I’ve been enjoying the past week and a half at my father’s house in Staunton, VA. I like Staunton, with its remarkable architecture, warmer weather, and gorgeous hills. I also really like Trinity Church, where my dad is now presiding. It’s a really active church, the kind of community that offers excellent outreach–a daily lunch program for homeless–and a lot of spiritual practices. It’s a really well-rounded example of what a good church can be, and I like to see that, because growing up church was always kind of an “obligation to be perfect” rather than a “calling to serve and grow.” I certainly got that calling to serve and grow in my religion (convoluted in its development as it is)… but I don’t think I got them from my church. Now I get to see a church that actually embodies what I think religion should be. It’s neat.
But, my time these days is centered around application essays.
I’ve just gotten my Harvard Divinity School essays in working condition. They’re both ready for the last pass, I think, but only a few others have read them, so the editing process has been slim.
I’ve been juggling the new year’s resolution of a new novel. I feel almost hesitant to commit to it, because I don’t believe that I’ll finish it. I almost finished Children of the Eaten King (or maybe I decided to title it Daughter of the Eaten King… couldn’t decide if one was more important than the other) but I got caught up in the last 2% of the novel.
But I have been turning over so many ideas for the last few years, and I really want to get them out and onto paper. Without a real job these days, I need to feel as though I’ve accomplished things. Drawings are great–and I am accomplishing drawings–but you can’t really draw with that kind of precision for days and days on end. It boggles your mind, ruins your eyes, and causes cramp hands. So I need a second creative outlet.. and I really, really need to recapture my writing.
The current idea I’m turning over in my head is a use of an old character I got several years ago. It’s not a human character, but rather a character based on Lake Superior. In this world, a deep, endless lake in the north is an endless attraction for humans. They build cities along it’s shorelines, and stare endlessly at it’s beautiful horizon. But they won’t touch it. They’ll never touch it, because it disappears, and no one knows where it goes–nor does anyone know what happens to someone in it when it goes. Airships cross the sky around it as if daring it to reach up and grab them, but only a few ever dare to get near it.
Those are the treasure hunters. They are crews of outlaws, usually, who take advantage of the lake’s disappearance. They pilot airships that are half airship, half sailing cruiser–things that can sit on the water for moments at a time, searching below for the ancient cities of the lost people. When the lake disappears, they can fly into the baren landscape it leaves, pick it clean of the artifacts of the ancients, and sell them on the black market in Ariana, a city built by the aristocrats, artists, merchants, and madmen that are inevitably attracted to the lake.
One particular captain of these ships has run across some bad blood with a minor aristocrat in Ariana. In order to pay his debts, he is forced to take on the aristocrat’s youngest daughter–a pioneer woman in many ways, but not exactly the easiest woman to work with. A premier scholar in the societies at the bottom of the lake, Jessica has fought her way to the top in a world crafted for gentleman. She doesn’t take no for an answer, and often pushes for her goals and her goals alone.
The captain and his crew, especially an older man by the name of Tristan, take an immediate disliking to Jessica. Assuming she is better than them, she snubs her nose at their work, and lauds her own as enlightened. Unable to remove her from their midst, because of the captain’s debt to her father, they are forced to put up with her, even though she has absolutely no understanding of dangerous sea life. When she pushes them too far to find a particular artifact, the crew is thrown headlong into one of the greatest secrets of their world: they are afloat on the sea when it disappears. Their discovery uncovers buried secrets about Tristan, and even more unexpectedly, Jessica as well.
I think it offers great tropes without outdoing them. But who knows. I’m itching to write it, but I have to write these kinds of.. previews, first. Now, however, my computer battery has almost completely died, and I’m due back at home for dinner.