death and politics

i have been thinking more and more about my writing as of late, and how i am going to finish writing cooler than the millions. i have been thinking about the topics of death and politics as well, and how they play as the major themes of the book. it seems more evident to me that both death and politics are two things that will just never change. death, obviously, but politics also, because of how the nature of politics, the beast of it, has not changed and probably never will change. it seems more and more that those that want to make a difference usually end up as political patsies, collateral damage, or they become corrupted by it. the political arena seems to be its own entity, built by our own political sensibilities and ironically, trapped by it as well. there seems to be a glass ceiling for all of us when it comes to politics and how much change we can affect through it.

this is what makes up the crux of cooler than the millions. it will ask the question, "what is one life worth?" cttm will be very much an athiest book, which is easy for me, because i am athiest, but it will still examine human life and put it into the context of what we see and feel, the here and now, which personally, is where i believe the only life is.

i usually have a tag line for every book. this one line usually ends up defining the book and what it is about, like a slogan. for desert sessions, an anti-corporate love story, which was a novel primarily about avoiding life, the line was, "everything i want is wrong so i promise myself a life without pain." for this is hardcore, which was about mistakes and regret, the line was, "all the mistakes one life can make." and now for cttm, which is about one person's worth int he world, the line is, "i only have one life to live. i might as well make it authentic."

cttm has been the toughest book for me to write. it is just now that a lot of my ideas and plot themes are slowly coming together. i have developed three principle characters and two side characters. once again, the female presence is sorely lacking in this book. i don't know why, but i can't seem to write a book with more than one female character. maybe it's because the female character tends to be dramatically differrent than the others. and maybe it's because a woman's presence, even in a book, is so strong, it can change the balance of any group dynamic. for example, take a bunch of guys, then throw in one woman. all it takes is one to change the whole dynamic. the men talk differently, they act differently... it's just the way things tend to happen. and maybe it's because i write men better than i write women, and because i have so much trouble writing women, i tend to just focus on one and make her as real and as vibrant as possible. men are easy. or maybe it's because i have modelled the female character so meticulously after someone i know in real life, that it makes it hard for me to flesh out other female characters.

at any rate, i have been writing mostly dialogue, and i haven't done any heavy writing yet because i cannot seem to fit together the first act of the book. i have the middle and the end, but it's just this pesky beginning that i can't nail down. the problem lies with the pitfalls of the opening to the book. when writing a political book these days, it is incredibly hard to avoid the topic of terrorism. it's hard to do it without looking like a chump or doing it so you put a new twist on it. so i'm trying something a bit different with the book. first of all, the terrorism will not be the main part of the book, but more of a side story for the real plotline, which is the relationship between the three principle characters and all that comes with issues of human rights and what one person's life is worth in the grander, and smaller, scheme of things.

secondly, the terrorism won't be your traditional "let's make muslims look like monsters" trend that has been a big thing since, well, ever. i personally can't stand this because it typically stereotypes all muslims as murderers, and it is just boring and overdone. instead, it will have nothing to do with religious extremism, and will actually have no discernable targets. the terrorists will be of all ethnic origins with one no basic goal, but all encompassed into one melting pot of an organization. the terrorism in the book will be more about domestic violence, taking inspiration from various vietnam-era organizations like the weathermen, that sought the overthrow of the u.s. government through domestic militant acts. i guess i am ignoring the political manifestos that terrorists usually draw up, and the reasons for why they do the things they do, because much like character back-stories, i just don't care. what i am focusing on are the actions and the fact that these people are committing these crimes. i'll leave it to the readers to make up their own reasons for why they do the things they do.

in other works, i am starting to develop ideas for a very short, short story collection called three wars. it will be three very short and completely different stories collected into one novella, all with the same exact ending. and despite the implied political title, it will be far from it. it should be interesting. i hope to write this between rewrites of cttm, which i have yet to start writing in earnest. one step at a time, right?