Last week I ended the saga of THE ALTERNATES by explaining how I abandoned it after I realized the bones of the plot were taken from Angela Carter’s The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffmann. But that wasn’t the end, oh no, because if it was then we would have this post to read right now. (You can find Take 1 on THE ALTERNATES by clicking here.)
I have a longstanding friend from college who I met the first semester I was there and ended up hanging out with throughout college (and after). We found ourselves in a creative writing class and continued writing and reading each other’s work during our years there. After graduation, Jason Myers (for that is his name) got bogged down in and with work while I was starting my grad school adventures.
Somehow, we got into co-authoring. There’s a screenplay that’s testament to that fact. We’ve tried other genres, and this version of THE ALTERNATES is the closest we’ve gotten to completing another work heralding both our names.
Because I was soured on my original idea, I pitched it over to Jason and let him run with it a bit, reimagining the story as a work to fit both our tastes. As you’ll see below, this means a much more gentle introduction into the strangeness of this universe, and a more realistic take overall in terms of description.
Sidenote: My YA tends to be much more on the adult side of things rather than the young. Though the category New Adult has been bandied about and dismissed, I’d say that a number of my ideas for novels fall within that demi-category. This, probably, is one of them.
Imagine the atom a miniature world. The neutron is the earth, the electron the moon. Imagine a single person standing on that earth like the Little Prince, the only sensations being his (or hers. If we look, we change everything) just as the only interpretations of those sensations are his (or hers). The ultimate microcosm.
People say that each person is a microcosm of the world, and through extrapolation of that person’s experiences, all the experiences of the world can be deduced, both actual and potential. Each one of us is everyone, potentially, exponentially, and with every birth the totality of experience each of us represents increases.
And who am I? There was a time when I was everyone. Then I was not.
Chris turned, just as he was stepping onto the Metro bus, but saw a couple come together, the woman’s face wet with tears. The man seemed stunned, his arms clasped to his side by her strong embrace. The woman lowered her face to weep into the man’s shoulder, and he had yet to move.
“You riding, mister?” Chris looked up at the bus driver, a thickset man whose face struck him as kind, if harried. The bus driver rolled his eyes and said, “Come on, come on, let’s go.”
“Sorry,” Chris muttered, taking his Metro card from his wallet and feeding it to the fare machine. The machine spit the card back out, so Chris inserted it again only to have it rejected.
“Kid, the card’s a dud,” the bus driver said.
“I just bought it yesterday,” Chris said, and tried to hand the card to the driver.
“Look, do you have money for the fare?”
“I have the card.” Chris held the card out to the driver again. The bus driver took it, crumpled it, and threw it in the trash.
“I can’t help you, then.” The bus driver paused. Chris looked into the bus at the people already seated, all of whom avoided his gaze. “I’m sorry, but you need to step down off the bus.”
The bus doors closed with a snap as soon as he was back on the curb. He looked back toward the couple, but they were gone. It was fall, and though it wasn’t cold at the moment, the afternoon promised steadily dropping temperatures. Without the bus he wouldn’t make it to Clark’s for dinner. The Metro trains didn’t go out that far and he had no cash for a cab. It was times like these that he wished he owned a cell phone, though these were the only times.