Many of you, reading this do not know the story behind The ENDWORLD Series. Not that such a thing should apply in this world of writing and writers, of inspiration and the like that I’ve existed in for as long as I can remember. But here’s a little known fact about it: It was written initially as a fictional reaction to a non-fiction series of events. From it’s earliest days, when someone asked me what I was writing, I told them it was a “fictional autobiography.” When I started writing it, I was in love. And when I finished the first draft of it, not the one that I published seven years ago but the first, FIRST draft I was STILL in love. But that love was not returned. So it remained a story. As badly as I wanted it to be real it wasn’t. William, then Roland was me. And Maria was HER. And that was it. Finis.
When I decided to retool it back in 2011, I did so initially as a reaction to me, not being able to finish my MA in Education at Drexel. Much of that was by choice despite what many, over the years have come to believe. Yes, there were other factors that influenced my decision to walk away but in the end? It was MY call. Every decision we make in life has risk and reward. I knew the risk of walking away, but I also knew the reward and in truth? I would not be the man I am today… The father I am now had I continued along that path toward my dream of being a teacher. Do I regret it? Yes. I’ll admit that herein. But I may have regretted it more had I “stuck.”
Re-writing ENDWORLD was a way to fill a sudden gap in my heart and soul. My dream of being a teacher gone, I needed SOMETHING to replace it. So? I wrote. I dialed back to my basest instinct and re-told an evolved version of my original autobiographical fiction. And because of that… Because I poured so much into it it grew. It changed. It became about not just love but spirituality. I saw between the words of the original story a little-acknowleged belief system and a world… Worlds… An entire UNIVERSE that I needed to explicate. The final product was… Long. WAY longer than the original. It was flawed and a bit pretentious. It was repetitive but beneath the flaws, it was good. Very good. Maybe not great but as first novels go, I was pleased with the result. And as it went “live” and folks began to read it and like it my heart swelled with gratitude. I was a writer. A self-published one yes but the distinction, then and now has grown blurry. The book was a bit less polished than something published by Random House but it was professionally done. I went to great pains to make it so and that, along with my decision to self-publish it? I never regretted it. Not once. I still don’t.
And then? I started re-writing Book Two of my ENDWORLD Series. And within six months I was within 150 pages of done it. Once again, life threw me a curve ball. One at first. Then two. Then three. And then a flurry of them and I had to put CHILDREN aside. The decision to do so was yet another risk/reward, watershed moment for me and my life. Sadly, after a couple of years the risk far overshadowed the reward and the end result–one possible outcome which I saw early on but fought tooth and nail to prevent–still happened. Did I regret putting CHILDREN aside? No. I still don’t. Because in the end, I picked it back up and completed it. And the end result was very much an autobiographical fiction, albeit a more evolved, more adult and deeply personal one than the original ENDWORLD had been. CHILDREN was and, I still believe is the greatest thing I’ve ever written. It has flaws. Contrivances. But as second novels go, I couldn’t have been happier, given what anti-inspired it.
Which brings me to now. To HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD, Book Three of my ENDWORLD Series. Have I started it? Yes. I have. About three or four times and the last one was the one that “stuck.” The remainder of the tale is outlined to evolve from it. But finding the inspiration to compose it eludes me right now and THAT friends… THAT is what I am presently grappling with. This, like everything else has risk and reward. But there is less of the former, for the first time EVER and more of the latter because really? What have I got to lose?
I’m generally pretty content these days. Maybe that is the issue. I mentioned previously that ENDWORLD and CHILDREN were written from places of anti-inspiration. So much of what I have written in my life comes from those same, deep and dark places. And considering how CHILDREN ended my hero isn’t exactly in a warm and fuzzy mindset presently. He’s broken. Angry. He’s confused and dangerous. How do I reconcile that with who I, Frank Marsh am right now? Maybe not a living and breathing facsimile of a smiley face but close. Closer than I’ve ever been. Aye, Shakespeare. There’s the rub. How do I complete my tragic hero’s story when for the first time in my life, I don’t feel like I’m an unwilling participant in a f*cking tragedy?
I think the answer to that question is simpler than it seems. In short? I just do it. I find my inspiration… Seek out my muse and just GO. I’m not Stephen King. The only expectations I set are the ones I set for myself. At my core I am a perfectionist and anything short of that is unacceptable both for me, AND for you. So why wait? Why not just do it? Finish the story that I have 95% outlined in my head and on paper and finally… FINALLY be done with it?
I don’t know. I don’t know why I hesitate to do the one thing I need to do. Mayhap all I need to do is just sit down and let the words flow. I can always adjust and correct later. I think I’m close. I’m near to making that comitment. I know that now, and I owe a sincere “thank you” to my good friend Tim Jackson for helping me to realize that over the last 48 hours. Booyakasha, Marine. RESPECT. For anyone who is wondering YES, Tim is the person that Tim Redfield is loosely based on in the books. Not a villain in real life. Oh no. Far from it. He is a good man and a faithful friend. Maybe the one Joe or Josephine Schmoe out there that is about as close to me in personality as… Well? Me. And HIS story… Tim Redfield’s? The remainder of it will be told in HEAVEN. And it’s fascinating, folks. I promise you that.
So? Strap in gang. Let’s do this. Time to read over everything that I’ve written too date first and then GO. But? You’ve made it this far. You’ve read my oft times inane and insane ramblings both now, and in the past and because of that? I owe you some love. And a bit of a surprise. That said, I give you THIS. The opening of HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD. It may change a bit but probably not a lot. It strikes the right tone. It’s not a ton… I don’t want to give away the farm, but I do want you to see and know that in the immortal words of Freddy Mercury the show does, and WILL go on.
Goodnight all. Sweet dreams.
The sea has no memory.
I’m not sure where I heard that before. Some pre-Administration author or poet wrote it. Someone whose name was lost along with so much of what existed before. Before the Administration. Before the machines. Before Tim Redfield, alias Lord Lynk. Before I lost my best friend, turned lover turned the mother of my daughter. Her name flashes through my road weary mind as I stand here, my tarnished boots in the sand, staring out over the endless expanse of water that stretches out to the horizon before me beneath a gray, late Fall/early Winter sky. Not a dreaming python, and not deadly if you provoke it. But peaceful the way it undulates hypnotically before me. Somehow… someway I understand, and I close my eyes/feel the way the chilling, sea breeze blows against my cheeks and whips my long, mostly white hair out behind me.
The sea has no memory, I whisper to myself, and feel a moment’s respite from the nagging pain of hunger in my gut and the way my mind drifts like a fallen leaf, or a piece of wood upon the water.
I open my eyes. It is hard. More difficult than it ever has been before because I am tired. So tired. Time has passed. I am unsure of how much as time has no meaning here. A day… a week… a month, year, decade, century or millennia is infinite. Forever. Everything else dies but time? It marches ever onward like a dutiful humachine, it’s only purpose to taunt us… it’s only meaning to give a vague, sense of structure to the All. In the end? Laughable. “Only to die, as all must in time, the demise of a fool to fact.”
Remelius Vincent really knew his shit, sarcasm fully intended.