Writing bores me. A few thousand words in and I feel like I’ve explored pretty much everything to do with a situation, a feeling I’ve probably learned from years of 3-minute improv scenes. I want to get around this, because I love writing and I want to work on larger pieces, but I firmly believe that short stories should be fun and playful and emotionally cheap. I very much like Ursula Le Guin, but I cannot read her short stories because I find them exhausting — every one I finish and I feel I have burned away a little part of my life energy because they are so rich, so alive that I cannot read more than one a week even if I am making a concerted effort. I can read and adore Borges because his short stories, even the ones about murder and war, are all quite silly. So I cannot spend time trying to ‘perfect’ my short stories because perfection in short stories means that the stories are no longer cheap, are no longer playful.
I tried writing a longer piece in the form of The Maze! by speed-writing, but the output is profoundly depressing dreck. Again from improv, ‘narrative’ is something I hate — who would ever read a story where the people in it act as they do because the story demands it rather than because they are alive? And if I try to let my characters do what they want they all sit down and refuse to do anything in a manner which is certainly not playful.
So I’ve started a serial, Broadcast From Heaven, and I’m now two chapters in. Each chapter will be a new location and main character, unless some characters particularly want to come back, and at least the first half of the story will be driven by the starting sentence:
The psychic hackers learnt Portuguese, and things got much worse.
I’d like it very much if you read along, and commented to say if there’s anything in particular you’d like to learn more about in the world I’ll paint. You can sign up to get email updates using the email form on this website — Facebook hides posts in unpredictable ways, so an email list is more reliable.