My latest novel, Crossline, is a scifi adventure about two men — a civilian space pilot forced through a wormhole and into a war-torn parallel Earth, and the CEO of the corporation who launched the pilot to begin with — and how their journeys intersect.
But underneath the scifi elements lies a more personal story– a trilogy, in fact — that I wrote in high school. It was my first real attempt at fiction, and, all things considered, it wasn’t half bad.
It was based on the ‘troubles’ in Ireland, which, of course, I knew absolutely nothing about, but when you’re trying to impress a girl, well … you make stuff up and hope for the best. The girl, in question, did like the stories, and she was impressed. But not so much that things went the way I wanted.
And in terms of the written material itself, here’s the real problem:
I lost them.
Or, I should say, I lost parts two and three. I wrote those stories by hand, and then typed them up, because this was back in the mid 1980s, before everything we did was on computers and saved on a hard drive. And, because, I was a putz.
I don’t remember if passed the printed pages onto to someone or I simply left them lying around somewhere, but I didn’t have the mental wattage to make copies or keep track of them. I still have the original — with the truly awful title Skies of Green — but the others are long gone.
For several years after that I tried to recreate them, to expand on that trilogy, but that original magic, even back then, was lost to me.
The core story stuck with me — I always felt I had something there — but I was never able to recapture the nuance, and improve upon it. To write a new version.
So they drifted into the ether for the better part of 20 years.
And then … I had the inspiration for Crossline — the scifi part of it anyway — and suddenly my original story had a new life.
Bringing that story full circle gave me real satisfaction, and a sense of closure.
Yet as pleased as I am with how Crossline turned out, and the excellent response I’ve been getting to it … those original missing pages are still out there somewhere.
And like the girl I was trying to impress, in some ways, those pages – and the words they contained — are the ones that got away.