The Divorce Announcement
It was a very difficult and arduous decision. However, the divorce became necessary. Irreconcilable differences, you know.
Months of agony, indecision and recriminations later, here we are.
Documents drawn up. Folders created.
Yes. There is sadness, yet, there is joy to be had for the future looks suddenly brighter and the fog of indecision has lifted and a new sense of optimism.
A Long Strange Trip has split up with itself and become as two. Both parts will now head into the future on their own separate paths, connected only by the hand of their mutual author, that unheralded and critically ignored Canadian playwright and author we know and avoid as Ajesh Sharma.
Why did we, I do this? That is an excellent question and one that likely requires deep introspection, not to mention a shave and a shower.
Background to the Decision
To understand this, we have to understand, in no particular order, the manuscript that was A Long Strange Trip, the oddness of the Odd Shorts that comprised the collection, the idiocy that dwells within my brain, the lack of mental challenge over the last few months and the fog that has been the lasting result of the Year of the Covid, viz 2020. Also, NaNoWriMo, because it played a strong part in this.
NaNoWriMo 2019 was my second attempt at the self-challenge. In order to satisfy my competitive spirit, I dug through the acres of disk storage I manage and found every scrap I had ever written and cobbled it together into A Long Strange Trip. See challenge certificate. And then, I tried to make it work. Sixteen different stories, all set in different milieus, jostled for attention. Ten of them were complete, by which I mean they had a beginning, a middle and an end.
Six, however, refused to budge into life. I pushed and prodded and idly added, removed and modified words, all to no avail.
Meanwhile, cut to the late spring of the Year of Covid and I found the long hours spent over the office laptop was causing a kink in my left shoulder. My office, in the West End, of my basement, didn’t have a work surface to accommodate this extra laptop, especially over the long hours over an extended period of time. So I decided to rip apart my office and got myself one of those sit/stand electric desks.
Well, naturally, this caused much fun and joy, as furniture was removed, counter spaces dismantled and custom built filing cabinets, drawer units etc were all well… never mind all that. Suffice to say that I’m now sitting with my back to the door of my office. Which, if you’ve read this blog piece, you will realize causes me much anxiety. But feng shuey and all that. I now face South East. We’ll see how that goes….
When faced with a problem, I like to doodle. So, I took to the white board and reviewed all 16 stories. I doodled like the dickens. I dawdled like a pro. I drew circles. I wrote down characters. I drew arrows connecting everything. And then one day, as I sat at my office computer, listening in on an important meeting, waiting to be called upon to “Speak, Ajesh, and tell us what you think! Or rather, DON’T!”, I had it.
Some of the characters had distinct similarities. Why, I asked myself, as the meeting droned on, don’t you merge them into a single character? And, furthermore, these are the unfinished stories and they all seem to be chasing something. So, Ajesh, why not make them one character and give them the same quest! I sprang to the task and a mere 6 months later, here we are!
To cut a not very long story, made naturally long, because it’s me who is writing this, short, I split the manuscript that was A Long Strange Trip into two.
So what did we end up with? A Long Strange Trip will now be developed into a novel length work. It will be a long, strange and, likely, arduous journey on which I embark, but I was always stupid and competitive. Sometimes, I am stupidly competitive. Well, not sometimes….
The other manuscript is now called The Lake And Other Stories.
Survey for you
Now that you’ve gone through this, I have some homework for you. It’s very simple. Look at the images below and vote for the cover you like best.
|#1 – Original||#2 – Dark and Mysterious||#3 – Light and Airy||#4 – Red Mist||#5 – Grey Fantasy|
Use the barely used Comment feature to pick your choice among the 5 above.
“But what of The Lake, Ajesh”, you don’t ask.
I have an answer for that. Because, I’m helpful that way, I will give you an answer to your unasked question.
The Lake and Other Stories
This is the current cover of The Lake and Other Stories. This the current name of the collection.
Tell me what you think of that, too, while you’re at it.
Some other time, I will tell you more about these two works.
There is, in the back of my head, a nagging voice telling me it should be called “Slide 16”. I’m ignoring it for now. But! I make no promises. There is a strong chance I will give in to the voices in my head and call it something else.
Like, maybe, “Slide 16 – A Study in Corporate Boredom”.
Or “The Train Conductor’s Tabla”
Or “Slide Sixteen – One Man’s Quest for Freedom”
Or “A Child is Born”
Or “Three Murders, A Suicide, a Natural Death and a Single Birth”
Something snappy, you know, I’m sure will arise and cause much wailing and gnashing of teeth. But, that’s another story.
Meanwhile, do the homework I set for you.
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#4 for the cover
And yes I love the cover for The Lake