Last summer I published Gingerbread Wolves, the fourth novel in my series The Book Of Lost Doors. After multiple false starts on a fifth novel I realized that it was the final book in that series. I have, quite simply, said all that I had to say. Yes, I realize that the lives of my characters (well, most of them, anyway) would continue after the events of that novel.
But the story that I needed to tell is over. James and Catskinner and Agony and all of the others finished the job that I gave them to do. I had only a vague idea what that job was when I began Catskinner’s Book. The tale not so much grew in the telling as resolved itself, like landmarks coming clear through a lifting fog.
I can look at that quartet of novels now as a single completed work. It’s not perfect (no art ever is) but it works. The deeds, both heroic and depraved, have been done, the choices have been made, all that needed to be either saved or damned has been properly filed away. I honestly believe that a reader could begin with Catskinner’s Book and read straight through to the end of Gingerbread Wolves and be left with a sense of closure, a thing done, if not well, then at least fully.
If the series had earned greater commercial success I might be now building a new world and casting about for new victims to run through the open-air slaughterhouse of my admittedly morbid imagination.
But it didn’t.
During the fall and winter of last year I made a decision–more properly I became aware that a decision had been made, somewhere in my conduplicate consciousness–that I was finished not only with that series but with my attempt to be an author altogether.
This is not to say that I will stop writing. I doubt that I could, honestly. But trying to make a business of it, a career of it, is not for me.
I still have a few projects in the works. I have a series of reviews on the Casalia House blog, for example. I have a few short story projects that I will be submitting to various anthologies.
I will not be removing any of my existing works from sale on Amazon. But neither will I be putting energy into trying to promote them. It simply isn’t worth it. I will write when and what makes me happy to write, and distribute them by whatever venues will have them. That’s it.
This spring I have watched television, listened to a lot of audiobooks, and taken weekend trips to local towns. I like that. I am playing with some 3-d modeling programs, and I like that. I may even play some of my antique PS2 videogames.
No more struggling to find subjects for blog posts. If something occurs to me to write about I’ll post it, probably here, but I won’t try to keep to any schedule. No more looking for e-mail lists and book blogs to feature my works.
No more (thank You, God of the universe) science fiction conventions.
It feels great. It feels like I have been carrying around a great weight, like a phone booth full of decaying but not quite dead chipmunks, and I have finally allowed myself to put it down.
I might even get to where I enjoy writing again.