Getting Started (After Only Twenty Years)

There is a science fiction story I have had brewing in my head now for over twenty years. It started as just a very simple idea. A “what if” question. A spark of something. For years and years I brushed it aside whenever it popped into view. I always had, what I felt, were valid excuses for writing it off. Here’s how the dialog would most often happen inside my head…

“I’m not a fiction writer.”

“I’m certainly not a science fiction writer.”

“But, it’s a really good idea.”

“Maybe, it would be good to give to one of my friends that are, accomplished, science fiction writers.”

I would act on this. I would tell it to my sci-fi writer friends in passing. They would kindly hear me out, but express no real interest in stealing it from me. “It’s a good idea.”, they would say. “You should write it.”

“But I don’t know how?”, I would resign.

And, so, back into the the bin it would go. Only to pop back up next week/month/year. But, each time a little bit closer — more fully formed each time it returned. Closer to a real story.

The excuses to avoid it, therefore, had to become even more deft…

“I can see the story but I have no idea who would tell it.”

“Where is the voice of the story coming from?”

“Without a voice, you can’t tell a story.”

I would shove it into the bin again — with force and prudence. Convinced that this idea was beyond my reach creatively. It was not my genre. I had no voice. I only had rough ideas and sketches and major details. But, I had not the talent nor skill to weave together into a coherent narrative.

But the idea keeps coming back. It haunts me. It now wakes me up in the middle of the night. It keeps me from being able to rest. Each time getting closer. Showing me a little bit more of itself.

“Write.”, it says.

A few weeks back it gave me it’s voice. I now know who is telling the story and why. And, last night, It came to me in a dream. The opening scene at least. It was lucid while I was barely so. I saw our protagonist. I knew his motivations. It was a start. It was not the whole story. But, it was enough for me to get the opening lines down first thing this morning.

Y’weh sits on the bench with his face in his hands. He’s tired. Lately, he sits here in much the same position before the work day begins. Exhausted before he has even started. His lab coat feeling like a burial shroud. He’s been at this job for a very long time. And, if he could find another — if he had a choice — he would. But, once you start The Process, you can’t stop the stars. You have to see them through.

It may take me another twenty years to finish. But, today, I finally exhausted all of my excuses — I started.

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