What’s next?

by Rachel Creager Ireland

RACHEL: It’s time to start the next project. It’s actually past time, as the people who give advice about writing and publishing seem to be in agreement that writers are supposed to be working on the next project before the current one is published. So I’ve already missed the first deadline.

I have tons of ideas, but where to turn at this time? Since this is really Veronica’s space, I thought I’d let her share her opinion.

VERONICA: Well, naturally, I’d love to see more writing about us Caryatids. Tell about the ways we’ve adapted to survive, and the birthing of babies, and the Goddesses who watch over us. You could tell about the Deva that lives in Melch’s hill, though he’s not strictly a Caryatid, but he’s a neighbor and integral to our larger community. Here’s an idea: a collection of short stories, each named for a Goddess, and each about a different character, and how that person embodied some qualities of his/her respective Goddess. They could all be interwoven, and maybe altogether they’d show the character of the community, moving through some particular period or event in the life of the group, or the place.

Anyone else?

STARLA: I think your idea about conspiracy theories and mind control and the healer talking to aliens is cool. And all the links to external sites. You and Kevin would have a lot of fun collaborating on that project.

MELCH: That one would be an opportunity to explore some essential questions about knowing and consciousness, how we judge information, the nature of reality. But your reservations, Rachel, might be well-founded, that your novel-writing skills may not be developed enough to pull this one together. You’ll have many years to write, what’s the rush?

Why not tell us more about Starla, and her history? Apparently she’s not going to tell us on her own.

STARLA: Don’t listen to him, you can do anything you set your mind to! Though my story is pretty juicy . . . .

CAL: What about me? You left me in the middle of a flood. C’mon, I’m a great character. Admit it, you liked writing me. Don’t you wanna know happens to me, after Maeve– well, okay, I won’t spoil it. But seriously, think about it. About me.

CHELSEA: You all make me sick, with your me, me, me. I’m going to tell you something about ME. I’ve been languishing on Rachel’s mental back burner since before she even met some of you, trying to hold things together in this bleak wintery world, while the men are hiding from environmental estrogen in their cushy underground bunkers, leaving the women on the surface struggling to survive on turnips and peas and whatever we can barter, while Granny Rachel (yes, one and the same) rocks in her chair, blathering on about the old days and how the rumble of cars on the highway never ended, people paid for their lodging with money that you could take to Emporia and use to buy foods from anywhere in the world. Well, Rachel, write me or don’t. Won’t change a thing either way.

RACHEL: Oh Chelsea, I’m so sorry you feel that way. Everyone else, thanks for your input. Shall we open it up to our readers?