More than two years ago, my wife and I got married. For our honeymoon, we went to the Republic of Ireland - somewhere that I wanted to go back to and that she hadn’t been before. We had no plans in particular beyond, take the train to Kilkenny, stay there a few nights, and then return back to Dublin for the remainder of the week.
Lindy spent most of her time sleeping, and rightfully so. She was basically catching up on a month’s worth that she had missed. I, however, had a lot of trouble sleeping. I’m not sure if it was jet lag, the beds (which I’ve seen no evidence that they’re not made of drop forged steel), or the weird heat wave that had hit Ireland at the time. By the time that we returned to Dublin, I was in a bit of a hypnagogic state.
The heat wave seemed to get worse when we were in Dublin. The hotel room retained heat all too well, meaning that it remained about 90-degrees; even in the dead of night. Being born and raised in Portland, Oregon, I’m used to cold nights, so the heat was like being in my own personal hell. It was nearly impossible for me to go to sleep.
Beyond our bed was a window that had sheer curtains. They functioned such that I could only see shadows and silhouettes beyond them. In my sleeplessness, my mind began to explore concepts despite my best efforts to prevent it from doing so. These were idea that were fueled by some of my favorite sci-fi horror movies from when I was a kid; movies such as Alien and The Thing.
I would imagine a figure - humanoid in shape - standing just beyond the curtains, pressing its hand against the window. I could see this figure’s shadow in the hallway light coming from under the door frame. There was no where to go. Nowhere that I could run. Despite speaking the language, despite having been to Ireland once before, I was alone. I was caught by some aggressive being - unknown to me in nature - in a foreign land.
The day after this wakeful nightmare, I drowsily stumbled into a pub, sketch book in hand, ordered a Guinness and some crisps, and began playing with this fear. Apparently, this can be a rather useful state to be in as I knocked out five or six hand written pages exploring the characters, themes, and plotting, plus a concept sketch of the figure standing outside the window in the span of two pints. The Guinness may have also had something to do with it.
I’m sad to say that I never really played much with this idea all that much for the last two years. It stuck in the back of my mind as something to work with, but my attention was always on the Amazing Adventures of Captain Farr Novarider and the Wild Horses, and more recently on Express Line Number 7. I think it’s time to rectify this.
For the months of October and November, this short story - currently titled “The Dublin Man” - is going to be the focus of my work. I think that two months is a pretty relaxed schedule for a short story (I seem to remember being able to produce one about every week in college). This will allow me some time to get some peer input as well. Once November 30th comes, “The Dublin Man” gets a go, no-go assessment for publishing, and I’m back to Express Line Number 7.
Working on this short story will hopefully have a couple effects. The first being that it comes at a fortuitous time in the development of the story for Express Line Number 7 where I’ve found some problems with a few of the characters. This project will afford me some time to think on these problems while not making me feel like I’m being unproductive. The second being that I get a little break, staving off any of the animosity or frustration that becomes common with large projects like Express Line Number 7. It happened with The Amazing Adventures, it will happen with this one, too.
I’ll still be working on the Let’s MAD series as well as developer diaries such as this. I might take the opportunity to do something other than a DevDiary next month. I’ve had an idea for a show for a some time now (almost as long as “The Dublin Man”) that I would like to execute on just to see how it might go over, but we’ll see about that.
I look forward to trying to publish a short story for my first time. This will be a good diversion that will, hopefully, re-energize me for writing Express Line Number 7. I’m excited. Are you excited? I’m excited.
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