In 1994 or 1995, I wrote a science fiction short story (pretentiously titled “Notes from the Underground”) about a cyberpunk vampire with no name who is addicted to a drug that helps him stop feeding on people. I sent it to several science fiction magazines and was soundly rejected, though Algis Budrys was nice enough to write me about two pages of ways in which he thought my story could be improved.

In 1998, after I finished my first novel Perigee, I decided to pick this story up again- and it became a novel, Anagama. Its plot changed and changed again in the years between then and now, the cyberpunk went largely away, and finally last year I realized that it was missing an entire character, an entire subplot, an entire focus. So I tore it apart and changed it yet again, coming up with an entire new plot with, I thought, fewer holes.

I meant to finish Anagama last year, but was distracted with many other projects, and my best intentions of spending an hour writing every night were destroyed almost immediately after I had made those intentions. Life just got in the way, like a fat orange tomcat sitting in front of a camera that’s been set up to take footage of complex yoga poses.

I thought I’d never finish Anagama. Today is the first day in about eleven months since I did any work on it, and the only reason I am working on it, and not my new project Infinity– also a science fiction novel, this time based on actual dreams of mine which have recurred time and again and woven themselves into a complex narrative- is that I am awaiting feedback from my small, three-person focus group on the plot of it, as well as feedback from a very kind and patient string theorist from USC who has agreed to help me figure out less stupid ways to make stable traversable wormholes, or to have things move in a non-chronological fashion in time.

I’m pleased to announce that Anagama is currently at 17,864 words and that there are only twenty-nine chapters left, and twenty-two weeks left in this year. If I can finish one or two chapters a week for the rest of this year, I might even have a draft done by December 31st! That would be a great New Year’s gift to myself, and while I love the story for Infinity, it requires a lot more planning and care than Anagama. All I need to finish Anagama is relative peace, some creative energy, and time.

Here is hoping that fat orange cat doesn’t decide to sit in front of my camera again!