Castles in the air

I knew a writer who wanted to transition from the technical documents that he wrote to pay his bills to fiction. His vision inspired a whole universe; not one novel but a series. He spent what little free time he had as a single dad and technical writer working on his project.

I admired his dedication and became his sounding board. I listened as he described the story’s plot line. He kept track of the ever-growing number of dates, places, and other facts in his MySQL database.

The more I learned about his sci-fi series, however, the more uneasy I became. In my friend’s vision, the near-future earth was collapsing under the combined weight of climate change and greedy corporations. In the gentlest manner possible I tried to tell him that his scenario was a hackneyed cliché at this point, but my efforts fell on deaf ears. I guessed then that he had cynically calculated his story for a quick sale. My heart sank when I realized that, no, he actually believed his story was unique.

He was my friend and I continued listening to him as he planned his series. Afterall, he was a talented writer and there was a chance, however small, that he might make something.

One thing that bothered me was that despite his considerable work, he’d written little–less than fifty pages. That was worrisome but some writers won’t write a single sentence until the entire plot is outlined. I concluded that my friend is in that category. Besides, he’d only been working on this novel a short time.

That turned out to not be true. When I discovered he’d already worked on his project for several years, I started looking for the exits. I spent my life around writers, musicians, and other artists. There is no group more given to building castles in the air than creatives. Except for a short period when I was young, I’ve stayed clear of fabulists.

The final straw came when my friend decided to learn a programming language. Why? To program the video game that will be licensed from his best-selling novel–his intellectual property. When he asked me to help research the best language for game programming, I begged off and soon disentangled myself from the project.

A lot of people are lazy. My friend isn’t one of them. He’s super busy running down the track to nowhere. The last time I heard from him, he was still working on the video game based on his non-existent novel that he is too busy to write.

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