Analysis (Services and Self)

Koan Bremner's view on life as a database and data warehouse professional / addict and non-genetic woman

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A Can of Worms Part 3 - Telling The Right Story

Continuing this little series of posts, which began here and proceeded here... in this post I want to address issue 4):

"Do I have a book in me? Sure; more than one, in my opinion; books, plays, screenplays... but the ones I would *like* to write (indeed, have part-written) would not be *this* one, if I'm honest. This is such a fundamental issue for me that I'm going to write another post on this issue alone."

As you might have gathered, I am something of a frustrated would-be writer. Then again, isn't everybody (apart from those who *are* published, of course!) I'm not going to comment on whether the world has been spared a horror by the fact that I haven't actually published anything; it's a racing certainty that I'd need a good editor with a plentiful stock of red pens, otherwise I'd tend to works of a Proustian scale rather than an elegant Haiku. ;-) Actually, I'm probably being a little unfair on myself; I love Haiku, and have written a fair few in my time. Maybe I'll dig some out and post some somewhere... But I digress!

OK, I *have* to give a little historical context here, but it isn't really "dwelling on the past" so I'll cut myself a little slack. In February 2001, I had pretty much a full-on emotional melt-down, and spent the best part of seven months trying to recover. At the time, I was running my own company, so that was, er, "interesting"! By August 2001, I was starting to get back on my feet, but was (because of the work hiatus) seriously stretched financially. But I plugged on, and started to build up my business again... and then really crashed hard in January 2002. The reason is simple enough; I knew I was transgendered, and was trying everything I could think of to deal with *being* transgendered, *without* transitioning. But I was also fighting clinical depression; and while I still think that my depression is actually a separate beast, I am convinced that the strain of not dealing with being transgendered was like throwing petrol on the fires of my depression. Something had to give. It did. Me. In early 2002, I knew that I couldn't continue trying to work, trying to keep one step ahead of creditors, trying to keep a lid on being transgendered and trying to deal with depression. Two wonderful friends of mine stepped up to the plate. "Get your backside up here; come and live with us while you get yourself sorted". Which, on reflection I decided to do. In one sentence that hides a multitude of activities, I petitioned for personal bankruptcy, told the friends in question about my being transgendered (which I felt it was only fair that they know), packed up and moved up to Scotland.

So, how did I occupy my time? They gave me the space and encouragement to do something I'd long wanted to do, but had never had the time to do; to write. I've had ideas for books, plays and screenplays in my head for years; time to realise one of them. And that's what I set about doing. It was slow going, because I was *still* not dealing with being transgendered, and was really feeling the effects of depression; but I made progress. I'd set myself the goal of plotting and producing a compelling work of fiction written as book *and* play; i.e. rather than writing a book which someone might adapt to a screenplay (assuming it was worth filming) or writing a screenplay which might be novelised if the film was successful, I tried to ensure that the story was constructed such that it would be visually captivating if filmed, yet work as a good book if novelised (I'm sure that some of the people who read what I write will agree that books and screenplays are completely separate beasts). Well, I love a challenge, and that was the one I set myself. I think I was probably about 40% done when something completely unexpected happened.

I fell in love.

I'm not going to be any more specific than that at this point, because of issue 11) I raised in the first of these posts. All I'll say, for now, is that I relocated once more, was not able to devote any more time to my writing at that point, and then circumstances occurred which destroyed the latest state of my work-in-progress. Yes, backups are wonderful things... but I had been lax in my backup regime (I had a few things on my mind) and so the latest version I have of what I'd written is, maybe, 20% complete. Circumstances dictated that I needed to really get back to full-time employment, which I did. And I haven't written a word more since, of that work, at least.

Why have I written all this? Because I want to justify my position, which is that, *if* I have the talent to write something worth publishing... then I'd rather like it to be the book & screenplay that I worked on back then. However... it's entirely possible that, good as I hoped they were and better as I hoped they would become, neither was good enough in their own right.

But another thought nags away at me; maybe they *are* good enough... but maybe the chances of something happening with them would be significantly improved if I'd already been published. I have no idea if the publishing industry works that way... but what if it did? What if, much as I might have reservations, by writing the kind of book Susan suggests I made it more likely that one of my other works might see the light of day? OK, I'll admit it; *that* is a tempting prospect, for me at least. But, as I've said, I've no idea if the world works like that.

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