Progress log: finished editing The Monksville Chronicles for rerelease, proof copy is on its way. Also, started a new blog series called The Bookmaker’s Note in which I’ll attempt to connect with my audience. Here we go.
So I’ve been doing this bookmaking thing for a good short while now. Feels like I’ve been doing it a lifetime, but in reality 2021 is only my third year in the game. I’ve done a solid amount of work so far, I think, both on and off the page; when I first started writing I was batshit crazy, like actually fucking insane, like legitimately mentally unwell. I was punching holes in the walls and having frequent mental breakdowns which involved screaming ’til my throat was raw and I was drinking and smoking for all the wrong reasons and you know what, I’m’a say it: I was pretty goddamn suicidal. That was 2017, when I randomly decided to start writing. I was lost in 2017.
At the top of 2019 I put my first book out. I was still pretty out of my mind at that point, still pretty insane, but I was screaming less and I wasn’t punching holes in the walls anymore and I was only smoking for all the wrong reasons, no longer drinking. I still felt lost, as all the writing I had done up until that point was of the shared-universe short story variety (with the occasional piece of shitty poetry thrown in for fun) but yet my first book was a shitty self-help book, plus the suicide was still a firm Plan B… but I was making progress. I was on the journey, ‘man, we’re all on our own journeys and I was on mine and I was getting somewhere, I was getting shit done. So I made another book, a travel novella, and shortly after it came out I unpublished both books because I had self-published two 100-page books through Amazon and I wasn’t a millionaire, which obviously meant I was a pathetic asshole and a failure and a worthless waste of human seed and why should I even try and that crossbow I got as a high school graduation present was looking pretty sexy sitting there with its quiver full of bolts in the storage crawlspace next to my bed and and and…
So then I got the idea to put all the shitty poetry I wrote into book form, and that idea spiraled into me reworking my books into a fiction series called The Highest One Writing about a crazy author who lived in a universe parallel to the one where my unreleased short stories took place, and then I finally allowed myself to write what I wanted to write the whole time: a 600-page novel which both took place in the same universe as all the short stories I wrote and was part of The Highest One Writing. Then I made a runner’s log, for whatever fucking reason, and then 2019 was over. I wrote my fat novel and nobody really read it because I didn’t promote it or put it on the internet at all and I was discouraged, but I didn’t quite feel like giving up. Like, I wrote a 600-page novel all by myself, why the fuck would I give up now? I felt like there was a higher reason I wrote that tome, like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing in life. I didn’t feel lost. I was still crazy, undeniably out of my gourd, but I didn’t feel lost. Yes, the thought of that crossbow still made my mouth water, but there was a new woman in my life. Her name was Existence, and including that questionable runner’s log she was five books thicc and looking damn good to me. The journey, ‘man, it’s all part of the journey.
To start 2020 off right, I looked at myself in the mirror and came to terms with the fact that despite the lack of an audience and money and other United States of American measures of success, nothing in life gave me joy and a sense of purpose like making my books did. So, I assembled all the short stories I had written and never released into a 700-page anthology and capped off The Highest One Writing, resetting my fictional reality in the process. I wanted a fresh start with Existence so it would seem like I knew exactly what I was doing the whole time when folks eventually started reading my work, so that’s what I did.
The first book I put out after the reset was The Monksville Chronicles, which was meant to be the beginning of a very long story which would serve as the origin story of Existence. I then decided that I would write the rest of that story in the future when I was better at writing and duly moved on to my next project, an anthology of short stories based on random objects I was trying to sell at the time (I dabble in the resale game too) called Convenient Incidents. I then went on a hiatus to focus on smoking for all the wrong reasons; during this hiatus, I got an idea for a book about a writer who writes a novel about bigfoot. I wrote the first chapter of this book (titled Untitled Bigfoot Project) and thought it was great, but my focus was still on smoking for all the wrong reasons, and I decided I needed to change that if I wanted to finish the bigfoot book. So, over the course of five days I smoked an abysmal amount of herbs and wrote a book called Flowers which taught me why I needed to shift my focus from smoking to bookmaking: because books made whilst high are bullshit books, and bullshit books are fine, bullshit books are fun every now and again, but I didn’t want all of my books to be bullshit books, and I especially didn’t want Untitled Bigfoot Project to be a bullshit book. So, I stopped smoking and got writing.
Untitled Bigfoot Project took me to the end of 2020, literally to the last day. It finished up at around 240,000 words, the longest book I’ve made yet, and I was at a crossroads: I could have taken another hiatus to smoke for all the wrong reasons, or I could have started my next book. I chose to start my next book, and 19% of that choice was inspired by the fact that I was flat broke, but the other 81% was because I wanted to start my next book. So I did. That next book was Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox, the second book in the Flowers universe (Universe W-2222), and that came out this past February.
The journey, baby boy, it’s all about the journey.
After Under the Hood I went through some shit. In life there are hurdles; if you can’t hop over them you’ll just keep coming back to them, and there were two hurdles I just kept coming back to. One involved the crossbow, the other isn’t worth specifying. These hurdles had been giving me all sorts of problems for a good long while, and so I chose to get over them in the same way I got over the smoking hurdle: I made books, two novellas to be specific. I was originally going to publish these novellas, but after bringing one to the third draft and the other to the first draft, I decided they were better suited to stay in the vault. Maybe they’ll come out one day, probably they won’t. The wind shall blow regardless.
So there I was, back to eleven books made. Sure, technically there was a choice as to what I was going to do next, but in my head there was only one way to go: start my next book. And so I did. I don’t want to give out the title yet, but it’s going to be the third instalment of W-2222, and about a week and a half ago I hit writer’s block with it. This writer’s block isn’t the normal writer’s block, though; the normal writer’s block is wanting to continue on but not knowing where to go. The writer’s block I was feeling was of a different sort: I knew exactly where I was to go, I even wanted to continue, but every time I sat down with my laptop I would type a single sentence and promptly slap the shit shut, almost as if my actions were out of my control.
Because they were.
I was possessed, hypothetical reader, I was haunted by my past. That first book I made after I reset Existence, The Monksville Chronicles, it was screeching to me like a banshee trapped in the depths of my mind. The Monksville Chronicles was to be the first book of the origin story of Existence, but like, that’s… that’s just not what it was. Like, it was in a literal sense, but it also wasn’t… in a literal sense. Something had to be done, and that something was to rerelease The Monksville Chronicles in its proper form, and to do that I would have to do some editing.
And uh… yeah, that’s where we are now. Journey’s over. Full circle, bitch.
I love making my books. These books are literally my life, I have a dream and I’m chasing it and that shit gets me out of bed in the morning. I used to wake up and stay under the sheets trying to convince myself to finally hit up the crossbow for a dance beneath the full moon, but now I wake up and spring my hairy ass out of bed thinking about Existence. I’m still crazy, I don’t think I’ll ever not be crazy, but it’s different now. I used to be the bad kind of crazy, the insane and mentally ill kind; now, I’m the good kind. I’m mentally healthy. I’m sane… relatively speaking. I lost my mind and found it, all because of Existence. All because I randomly started writing fiction one day.
So allow me to formally introduce myself: my name is Hunter A. Wallace. I’m that guy who makes fiction books so he doesn’t go insane. In other words, I am the bookmaker, and this has been the first instance of The Bookmaker’s Note. I don’t think they’ll all be this long, but time will tell.
If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. From this day on, we move forever forward~