Well, here we are almost at the end of this decade, and it sure feels strange to be entering the 2020s. Why? For one thing, chronologically speaking, these coming years will see me say goodbye to middle-age, and bid a tentative hello to whatever the hell comes next
Bet I know what you’re thinking – old age is what he’s got coming, and the dude don’t want to admit it. Ha ha! You’re 100% correct but then what is the passing of time to fifty trillion cells, or thereabouts, all set on occupying a space I call me? Those critters, and perhaps an even larger army of micro-bacterial camp followers, just get on with the magic of staying alive. And what a jolly good idea that is!
I spent some time these last few days updating my one page business plan and in the section for mission, I settled on this three word tagline:
“Rediscovering The Wonder”
Those three words mean the world to me because their message defines much of what I hope to experience every second of being alive. I also hope they inspire a similar response in others who discover my books and writings.
But rediscover the wonder of what?
The nature of this intangible ‘what’ defines what writing means to me these days and I allude to it in the longer version of my mission statement below:
“Rediscovering the wonder of life, reality and worlds unknown through story.”
Mark McClure Of course, that sentence is too long for many people to remember, and is more likely to confuse rather than clarify what my writing persona is all about. But, that aside, I can see now how a process of rediscovering what I refer to here as ‘wonder’ began to emerge in the last decade or so of my life.
Before I started to create fiction, I spent a number of years (2003-2012) writing self-help and personal growth material, much of it published on this blog, much of it still available via the archives. I also self-published two e-books with the aim of covering what I learned in a more succinct and readable manner.
And those two books are also still available.
Living Your Best Life is the first one, and Just Five Rules is the second. I indie-published both in 2016, and although they are not big sellers – ha ha – that doesn’t really faze me. Looking back, I can see now that they were written as love letters to myself; that (self)love being a deepening platonic understanding of my life experiences to date.
I took a look at my last post of 2009, titled ‘2010 – Year of the Tiger’ [click on the link to read it.] Although I cannot remember the details of all that came to pass in 2010, I do recall the specific day, New Year’s Eve 2009, very well, because the blog post takes me back to a bustling food hall in a Tokyo department store where we discovered Anderson’s Danish bakery. And I remember collecting their sales leaflet and bringing it home, along with some of their delicious bread.
Anderson’s must’ve made an impression on me because I visited their website and looked up the ‘quality bakery’ statement. Unfortunately, the link is now broken, at least it was the last time I checked in August 2014(!), so I’m quoting here from memory of what the founder of this business, Japanese businessman Shunsuke Takaki, said not long after World War II:
“No matter how much the world changes, I believe every person strives for improvement and progress in their lives.” Shunsuke Takaki
Takaki-san’s words fit much of what I believe life is about. But of course there are many variations on what exactly is meant by the practice of striving, and so it is my fervent wish that this coming decade, and the ones after that, will lead to a more collaborative and caring and mindful understanding of how eight to ten billion people, many of whom are struggling to just stay alive day-by-day, can strive together on a planet whose resources are finite and symbiotically bound by multiple fragile webs of coexistence.
This reminds me of another wonder, a wonderful open secret that Ray Bradbury, the science fiction writer, alluded to when he said that the secret of remaining active and energetic and in love with life, even in old age, and I’m paraphrasing here, was to remember a time when you were very young and free of adult programming and the world’s expectations, a time when you had no choice but to trust your instincts and the sensory impacts of the everyday world, a magical world of wonder to you, the innocent child.
So, in honor of my own mission to rediscover wonder through story, not only will I be writing stories I want to write, but I will be publishing them on a much more regular basis. All being well, I plan to publish something on a monthly basis (starting with ‘Brain Read‘.)
And should I fall short, well, I’m sure I will have done more than I ever expected. But if I meet or exceed that target, then, I will be overjoyed. Choose joy!
And you, dear blog visitors and potential readers, if you choose to follow my work, will get to see what’s behind a writer set on rediscovering his wonder. For me, science and technology have been a way to better understand the unbelievable sense of being alive and well-fed and safe and lucky and still inspired in these difficult times. I’m aware that many people do not have that privilege, and may never have it, or if they do, it may take a long, long time, or be but a dream they pass on to their children as an aspiration to strive and hope for in some distant future.
I hope I can portray something of that child-like wonder in my stories but hey, who am I to judge my own work? Other (successful) authors have told me it’s next to impossible for a writer to judge their own work. I am going to do the best I can at the time and then release my work for readers to find.
So with the above in mind, look for an announcement sometime in January about my next book. The eBook’s cover is now in the ‘Book’ section. It’s called ‘Brain Read’ – a collection of four speculative fiction short stories that cross swords in some manner with death or dying or the experience or impact of mortality.
In 2020, as well as writing and releasing stories on a regular basis, the first half of the year will see me focus a lot more on writing craft. I’m taking an online science fiction course, a short story course, I will continue to work on reaching readers, and on developing collaborative and supportive relationships with other speculative fiction and science fiction writers.
Phew! It’s a lot of ‘work’ but I’m excited to get started. And that’s what I’ve got lined up for 2020.
Happy New Year and I hope you have a good one.