Dear diary blog,
It's 2AM and I'm perched at the keyboard finishing the most difficult essay that I have ever attempted to write.
This long-problematic piece was actually started nearly ten friggin' years ago. Because the subject matter was so close to heart, though, it was always difficult to retain objectivity about the proper direction and the quality of the actual work.
But tonight, after two days of just chipping away at it again (for the god-only-knows-how-many-eth time) I finally feel what I've always wanted to feel: that both the rhythm and wording are right, and that the whole is worth every bit of the seemingly endless effort.
Now, after nearly a decade of starts and stalls one would think that I'd managed to pen something equal in size to Plato's Apology. But it's only a 3,000-word essay–albeit one that shoehorns some 50,000 years of human history into a thoughtful and entertaining text.
That is partly what made it so damned difficult to write.
And it's also kinda personal too, but had to be made much less personal to make it work; letting go of the parts in which you have an emotional investment is probably the hardest part about writing.
For me it is, anyway.
Two years ago, one of my previously failed attempts to rework the essay in question resulted in the "Black East" piece that was published in Giant Robot magazine. That was my first published piece and is in many ways a pre-quel to this one.
Coincidentally (but there are no coincidences, right?), Runoko Rashidi contacted me a couple of weeks ago. The somewhat well known historian and lecturer asked if he could include the previously metioned piece in his new travelogue called African Star Over Asia.
When I finally find the words, I'll say something about just how...legitimizing the opportunity feels. Right now, though, all I can say is that it's an honor.
As to the title of my old-but-new essay – and it has had a number of 'em throughout its decade long gestation period – "Monster Islands" is the title that was settled upon in 2010 and it's still a perfect fit.
Oh, and diary blog, I just had a thought.
If I could take a picture right now of what I'd like my life to look like it would be something like the screenshot that I just captured. See it?
Click to enlarge
Well, at the center of the image is the current work-in-progress, which is essentially complete except for a lil' fine-tuning. On the top left side of the screen, the movie Monster From a Prehistoric Planet (aka Giant Beast Gappa) is playing with the volume turned down. And underneath the minimized media player screen is a map of Papua New Guinea, which – like the movie itself – is referenced in the essay.
Over there on the right side of the screen is an antique photograph of a young maiden from Papua New Guinea––something discovered during one of the Raiders of the Lost Ark-style research runs. Beneath that stunning portrait is an iTunes window that displays the song "Genocide" by the Reavers (featuring rappers Spiega, Billy Woods and Kong) as it plays with the volume turned down low.
When I open my eyes to dream, that screenshot offers a perfect example how I'd like my life to look. But in the vision, I actually make a good living doing what I love as both a writer and artist. And if not every single day, most of my work/play days would look like that.
Okay, the only deviation from what's captured in the image is that there would probably be two flat-screen monitors on my desktop––Oh, and the desk itself would be something new from Ikea.
As for tonight/today, though, I'm happy with what I've got, and happy with how my life looks.