House of Dyes is what should’ve been my second novel, I wrote 98k words of it, about two thirds before I burnt out, and got kinda stumped at the possibilities. Even now, after say six months, I still don’t know what it’s supposed to be.
As with everything I write, I usually don’t know what it is until it’s done.
I abandoned House of Dyes and embarked on a YA novel working-titled SUICIDE CLUB, wrote 50k words of it and abandoned it also, favouring to start a new project, but I’ve showed great restraint these last few weeks for not beginning something else (pats self on back) Another YA dystopian thingy.
I figured at this rate I may never finish another book so I sat down and buckled up and revisited House of Dyes, hoping that am in a better place and a better artist to take the story to its final conclusion. (Fingers crossed)
First of all, House of Dyes is going to be another long one, not as long as Silhouette of Shadows (885 pages) but long, I think around 680 pages. My main intentions for it was to write 5 interconnected stories dealing with different themes but talking the same inner demons (P.S. Am yet to figure out what– nothing has to be perfect, or that coherent even — it’s a first draft) I’d written three stories so far, BAPTISMUS PER IGNEM, a tense dystopian mind-fuck of a revenge saga, DREAMS OF FISH, about a blind senile disgraced writer’s delve into existential crises, and ECHO’S LAMENT FOR NARCISSUS, loosely inspired by the Ben Johnson poem by the same name I was particularly taken by the line “Our beauties are not our own” (Oh wait a minute, hmmph, could this be the main theme of the whole book?
Anyway I need two more stories to wrap up this book, hopefully it’ll turn out something less recognizable to the way the Ice-truck Killer wraps stuff. So, I started this story, YA, of course, titled WANDERLUST, about well, wanderlust. It’s not a coming of age story, or one where the characters attain some sort of actualization at the end, it’s one of those stories about a trip going terribly wrong.
Meet Sally, seventeen, beautiful and dangerous, literally– her father is a mob-enforcer and her mother’s an addict, then meet Liam her bestfriend who’s had the biggest crush on her, so he obviously wants to tag along, mostly because he has nothing left for him in Pierstone, their bum-fuck of a ship-yard small town. He’s mother has just died and he’s never known his father.
On their trip they meet another boy, who apparently has relinquished all claims to his name, citing, “All my life, I’ve been defined by my (father’s) name, I just want to see how long I can survive without it.” And that’s not the only thing that’s weird about him, he makes Sally and Liam miss their bus, and well, he offers to tag along to drive them anywhere in his stolen school bus. (Did I say stolen? Yes. Stolen)
‘No-name’ is trouble with alpha-numerics, but Sally and Liam go with him… That’s the story so far…
Here’s a small snippet, (bear with me, it’s a very raw first draft)…
They’d graduated into pseudo-adulthood—face-first into the twilight evening glare—the nativities of their youth, consummated by back-seat grope-fests and broken prophylactics. Their first ‘I love you’ and ‘I think am ready’ being the net that fished them out of their stale miseries—the tallied days grown crooked in their journals, diaries and book of days—word’s crowding together to form hollow stories of hopes and dreams interweaved and spread across the gory obscenity that been their lives.
Them running away, their actions soon to be scorned and lauded in equal measure, this was going to be the best thing that might never happen to them—it was a sweet uncertainty, the reverse of an Esprit d’Escalier, because if they didn’t wait for the time to be right, they’d never have to struggle to find just the right words to say.
The bus ride was long and she slept right through everything, granted there was nothing good outside to see out there, but this was the first time either of them was leaving Pierstone, really leaving, or maybe it was a good thing she didn’t look, she didn’t want to remember her way back here. Liam just sat there, with all the time in the world, to think, to dwell on sinking feelings of betrayal, and he was careless—he’d sink so low into a darkness of uncertainty whose depths flared as he went towards the core of it, to this secret fathom, because even though nothing would come close to making him as happy as he was here seated next to her, nothing would also make him sadder.
Not for everything he’d left behind, which was little, and insignificant, but for everything that was already taken care of, back home he was somebody, could be somebody—this notion of being anybody hadn’t taken root yet, and this far out, he feared it probably wouldn’t.
He was home-sick already, not missing what it was, but what it could’ve been—what it ought to have been, (if only he knew what that was supposed to be?)
Sally roused in her sleep, turned from the window that had misted with her breath, and leaned against his shoulder, making the slightest purr—Liam felt golden, infinite, vindicated like the two of them were reasons songs like Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car were ever performed.
He stared at her sleep, her eyes twitching, her breath light as a sigh, and he looked away, his eyes caught the glazed glass and he paused a beat and smiled, saying to himself what the hell?
He stretched across and wrote on the window, like he was leaving a message to the beautiful night outside, a message for all to see, except her whom it was intended, he wrote, “Our journeys are not our own, we only decide which path to take.”