The New Novel & Belize

I will be posting sporadically over the coming months about our upcoming trip to Belize. It is a much needed vacation after a hectic summer of upheaval (getting fired on your first day of vacation (Austin) is not as fun as it sounds; scrambling to find a new job before the old one ends is quite stressful, but I pulled it off; Sara and I both now have great new jobs, doing essentially the same thing, so everything is fine on the employment front).

Severance package = Belize.

Why Belize? Several reasons, but, of course, there are the monkeys and the Mayans.

It started as a joke: Apparently, I end up with a lot of monkeys in my stories. I don’t know why. (For the record, I am aware that I use “monkey” very broadly: I call chimps, apes, orangutans, bonobos, etc., “monkeys” for the sake of how cool the word “monkey” is. I bow to no other authority.) Then I began to realize there was a deeper truth beneath it all. A dark truth.

Something clicked into place. And I had an entire novel unfold in my head in a few IPA-addled moments. Now I am in the process of trying to remember everything I thought of and to write it down in the right order.

The novel I am working on, The Clockwork Heart of Heaven, features ancient Mayan ruins, futuristic robotic gods, and (oddly enough) simians with a thorough appreciation of Romantic poetry, Dylan, and whisky. I am at 30,000 words so far.

Here are the draft opening lines:

Any cogent telling of the life of Jesus Crake will of necessity concern his appetites. His hungers were the engine that drove the revolution, and it can be said, with little exaggeration, that they burn still to this day, as does the magma that gestates in the belly of this world. From the petty hungers that fixed him to the sore breasts of a coterie of dark-skinned wet nurses to the slow, casual burn of greed that saw him buy up three-quarters of the island before his third decade, to the final, grasping, relentless hoarding of oxygen when he, to the shock of none, bent the seams of his iron lung and caused rivets to pop before he finally decided to die (screaming like an enraged infant, as he was wont to do in moments of stress).

To understand him and his life, clearly you must first understand these appetites.

But one cannot forget the monkeys; for their strange, preternatural allure must be explicated, as well.

Hunger and his damn monkeys should give an adequate window into Crake’s enigmatic soul.

It must be enough, for it is all I have to work with.

The affair of the oranges and the blind mistress will be absent from this account, for that is a promise that I made to him.

It is the only such promise I intend to keep.

But yours is a kind that enjoys murder, so let us start there.

Obviously, there is more to come…

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