Here we go again. Welcome to the blog blast of the section that I call The Kingdom from the book Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 3: The Keep. The Kingdom is an explanation of the work itself. You can’t understand any writer unless you know their work. So Friday we began at 6 p.m. and I will release one blog every two hours and fifteen minutes. That means we’ll finish the story of my work and its future, my work and its past, at 7:30 on Sunday evening. There are some crazy things in here. Some setbacks we never could have made it past without the people who care about me. There are some crazy things in here. Plans that I have and things that I’m doing that, simply put, are impossible. But everything’s impossible until it’s finished, until it’s been done or accomplished. There are some crazy things in here. Dreams so wild and so immense that to think they’re within reach you have to be a little unhinged. And while reading this small collection of blog posts, you’ll hear the rantings of the Lunatic of Fantasy. You’ll find in these posts the past, present, and future of the writing of Jesse Teller.
I started a book called Tribes of the Mountain after Rayph was born.
I held him for the first six weeks, but after that, he slept all night and I would stay up and write. I got about 115 pages in before Plan and Pear came to the house.
They came to help with the baby. And they were such a big help. See evidently we didn’t have any food in the house. Evidently all of the clothes we were wearing were filthy. Evidently we were, like most new parents, letting everything slide.
So they walked in and, within a few days, got us back on track. They started to cook for us and we actually ate meals instead of, well shit, I don’t know what we had been eating, dust bunnies or something. But now meals. Fuck, even fresh fruit. Anyway that is not what I want to talk about. I don’t even want to talk about this, but I think it needs to be said.
“Hey,” Shade said to Plan. “I am about 115 pages into my third book. It’s about—”
“Anyone can write eighteen books no one wants to read, Jesse,” Plan said. She got up and started to go into the other room but Shadow stopped her.
“What the fuck did you say?” Shadow said.
It stopped the house. Bekah came in the room. Pear, Plan’s husband, came in the room. Everyone stopped. Everyone stared. Plan looked at Shadow and shook her head.
“I’m sorry, it’s fine,” she said.
“No, it’s not. You don’t get to just say some shit like that and walk out of the room,” Shadow said. “You have never read a single thing I have written.”
“You’re right. It was unfair.” She just wanted this to be over.
“Well now you get to,” Shadow said. “You are going to read all of it. Every fucking word I have ever written. All of it, and then if you want to say that kind of shit again, I’ll let it go. But you don’t get to just come in and shit on me like that and walk out unscathed.”
“What did she say!” Bekah asked. She was furious now.
Shadow pulled back and Shade came out front. “Listen, it doesn’t matter. She will read and we will talk about it again afterward. It’s fine.”
“What did she say?” Bekah said. “What did she say to you?”
“This is Shade,” he said to Bekah. This let her know that the alter in charge knew what he was doing. She would not have listened to anyone else, thinking them too broken to stand up for themselves, but Shade always had a plan. So when she heard him tell her to drop it, Bekah did.
I didn’t tell this story so that I could shit on Plan. The truth is that everyone has been saying things like this for a long time. In the beginning, a dozen said this behind my back. Since I published, more—and by more I mean busloads—have questioned the mad plan. They don’t believe the Lunatic of Fantasy. I’ve heard people say that nobody will read that many books. I’ve said it myself. I’ve heard stories of people laughing about the mad plan, and I’ve seen it in the comments of posts. There is no confidence in my work. Or my writing. It has not shown any fruit. It has not been celebrated. It has done nothing substantial so far.
I don’t know what to say to the dozens and now hundreds. I don’t know what to say.
No, I do know what to say. I’m not going away. Eventually, you will have to face me. Tellers do not walk away from a fight. And this, my career, is the fight of my life.
When Song won Drunken Druid Book of the Year, I got a nod from Vigil, but it was a very conserved nod. Hymnal has read a lot of my books and we talked about her earlier, but for now I wanted to show you what the lay of the land is. No one thinks this is going anywhere. Not a single member of her family, not a single member of mine.
Well, Bekah’s mother said that “Dead Girl” was the greatest thing I’d ever written. “Dead Girl” is a novella in the collection Legends of the Exiles. I don’t disagree with her.
She read Teardrop and said, “This book is gonna make you famous.” However, she also did read “Daughter of Beasts,” and with a disapproving scowl, and a trembling nod, said, “Too much sex, just too much sex.”
The confidence is not there. So far, I’m a failure.
So, fast forward a few years. I guess it would be five, yeah I think five years. I have not touched Tribes of the Mountain in five years. Plan’s comment shut the whole project down, but now I am ready to get started again. I have written Chaste, Liefdom, a hand full of shorts, and “The Perpetual Child.” But they all stand on their own. See, they don’t connect in any real way. I have yet to commit to a big step.
But Tribes is not a small story. I knew it back then, but I had the confidence to do it because I had two others done and things were going well. But after Plan’s comment, the idea of a big project was insane. I figured the book would be long. I figured it would take three books to tell the story. And that was way too much to commit to.
Well like I said, it’s five years later now, 2010, and we are taking things much more seriously. We are ready to take this muscle car on the road and see what it can do.
Prince has cowed Artist. Shade decided he will write the stories. We have time set aside in the day. We have an open schedule as far as plans go, and we have revised Liefdom and set it to Genius. We are ready for a big step.
I read Tribes of the Mountain. I did not like it. I knew I wouldn’t. I had at the time been trying to tell a story that I was too lazy to tell. I wanted another book under my belt and I wanted to just get a notch, so I had rushed through everything. I knew that if I was going to make this book work, I needed to take my time.
I set a schedule of writing two thousand words a day and got started.
I stuck to Tribes of the Mountain as far as the layout of the story, but I took no lines from it and I moved wherever the book wanted to go. I added characters that had never existed before. I built up story lines, and I filled everything in. One day my two thousand words were done in one hour and I bumped it up to three thousand.
When I finished the book, it had taken me three months to the day. This book showed me my first End of Book Mode, which is what I am in right now for The Keep. I am writing for about sixteen hours today. I’m three in. But Eastgate was where that started. You need to read a few more chapters before EOBM is explained. I won’t ruin the surprise.
Eastgate, when it was finished, was 804 pages long. I had written it in 3 months. When I stood back and caught my breath, I looked at Bekah and she said, “Well done. That book is amazing!”
“When Kell the Wanderer shows up, it moves to the next level,” Shade said.
“It is obviously the first in a trilogy, right?”
I have my hands out, almost like I’m typing, almost like I’m walking away from a well-played piano. I’m backing up in fear of the thing I have made, but more so of what it will become.
“There are going to be seven of them,” Shade said.
Bekah took a step back. “What?” Even she needed to get her bearings. She took a deep breath.
“There are seven Mountain books. I don’t know what they are about yet, but I know there are seven of them.”
“Seven, eight-hundred-page books,” she said.
“We are moving into the next level,” Shade said. “You with me?”
And that is our war cry. I said it to her as Guardian pulled away from Mumble’s house the night he called the cops on Grasp. She said it to me the night Bliss told her, “No knives at my wedding.” And between there and them, so many times those words have been spoken.
Well, you get to witness it now. Bekah is taking dictation. She’s here with us as I shout, as I mumble, and as I weep through the rewrites of this book. She’s typing the additions, the caulking, sliding in all the wedges. She’s at the stop that’ll hold the door open to all the rooms that make up The Keep. You’re here in this room with us now. I’m a jittery mess. The things I’m seeing around me, I refuse to describe, and she’s pounding out every key. So for the first time, we have witnesses. You get to listen. You get to watch.
“I’m releasing The Keep in days, not weeks. Are you with me?”
’Til the end.
This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 3: The Keep, available on Amazon.