The purpose of today’s blog is to introduce the new book that I am working on (as of Monday officially) which has the working title of Tribe Of One. Ever since I finished the first complete draft of JOHANNESBURG it has been in the back of my mind that I need to identify a new idea to start work on once drafting work on JOHANNESBURG is complete. This idea managed to push its way to the front as another one of those ideas that I have been wanting to write about for some time, but mostly lacked a decent vehicle to do so.
JOHANNESBURG is now in a 3rd draft sort of state and needs to be left along again for a while. Anything that happens with that text will now fall strictly under the banner of editing. So I needed a new creative outlet to focus long term attention on. Tribe Of One is that project. I had originally concieved of the title as Punk As Fuck, but it took only one exposure of that idea to the Amsterdam Writers Guild for me to realise that this was way too self-limiting for the scope I hope to cover in the book.
This book, however, is going to be a much shorter one that the last, possibly even a really short book for a novel format. But I am looking forward to that idea. After the behemoth I just finished, it almost feels like writing a short story. I am also trying out a new approach. Instead of spending months painstakingly plotting, thinking, working on characters and generally trying to figure out the big bones first, I am diving into writing out large gobbets of prose on the various ideas that have been festering the last year or so. These will then form the big bones and inform the structure, the character development and indeed, the final form of the book. A kind of inversion of my previous approach.
This vomiting as I am fondly referring to it, is a cathartic and somewhat frustrating process. I am sometimes lose my thread, and sometimes go somewhere unexpected. I have to keep reminding myself that this is the idea. But it is also a lot of fun to just get up each day and tackle something with absolute creative freedom and zero pressure to do anything in particular. As long as it is something.
This process is to a certain extent rooted in what I feel to be a growing Zeitgeist: that we live in a broken world where most of the most cherished and best ideals of our civilisation in general are being lost. Progress is a hard task master and the wheels of time grind exceeding small. Ordinary people are being ground, as is their capacity to reason sensibly about ethics and standards and how to exercise their free will. TOO is loosely about this situation, and about how each of us responds.
To us, our world seems plunged into an increasingly dark place where racial, gender and religious violence seem to be on the rise and a brutal death a short walk away. While global statistics actually seem to actively refute this, the perception is the daily reality for many, many people. With this I am starting to believe comes a profound sense of loss: of innocence, of hope, of ideals, of a shared experience. My lead character Jerry is a seeker of truth. A firebrand idealist and fearless seeker after enlightenment. But what will he encounter when he enters this world of ours where fears shroud every hope? Where corruptions gnaws at every ideal and compromise lurks in every ethical deed?
I am going to be having some fun!