I’ve basically been off work since December 19th. This has not nearly afforded me as much creative time as I had anticipated, but it has been a nice break from my usual routine. I had hoped to do more writing…maybe a poem and another Muncie Boyhood story…and, maybe create a new Henry the Preacher cartoon. Somehow, though, between the jumble of my daughters being around, the rumble of the TV as one of them watched endless episodes of “Friends,” and the tumble of holiday life, I just couldn’t find much to say.
I did manage to write a new “Abandon, Indiana” short story. I titled it “A Fire in Abandon.”
It was a Christmas story, and I enjoyed the creative juices that it stirred. However, shortly after I typed that little fictional short into the annals of my creative history, I discovered something that caused me no small amount of concern and discouragement. I found out that my creation of the small town of Abandon, Indiana was not nearly as unique as I had thought. Seems another writer had the same inspiration…a few years before me.
The author, Amy Hensley wrote a novel titled “Abandon, Indiana” and self-published it about a decade ago.Abandon, Indiana by Amy Hensley
I found it while doing a little Google search to see if my stories would pop up with key phrases. Talk about being hit by a ton of bricks! I had all these plans to keep creating new “Abandon” stories. Plus, I have a much longer work that I started a couple of years ago that has never been completed that is centered around this fictional little village. I was shocked at first. Then, I was disappointed, followed by an interlude where I was simply determined to change directions, but I ended up just disappointed again.
I have no doubt that our stories are very different. I read the little blurb that describes the novel, and it is nothing like anything I had imagined, but the title of her work is too close. It would make it appear that I had copied her, and that is definitely not something I would do or ever want to do. So, I’m going to need to change the name of my little town. The problem is that I had worked the name of the town into the titles of the stories, so what to do about that?
And, there’s the fact that I just don’t want to change the name of my little town. I don’t wanna! (Imagine that last little bit with a childish whine.)
But, I suppose I really need to.
I think I could keep the title of my recent Halloween story “Out of the Depths of Abandon.”
I think it would still fit okay. However, the Christmas story will probably need to change. The story title wouldn’t make sense if I changed the name of the town without changing the title.
So, I’m considering alternative names for my strange little town in southern Indiana that is nestled up against the Hoosier National Forest. It needs to sound real, but with an air of mystery. After all, this is a place where the layers of existence are thin and odd things sometimes occur. Paradox? I thought about that one, but I’ve been given the advice that it sounds too cliché. I’ve had a few suggestions from some folks on my Facebook page, and they have been helpful in my thinking. Right now, I’m considering Oblivion, Indiana. What do you think?
I’m not in a hurry, though. If I have to make a change, I don’t want to rush it and have to do it all over again. And, I don’t think I’m causing Amy Hensley any trouble with my relatively unknown short stories. If anything, my writing about this will bring her a little attention with the twenty or thirty of you who will read this post. So, I’m going to think about this a little longer.
Eventually, though, you will see a new name for my little town, and a new title for at least one of my stories.
In the meantime, I must admit that I am discouraged. One of the greatest strengths and one of the greatest weaknesses of those who pursue creativity is that they are often more controlled by emotions than they would like to admit. Those emotions drive the creative process. Sometimes, though, those same emotions can grind it to a halt. I think I’m somewhere in between. I’m discouraged enough to want to just do nothing, but aware enough to try to push through it.
Thus, this post.
I will be back at it soon. Those creative juices are still sitting in the recesses of my mind. Something will get them stirring again soon. No doubt. My writing will not be Abandoned into the Paradox of Oblivion.