Do You Have Angst?: October 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The best series have an ending

As I’ve been working on Angst 2, I’ve been thinking about endings.  I have always thought that the best stories have an arc – one that was conceptualized before the first word was written.  While it doesn’t always work that way for every story, the ones I’ve enjoyed most carry the reader, or viewer, along a known path, giving out little tidbits that in the end wrap up nicely into a satisfying package.

I don’t think it was really a surprise to anyone how the Harry Potter series was going to end.  The genius wasn’t the finish, it was getting there.  We all know the bad guy is going to die, and the good guy is going to win.  Anything else would be a tough read, or hard to watch, and unfulfilling.  The genius of Harry Potter isn’t only the amazing world that JK Rowling built, the depth of character, the descriptive prose, or the imagination she shared with us.  There was also genius when it was announced that the series would be seven books long.

I’ve been a Star Trek fan all my life, but I think it’s always been a weak point that the original 5 year mission never ended.  We’ve gotten some great stories out of Trek, but rarely have we gotten closure.  I would have to say that The Next Generation episode “All Good Things...” would be the closest Trek has provided to closure of an episodical series.  (Without really closing it.)

Having no ending in mind can go bad.  I loved the first season of Heroes.  The second season Generations was fun, but hurt badly by the writers’ strike.  In the end, the series drug out with no end in sight, until I couldn’t stand watching it anymore.  I don’t think I was alone.  Comic books, which Heroes basically was, are notorious for this.  There are some amazing story arcs by great writers and artists, but eventually good titles peter out to become disappointing because in spite of the amazing build up there is no closure.

Angst was a dream that I spent years pondering and not writing.  I’m glad I finally did.  In spite of a few small cliffhangers, Angst can stand on its own.  There doesn’t have to be a sequel.  But, I love the characters.  I love what the world could grow into.  Angst 1 I really wrote out of necessity, Angst 2 (I know the title by the way.  Neener.)  I’m writing for fun.

It would be easy to make Angst 2 another episode, wait for everyone to tell me they love or hate it, and then maybe write another Angst episode.  I think that’s a mistake.  It’s both irresponsible entertainment, and could even be construed as bad writing.  I can’t write a never-ending string of Angst books.  I’d get burned out, everyone reading them would get sick of them, and I have other ideas that I want to explore.

I’ve given this a lot of thought.  Angst 2 isn’t going to be the end, but I promise I do have an end in mind.  If you like the world I’m creating, then I believe you’ll like what I’m planning.  There is going to be an end, I know what it is, and it’s going to be amazing.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Living Angst

We’ve been watching Star Trek with the kids, every episode.  We made it through the original series, the remastered blu-ray edition, and they enjoyed it.  Now we are watching Enterprise, which is better than I had remembered.  Tonight’s episode, A Night in Sickbay, Captain Archer’s pet beagle was deathly ill, he was sexually frustrated, and the Enterprise was falling apart.  I could relate to Archer’s frustration - I live this episode.

At one point he was climbing shelves and knocking over medical containers in a fruitless attempt to capture a bat in sick bay.  Every time T’Pol, played by the attractive Jolene Blalock, would approach him, he could only stutter Freudian slips.  The end result was facing humiliation by wearing some ridiculous garb and having his hair braided while performing a ceremony in apology for something he didn’t realize he had done wrong.  I think he apologized to pretty much everyone in this episode.

While Archer isn’t my favorite Starfleet captain, I experience this episode on so many levels, my wife kept looking over at me with a pitiful “I’m sorry” painted all over her beautiful face.  How many things can go so wrong in one day, in one week, in one life, before you start questioning whether or not you are even doing it right?

This is not a “woe is me” blog post.  I’m not looking for anyone’s pity, and don’t want to seem ungracious for the great support I’ve received.  I’ve got an amazing wife, great kids, a place to live, food to eat, friends to go to…all of the important stuff is more than covered.  But wow, does it seem to be a battle most days.  Between the job and the bills and the struggle of marriage and the balance of friends and marriage and family, and the total complete unmet potential of what I can be…it’s not easy.

I’m a true believer that nobody’s life is easy.  Nobody has enough money, or love, or friends, or whatever it is you strive for.  There are moments, great moments that we experience which supersede all and remind us that it’s worth the effort.  But everything else is life.

So for those days that are filled with broken toilet handles, jammed printers, sad songs at the wrong moment, text messages that friends don’t reply to, tailgating jerks, misunderstandings due to absolutely nobody’s fault, and writer’s block, I say fuck you.  I’m not giving up, but you better deal with my moments of frustration and ANGST as I fret through the little things and big things alike because I refuse to give in to the crap that’s handed to me day in and day out.