Update: February 2018 – this initiative was put on hold as I worked through other volumes of fiction and poetry. At this stage, I have no plans to resurrect “Wednesday”. I leave the entry here for Posterity’s sake!
Here’s a draft excerpt from “The Man Who Waited…”; the first-cut of the Preface. The book is planned and mapped out – pretty much just as the Preface suggests…!
So there it is. All mapped out neatly. Regimented in a grid. Organised. The plan for the story. Imagine it, perhaps, as a table of rows and columns.
The columns represent time, one for each day. Except for the first one. Or two. These represent the past, if you will (though all the columns do – and do not – represent the past, of course); the past before the days with which we will primarily concern ourselves; the days leading up to Wednesday. Those first columns are to hold the things that happened earlier; that, one way or another, influence the events with which we are really concerned. We all have those columns in our lives don’t we? Indeed, how could we not? We are, after all, an amalgam made up of all those little – and big! – incidents and events that come before; even many that did not happen to us at all. And those first columns (however many there may be) just keep getting wider and fuller, and the ‘today columns’ seem to get narrower and pass more quickly. At least that seems to be the general theory. Until they disappear altogether. But let’s not dwell on that.
What about the rows? The rows are our story lines, the themes that flow through the narrative like threads through that over-large jumper Auntie Elsie knitted you when you were younger, remember? One of those little incidents in your first column perhaps. And these themes or threads tell their own little story, their own sub-plot in a way – not that you could lift them out just like that and present them as something coherent, of course. Not at all! They are woven together, back and forth, across the columns, to create a mesh, an image that hopefully comes to tell the story – John’s story – that we’re all here for. Does that make sense? Having said that, you could extract them if you wished to; take them and then deposit them in their own little grid; embellish them with more columns of their own – with more rows of their own – until you make, what?, another story altogether. A bit like taking some of Aunt Elsie’s yarn from that jumper and turning it into a tank top or scarf by stealing some wool from elsewhere. Actually ‘stealing’ is a little strong, isn’t it? You wouldn’t be stealing most likely – at least not in the going-to-prison sense.
So. Rows and columns. Boxes and intersections. Actions and notes and comments and thoughts and description and speech and incident, all criss-crossing in a weave of perhaps illogical sequence – because you couldn’t just read down a column and make sense of it, of course! – in order to furnish you with a narrative. Something to do, to read; to occupy your mind; to relay a story. John’s story.
And where is truth in all of this? Everywhere and nowhere you might argue, who’s to say? There will be fragments – like treasures rescued from the sands of Egypt or the bogs of East Anglia – that are, in some senses, ‘real’. There will be nuggets of things that actually happened, or said; stolen from all sorts of lives and compiled here, like some kind of literative papier mâché. Let’s hope the glue’s dried!
Anyway, that’s it; just a little background. Scene-setting. Just to reassure you that this had all been thought through. That there was a plan. Important to have a plan, don’t you think?