So it's been a while since I've written anything of substance- and I'm not talking about here on E2, I'm talking about my personal life as a writer. You see, I've been working on this novel called "Mystic Ghost," a story about an artificial intelligence that gets God on the brain and decides to bring religion to other AI's. I've created a whole slew of characters, many of them drawn from other short stories that have managed to work well within this full story as subplots that all will eventually tie into each other.

Like a typical Gemini, I started off at the gate going full tilt- wrote something like 50,000 words and felt full of piss and vinegar to finish the damn thing. Suddenly my professional and personal life tilted at odd angles and my ambition to write sorta dried up. I had a train of thought wreck of monumental proportions, I guess.

For the past few weeks I've added a few pages to the story, but the passion is gone for some reason. It's not that I find the story uninteresting- it's still as fresh as ever- it's just that time and work and money and friends and obligations and creativity and loneliness and everything else in my life has conspired against my passion to write.

When I hit a writer's block, the usual remedy for me is to go out and buy a new book to read. Most often, it works like a charm and I'm back in the saddle again. This time has been no different, only it somehow is.

Two days ago, while on a date, I stopped at Borders to buy a copy of Neal Stephenson's "Cryptonomicon." It's been sitting at the top of my list of books to read for the last few months- I've heard only one bad review of it, but everyone else I've met who read it says that it'd probably be right up my alley. Well... I've been making time for myself to sit down and read a few chapters and, now that I'm about 1/6 into the book, I am glad to see that I do like the story a lot. I can identify with the book's main character, Lawrence Waterhouse- a kid with an innate ability to decipher encrypted messages and codes, a natural-born code-breaker.

I see patterns in nearly everything. Sometimes it's eerie, but it's true. I call this special ability to communicate with higher brain functions my "probablity engine." Life is full of probables, based mostly on patterns and habits. What some people call body language, I call open communication. I just see shit sometimes and it makes sense. World events, people's lives, work-place happenings, things like that all sorta blend together in a nice, intricate pattern for me that is usually easy for me to read and predict. I explain a portion of this in "Cats, physics and empathy, bound together by a thin plume of perfume."

Anyway... I was reading tonight, at Cafe Coco, while it was empty and relatively quiet for once. Hardly anyone was around and I finally had some peace to myself and enjoy this great book- then it hit me: Mystic Ghost takes place from the American perspective. All of the characters are American. They're all from different parts of the United States, but it all seems kinda limiting in a way. The story is set about 40 years in the future, right? So why limit my locales?

Write what you know.

I've been to other places and seen foreign lands. Hell, I spent a month in London, England and got to know the place almost as well as I know Nashville- which I've been in for the better part of my life. Why exclude my experiences and knowledge of London? Why not include it/them? Why not make one of the characters based in the city of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace? And that's it... that was the key to my boredom with the story... there's not enough variety to make the story credible. It's a given that, 40 years in the future, international travel will be easier to come by... why not put some of those wonderful characters of mine in other spots and make them unique?

Great, right?

No. Not so great. Remember, I've already written 50,000 words or more on this story. Now I'm going to have to go back and rewrite whole chapters and even change some of the characters to reflect their locales and respective cultures.


But, not to worry... yes, it'll be more work. Yes, it'll take more time. But more importantly, I'll feel better about the damn thing before it's finished.

Now all I have to do is get my life in something that closely resembles order so that I can get back to writing the story I'm supposed to write.

We are all stories.