29 April 2009

42 Days to Launch

So here I sit in a tiny Internet cafe in Siem Riep, Cambodia. Outside thunderous rain thrashes down onto the humble little streets from ominously blackened thunderclouds. It's been over a month since we heard another South African voice - how quickly you become accustomed to a new existence. In Cambodia ones identity as a western traveller or "barang" is fixed, stymied by history, language and a pale skin. Nobody here has heard of South Africa - they call us Aussies or Americans which is equally galling.

It didn't take as long as expected to throw off the shackles of Spud Learning to Fly. Once my brain computed that the book was written and there was nothing left to be done, it has set my imagination free and other stories have drifted into my consciousness. More attractively, one or two possibilities that harness something other than the South African condition and all that involves. At present they are mere sketches that need layering, oh and a plot, but perhaps they are the first clues to where I shall move beyond the final Spud book.

Returning to Spud - Learning to Fly, I remain hugely excited about this third instalment of the Spud series. When I reflect on a year's work and all the associated planning, agonising and hysteria, I immediately return to the choices I made along the way. After all, that is what writing really is - a vast array of choices neither right or wrong, but crucially important to the rhythm of the story. In many cases these choices were taken for me by the characters themselves, I was merely creating words to fit their instinctive thoughts and actions.  On other occasions the deliberate hand of the writer steered them away from the familiar and habitual towards shaky ground. Perhaps these moments will become the most interesting? Another subtle difference between this book and Spud, and The Madness Continues... is that I have written Learning to Fly in a classic 5 act Shakespearean structure  - with distinctive crests and troughs leading towards multiple climaxes in Act 5.  Spud 1 itself was greatly lacking in structure, which perhaps was part of its charm, although the large emotional wind up at the end was more akin to a Greek tragedy than a young schoolboy's diaries. I guess you can say that I am continuously experimenting with the medium, like an ancient explorer, wandering through lost ruins, lifting stones, and carefully piecing a puzzle together.

As far as movie news is concerned, I am pleased to announce that momentum is on our side and a number of crucial building blocks have been set in place. The producer has gagged me with regard to letting out any important details, although I can report that Spud the movie will be made in the not too distant future. For those convinced that this could be their gateway to stardom, I beg your patience, and remind you that as soon as auditions are announced you shall read it here.

In the meantime I'll keep you posted on my travel blog.

You be safe and happy.
John