In my last post I mentioned a screenplay I was thinking of novelizing. Well, guess what? That’s what I’ve been doing every day since January 7. I wrote the screenplay in 2006 while I was in the Professional Program in Screenwriting at UCLA. The screenplay was titled Exhume. I toyed around with renaming it and did rename it when I began the novel version, but I have since returned to the title Exhume. It’s about a string quartet who heads out to a remote location in Amish country to work on new music. There they do something they shouldn’t, and all hell breaks loose. The screenplay received an honorable mention in the annual competition at the end of the UCLA program. I thought it worked well as a screenplay, but we’ll have to see about the novel version. It might be too early to call it a novel. At the rate I’m going, it’s feeling more like novella length. I’m already appreciating getting to explore my main character more deeply writing it as fiction than I could as a screenplay. I hope I’ll finish it this year and plan to send it out to agents in the hopes of traditionally publishing it.

Lately, I’ve been on a reading streak where I’ve been reading very good books. Right now, I’m reading War and Peace and To Live by Yu Hua. A couple weeks ago I finished reading For Whom the Bell Tolls and was in awe for many reasons. I’ve also been reading the manga series Tokyo Tarareba Girls by Akiko Higashimura (my crush) which has been a lot of fun but whose viewpoints I’m often surprised by.

Two days ago, marked one year of being off social media. I don’t feel lacking because of it other than wondering if I’ve missed any messages from readers, but those are rare.

Well, that’s basically all I can think of mentioning. I hope you’re well and reading something really good.

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My Favorite Reads of Another blog lapse. I haven’t posted here since August. This is only my fifth post of 2023 and it’s the last day of the year. Maybe it seems remiss of me not to have posted since August, but I haven’t had anything noteworthy to mention. Since that last post, I’ve just been spinning my wheels, going in circles, and getting nowhere. I tried working on I Was Mistaken, like I mentioned, but it became painful to write. My shrink said a little discomfort is okay, but what I was doing was retraumatizing myself. I then went back to writing about Tara Raikatuji but couldn’t find her voice and so I completed another lap around my circle of stories by returning to Forever Candy. I struggled with the same point of view problems I’ve always had with that story, and my last attempt read back so lifelessly that it made me think of a desiccated grasshopper, if that’s a thing. This week, I pulled out a screenplay I wrote in 2008 about a cellist. It’s kind of a haunted house story. I’m kicking around having a go at novelizing it and it feels fresh because it’s not yet part of my traditional merry-go-round of stories that I tinker with then give up on. I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere though.

So that’s what I’ve been doing since August, even though I’ve written every day for the past 48 days. I’ve been forcing myself to write for a minimum of ten minutes a day to try to get something going. Though I haven’t made any progress on any of my projects, forcing myself to write like this has at least awakened whatever it is that allows me to daydream. I’m hoping this will soon lead me to finding solutions with my current stories or thinking of something entirely new.

I’m going to remember 2023 as the year I had writer’s block. I’ll also remember it as the year I read All the Lovers in the Night and Kokoro. It’s also the year I deleted Twitter, and deactivated my author Instagram and TikTok. I decided only to keep my personal accounts (@deadponies). My author accounts felt like a collection of promotional posts for my books rather than showing anything about me as a person. Hopefully, the posts about me are more interesting than my advertisements.

I really hope I get through this writer’s block soon. I can’t have another year like this. I was thinking about pretending I got an agent and a book deal so I can give myself a deadline to finish something—anything.

Goodbye 2023.

Hello 2024.

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