A Complete List of Fictional Projects I Planned To Work On During Quarantine, Updated:
1) Untitled Pirate Novel: A maximalist romp through an anachronistically glam rock late 17th/early 18th century, featuring lots of gender-bending, adventure, romance, dumb pirate jokes and occasional trenchant commentary about both feminism and colonialism. Sample Passage: ‘The inn was actually called the Diving Mermaid, but the name was so regularly misread, even the owners started referring to it by its more macabre title, and had the sign altered to include a sharp spike on which the fair siren was impaled. Despite its reputation, violence is rare, though spontaneous (and often elaborate)theatrical productions among failed London actors pressed into naval service are a regular occurrence.”
Current Status: 250 pages of non-chronological dribs and drabs, including several sex scenes and a bunch of Puritan jokes that are probably only funny to me.
Odds of Completion Before Vaccine: Very Low
2) Unititled Appalachian Noir: A decade-spanning crime story about murder, corruption and politics in an unnamed Western North Carolina tourist town that bears an entirely coincidental resemblance to my home town.
Current Status: 150 pages and lots of note cards. A hunch this would make a decent “Ozark”-ish tv show if I knew someone at Netflix.
Odds of Completion Before Vaccine: Very Low, but seriously, call me, Netflix.
3) Untitled Supernatural Young Adult Novel A magical-realist taleabout shapeshifters and identity for young people, sort of loosely based on both Ovid and Irish folklore, started to capitalize on that whole YA boom a few years back.
Current Status: 100 pages(ish) of what ended up being a very dark, hard -R, mostly stream of consciousness narrative about body horror, assault, adolescence, talking rabbits and what happens when grown men turn into (literal) swans. Also some Yeats jokes . Which is exactly what the kids want.
Odds of Completion Before Vaccine: Ha
4) Untitled Lower East Side Historical Novel I read “Low Life” and decided I wanted to write a borderline bodice ripper about real estate speculators, gangsters, and turn of the century dance halls on the Bowery.
Current Status: 25 pages. Mostly I’ve written about architecture and dance hall girl outfits. Also sex scenes. Sometimes with architecture and dance hall girl dresses.
Odds of Completion Before Vaccine: Nada
5) Untitled Sci-Fi Collaboration A silly, half-epistolary novel/multimedia installation about interdimensional travel, xenophobia, the border/refugee crisis, and super-powered middle-aged women written with a friend who absolutely likes dumb puns as much as I do.
Current Status: 120 pages (but pages are a weird way to judge this)
Odds of Completion Before Vaccine: Slightly better than the preceding. Call me, Kate.
6) Untitled Boarding School/Music Industry Novel A slightly (ha) autobiographical collection of loosely-linked stories following a group of women from teenage years to middle age. Also, there’s a band. Hopefully less like a Reese book club selection than it sounds.
Current Status: 7-9 Completed Stories, but in real danger of spiraling out of control
Odds of Completion Before Vaccine: I mean, I ‘ve kind of worked on this one in the last three weeks. So, meh?
7) Untitled Southern Novel A fictional retelling of true-ish events involving my family in the Deep South that also was supposed to be kind of critique on Southern Fiction as a concept, but I’m not sure I’m clever enough to pull it off.
Current Status: 250 pages, indefinitely shelved because even I don’t want to read another book about fancy white racists in the deep south.
Odds of Completion Before Vaccine: Basically this one is DOA.
8) Countless Untitled Short Stories (80+, minimum)Basically 2.5 decades of failed follow-through
Begun: Oldest (that I’ve kept) dates from about 1996
Current Status: Anything from a paragraph to “all but finished in need of edit”
Odds of Completion Before Vaccine: At least half of these should be deleted entirely, but sort of hilarious as a historical document.
9) New Resume Some corporate neologism+ meaningless turn of phrase word salad that demonstrate my ability to “disrupt” productively and “think outside the box” in the event I ever need another job. Lots of hyperbole, weird office-speak, extreme hedging like I know what I’m talking about.
Current Status: In flux since roughly 2002
Odds of Completion Before Vaccine: It is my dearest, most profoundest hope I won’t need this before the vaccine. Because I like my job and I really suck at getting jobs.
10) Dating Profile A long-form, prose poem/dramatic monologue in which an autobiographical narrator tries to engage a mostly non-existent population of funny, intelligent, literate, age-appropriate men with breezy, slightly barbed witticisms and convince them that they should date an loudmouthed middle aged fat spinster who is way into arguing and not at all into traditional gender roles instead of, like, a hot twenty-six year old yoga witch/SoulCycle influencer.
Current Status: The last reasonably decent blind date I had only asked me on a date because he thought my dating profile was well written and he wondered if he could pay me to write his so he could make a hot, young girl–“not like you”–want to have sex with him. I’ve been trying to dumb it down ever since.
Odds of Completion Before Vaccine: Low. More probable that I’ll actually locate the sexy heathen, glitter art convent I’m thinking might be a more realistic option at this point.
Picture today is of an elevator in Nice, where I was exactly four years ago today. I really hope we get to travel again. Because that would be a total bummer to spend the rest of my life in this stupid country.
As of this writing 947, 490 people have recovered from COVID-19.