They clamor for my attention and then go out to play with their friends, leaving me to do the dishes. One is a dystopia, one an urban fantasy, one a coming-of-age slice of life, one a middle-grade series inspired by a myth I didn’t know I remembered. There are seventy of them, though once I combine those with common themes and suspiciously similar protagonists, it’s down to only about 40.
What do you write after you’ve written a trilogy? I have lived in the world of the Wide Valley wolves for so long, it’s hard to imagine beginning afresh somewhere else. I’ve started over a couple of times in my life, so I know how to do it, but I’ve never had so many options before.
One day I love the urban fantasy. The next day, it mocks me as derivative, and the historical fiction re-telling taps me on the shoulder. Then that one decides it needs to take a nap and the realistic linked short stories smack me upside the head, asking why I haven’t been paying attention to them.
I move from one to the other. 250 words here, 1000 there. A free-form, long-hand poem somewhere else. I’m so excited about each one, I can hardly wait to visit them. Each one is a whole new world, new characters to meet, new ideas to explore; first, second, third dates that could turn into the love of my life. Then, after a surprisingly short period of time, I see their flaws and realize we’re not such a good match. But I can’t quite leave them alone. Yet there is another one, beckoning with a rakish smile and a twinkle in its eye, and off I go on another heart-pounding series of dates.
And I don’t seem to move beyond that. Because sooner or later I have to choose one of them. And right now, they are all possibilities, beautiful and shiny. I can have any one I want. Then, once I choose, the ones I’ve left behind have to watch from the sidelines. Many will sit patiently, waiting for me to be ready for them. But others might not be able to wait. Some might slip away into oblivion, or wherever they came from. The great universal voice will take them back and they remain untold. They will die, unchosen.
But probably not. That’s just arrogance. They will find another writer, one who has time for them. They won’t die, alone and unloved. They’ll find a good home and flourish under the care of somebody else. Which makes me want to cry, but also makes me smile
So I will date a bit longer, waiting for the true love of my life. At least that’s what I’ll tell myself…