By ANDREZ BERGEN
Ever pushed yourself a page too far?
I used to laugh at these sporty types, especially the marathon runners, who literally ran themselves into the ground. From the comfort of my couch I could lob popcorn at the silly buggers – you’d never, ever, catch me stretching myself thin like that.
Then there were the paratroopers over-extending themselves in that old ‘70s war flick, A Bridge Too Far, which also cheekily over-extended itself in length.
Anyway, I thought I pushed myself reasonably hard, with a lot of late nights and early mornings, finishing off my first novel Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat (TSMG).
That, I told myself, was bloody hard yakka.
But I have one word to utter here, a simple three-letter beastie that best captures how I currently feel: Hah!
It’s 5:40 a.m. in Tokyo, dark outside, and the temperature is 1ºC – which is not too bad, since winter is finally on its way out.
I have ten days in which to finish off my second novel.
Yep, March 31 is my self-imposed deadline to finish off a rambling, off-the-wall tale that looks like including in the mix the Graf Zeppelin, geisha, yakuza, nuclear weapons, B-29s, death, revenge, and a mystery.
The thing is currently titled One Hundred Years of Vicissitude.
Ye gods. I fret at the idea of tying it all together, which is one of the reasons I’ve conveniently ditched the manuscript this morning, to have more fun here.
See, I committed myself to this deadline for the sake of a few things: (1) the affection of my daughter, a six-year-old who’s getting downright annoyed with the amount of time I’m spending on this novel; (2) the grand master challenge of completing a book in six months, whereas my first one took about 20 years; (3) a whole lot of other ideas that’re currently infusing in my woe-begotten headspace.
One of these is an anthology I’m putting together for Another Sky Press (the publishers of TSMG).
Titled The Tobacco-Stained Sky: An Anthology of Post-Apocalyptic Noir, it’s going to bring together a whole wad of current, cool cat noir/hardboiled writers, and their comic artist brethren. Some parts will be regular written words, others black-and-white artwork. The whole caboodle will focus on the near-future Dystopia of last-city-standing Melbourne.
We’ve already started on this project.
Plus there are music commitments (I do stuff under aliases like Little Nobody and Funk Gadget), a string of short stories I’ve promised to do, some articles that won’t write themselves, and my regular day job – the one that actually pays the bills.
My daughter Cocoa will wake up soon, sit on my knee in front of the computer, look at me wisely, and say “Two minutes,” just like she always does. A time limit does wonders for progress.
She’s a league smarter than me – I’ve become one of these silly people on the telly, the ones that push themselves too far.
Where’s the popcorn?
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Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat
One Hundred Years of Vicissitude
The Tobacco-Stained Sky: An Anthology of Post-Apocalyptic Noir