• Running out of mid-life crisis – quick, write a novel!

    by  • December 1, 2012 • Everything Else • 2 Comments

    I’m running out of mid-life crisis. When I hit 40, almost a year ago I declared on twitter that I was going to have a mid-life crisis. I’d been aware that since my life went nuts in Spring of 2001, I had been running hard with constant change and constant appoximations. I’d bolt from lifestyle to lifestyle to take advantage of opportunities, but if some of my soul got left behind on the way, so be it. So I needed a period of reflection, of catch-up, and reintegration.

    This turned out to be a volatile business, but I knew it would be, so I called it a mid-life crisis and went to down. I shook myself to pieces, digging for the truth, what had gone wrong, and what could be done to fix it.

    I came to two realizations, after many late nights putting pressure on my own conceputal understructure looking for weak points and dropped threads.

    1. My original work on poverty had become diluted by concerns like social collapse and disaster relief, both low death toll events in most cases. I needed to refocus.
    2. Hinduism no longer provided an adaquate support for the work, because the “caste dharmas” (social divisions of responsibility) did not include a supported position for people working on global issues. It’s thousands of years old, from before we had such power. It needs updated.

    Those are foundational realizations for me, things which go very deep into my whole life strategy. Neither is, I think, a fruitless error – they’re both in the manner of “had to try it to see if it worked, and 90% of it did” but, similarly, both are things which if I continue as if they are not there, will destroy me.

    I shook that out a couple of months ago. I went to Greece. I came back with giardia (bloody composting toilets on hippie communes) and got sorted out (thanks, NHS!). I came back to Ireland, got re-involved in the show here. Great, great things going on in Cloughjordan. I’m working with EdgeRyders again, on “Living on the Edge 2” in Brussels 6Dec to 9Dec 2012, and pitching a new concept called “Venture Social Capital” which attempts to have a community step in to do some of the work of VCs.

    Then I wrote a novel, at least a very substantial first draft, in 6 days. I consider it Utopian Cyberpunk Young-Adult Science Fantasy, which is to say it’s set around a family in 2040-2060 intersecting with war, magick, giant killer robots and true love in a future America, Africa and Orbital.

    The novel is called Mother of Hydrogen and it’s about gods and goddesses, ancient wisdom in the hypermodern world, and it’s utopian in that the human race is very substantially out of danger, albeit by the skin of its teeth.

    I want to publish it, to put into the same swirling bucket of text that shaped me so much as a young man – Sterling’s “Green Days in Brunei” indirectly fathered the hexayurt, for example. I’d like to pass something on. Ironically, The Chairman recently suggested I have kids (I asked him what I should do next, I’d been feeling very stuck) and… well… strange outcome. I committed fiction.

    I don’t know if publishers still really exist for first authors, or if everything is self-publish as an ebook and go 50 shades of grey if you’re lucky, I’ve been pulling on a few threads, trying to get a sense of the course. But the next thing to do is to get it into print in some accessible form, and go from there, I think.

    30k words to go, about half of that before-the-end filling in of descriptions and missing scenes, and half of that telling the rest of the end from everybody else’s points of view. It’s a bomb.

    But the story is substantially complete, and what has been revealed, said and done in it cannot be unmade, so we’ll see where it goes from here.

    I also have a mad inspiration that I need to consider going to work in video games – the perfect fusion of storytelling and technology, and an excellent point to consider accessing the medium of film through. That’s a challenge for another day, I don’t know how to get leverage on that yet.

    So that’s where I am. A month until 7Jan2013, at which I’ll be 41, and I’ll have had my year. I got a lot of it out of my system in previous years too.

    Not much else to do, really. Onwards.

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    Vinay Gupta is a consultant on disaster relief and risk management.


    2 Responses to Running out of mid-life crisis – quick, write a novel!

    1. December 2, 2012 at 12:41 am

      As midlife crisis go, you got off easily! Onwards, indeed :-)

    2. Aaron Fown
      December 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      Sounds intruiging. I’d read it.

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