Tuesday, December 23, 2008

writing a blue christmas

christmas is a forced holiday for freelancers, so i'm taking advantage of the downtime to focus on novel writing. i got the final pdf proofs for black snow today, and snuck into the maritime museum of the atlantic yesterday to get a photo of a photo for the cover, and am getting a little sick of reading bs. still, it's exciting to see it in book format.

my current project is working-titled 'blue.' it starts with a deadly car crash: a family's vehicle spins out on a desolate stretch of prairie highway, crushing everyone inside but flinging the father into the fields. he comes to, sees the wrecked car, and starts running toward the city. what he's thinking when he starts running is unclear, but by the long-time later when he gets into the city, something strange has happened to him. instead of reporting the crash, he throws out his wallet, except for the cash, and buys a bus ticket as far east as he can afford. a few days later, he winds up in halifax with no money, no clothes but what he's wearing, no name, no history and a future entirely up to him. in short he has no identity. in the months and years to come, he builds a new life. and then ....

i've been kicking the idea around for ages: who would you be if suddenly your life was gone and you woke up like adam in eden? all of the choices we make accrue on us like barnacles, shaping and reshaping ourselves. we don't make most of the decisions that lead us to be who we are - but what if you had a chance to create yourself from scratch? think mohammad ali sculpting himself out of cassius clay.

'blue' comes from 'bleu,' one of krzysztof kieslowski's trilogy 'trois couleurs'. it starts with a car crash and a family killed; this time, the mother survives. blue on the french flag represents liberty - this is a classic kieslowski twist, as she is horrifically freed from her family and the life she had with them. she's upset; i wondered what would happen if, instead of a dream life married to a lovely, rich and famous man, she had hated her old life. kieslowsky didn't make the movie, so i decided to write the book.

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