I have a mental exercise I do as I’m driving down the interstate, rather than simply enduring that all too familiar, all too painful, commute.
As I drive I look around me―at the landscape, at the other cars and trucks, at the people, especially the people―and I wonder, as they move through their self-absorbed lives, if they see themselves as they really are, dead. Dead, perhaps not in this here and this now, but most certainly in some where and when, they are dead.
And in that where and when they are not moving through the ash-gray landscape, but rather sit rotting in the rusted and burned out hulks that were their vehicles and their lives. At some point, of course, they were moving, clinging in vain to the hope of salvation, but at some point they stopped, in fact everything stopped, never to move again.
But I move past them―well, not me exactly, but some other me―careful not to breath in the horror that was their end and despairing that I was not among them, rather than cursed to meet my destiny in terrible solitude.
Sometimes the exercise is just that, an exercise in envisioning another where and when. But on good days the memory of the vision stays with me and grows to be added to the half a million or so words I’ve written over the past few years. Slowly those visions and words are morphing from a trilogy into a cycle of, so far, five novels, a novelette, and several short stories. So far only the Any Tomorrow trilogy has been published, but the others will hopefully be released sometime in the near future.
What about you? How do you morph your reality into your fiction?