to swim in the Adriatic and sip coffee at the Caffe Quadri the way Freud did. It was also good to see a few of the palazzi and landmarks that will be featured.

When I was a kid, I had a map of Maine on my wall. I’d never been to Maine, but being the Stephen King fan that I was, I’d drawn out and pinned many of the sites for his books and short stories. Maine was a fictitious fantasy world for me in those days, filled with clowns and demons and vampires. This trip to Venice had a deja vu quality as my brain tried to reconcile a fantasy and the real world.

Early in the book, there’s a scene in which Einstein nearly drowns. As it turned out, my hotel was minutes away, and I ended up walking past the location I’d written about, over a dozen times, each time imagining a teenaged Einstein going overboard, floundering in the lagoon below.

The problem with a grandiose premise is that it demands a grandiose finale. I think that it’s slowly coming into focus, but may need to make a return trip at Carnevale.

Sucks, huh?