Thursday, December 11, 2008
Call me Aurora.
My story ends with a police station, a dank cell and a howling in my head that I cannot ignore. I fear this voice will drive me mad so I must write, and write quickly. I'm using a roll of toilet paper and a smuggled eye-liner, they won't let me have pen and paper for that - or so they say - is the root of my crime. But I must start. I am compelled to write. A hand moves mine that is not mine and will not move on, this is my pennance.
Can a person be convicted on the strength of a tattered, stolen manuscript? Penned by a man possessed by a ghost? If told carelessly, this would be a tale that would defy all attempts to suspend disbelief. Where should I start?
Yesterday I woke in my place of hiding and was tempted out into the open for the first time in days. And caught. Caught like a rat by Derekus and Colin and brought to this dark windowless trap - where I am now incarcerated.
Q what tempted me?
A you might well ask. A sale in my favourite department store.
I must have been half mad. Delirious through lack of sleep, worry, and the persecution of a man (a man? Is a dead man still a man?) Who is not able to rest until his story is told.
Again and again and again.
Bloomsburyton. How I hate you!
To explain the rest of my story I would have to go back to the beginning. A bright, crisp morning not so long ago when I decided to launch an online diary.
Extract from Since I Did It
Forthcoming from Broomscape Publishing (early 2009)
All rights reserved (c) 2008
Manuscript submissions (experimental work / serious literary genres only. No poetry) welcome at shoscombe.oldplace (at) gmail.com.
Authors WILL be required to provide incontrovertible proof of ownership of work submitted.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
In every story there is the hero and the person who becomes zero.
The hero lives happily ever after. The zero doesn’t.
For all of you busy frequenting this blog, save your time and internet connection. You will not be seeing any new posts on it for a while. A long while.
Society will be better off in the absence of that blog and its owner.
I’m not gloating.
The last one week has run like a high-budget movie. A few days ago Ms Adorna Shine was picked up by the Law, at a famous departmental store (name withheld) in a nearby city (name withheld), delirious, defeated, devoid of make-up. Her bag held only two items: Her switched-off pinkberry, and a yellowed, severely dog-eared sheaf of papers - MY MISSING MANUSCRIPT.
Her lips held no lipstick, only hallucinatory cries about being haunted by Broomington.
There is blood on her hands, on her pen, on her book covers.
I’m not sure I need to remind you of this: that the hunter has now become the hunted.
And the man she had horribly brainwashed and coerced into her service, Carlos (previously known and addressed in some quarters as "Ms. Shine’s shin-breaker") has now seen the light and accepted a Proclamation of Emancipation from her mental and emotional enslavement.
(At the moment, Carlos is shuttling between here and the Offices of the Law helping out with investigations. She is trying desperately to rope him in, but I can assure you that at best - or worst - all he was was an unwilling accomplice, an actor-under-severe-duress. That we can easily prove, there are years' worth of letters and notes and emails ready to be called up as evidence)
Carlos and I have decided to put the trauma of the last few weeks/months/years behind us. We are two men bound by the cruel antics of the same woman.
Time to out with the news:
Carlos and I have decided to venture into publishing.
Serious literary publishing, two to three titles a year, prompt payment of royalties, active and committed representation of our authors (we will be agents cum publishers), plenty of T(ender) L(oving) L(iterary) C(are).
You might be thinking: How dare they venture into publishing? What experience have they got? One struggling writer, one pseudo-novelist’s long-term sidekick, what do they know about publishing? What have they got to offer?
This is where you’re getting it wrong!
What does experience have to do with serious publishing?
If experience had anything to do with serious publishing then you need to ask yourself why the most successful publishing houses are not owned by the most successful writers. Surely a successful writer – having long been accustomed to dealing with publishers and navigating the treacherous catacombs of modern publishing, and having learnt (through suffering) how not to treat a writer – should be in the best position to start and manage a publishing house.
Carlos and I will bring a combined wealth of tangential experience to this venture. We are outsiders, mavericks, intent on changing the system from the margins. We are not ‘more of the same’; we are not old wine (whether in old or new skins). We are encumbered neither by stale knowledge and misleading experience, nor by the stagnant, uninventive arrogance that comes with having being around too long. We want to be to publishing what the skinny kid with a funny name (Barack Hussein Obama) is to the musty-suited stiffnecks of Washingtonian politics.
Our experience is as long-term marginalized persons, underdogs. I have written, and struggled to publish. I have had my work, painfully labored over, stolen, I have suffered the trauma of starting afresh. I have, in the paucity of my success, been slandered and victimized. I understand what it is spend all more time reading form-letter rejection slips than carrying on with my writing.
Carlos on his own part has for years served (albeit informally) as an ‘agent’, representing the interests of Ms Shine, serving as a go-between in dealings with her publishers, negotiating various contracts, serving as a counselor, idea-bouncing board, events manager/party planner, logistics personnel, project manager, muse, bodyguard and threat diffuser, etc.
Here's to the future.
We have already signed up our first author - and novel.
WATCH THIS SPACE!
Monday, December 1, 2008
As I promised you in my previous post, there was adventure last Thursday, at the launch of the most famous plagiarised novel in the world, Pink As (Stolen) Perfume.
She showed up, much to my surprise (I had no idea she'd be that shameless to show up as the author of a novel that the entire world knows is not hers).
THE LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO IS BELIEVE HER NARRATION... SHE MIGHT AS WELL HAVE COPIED AND PASTED THAT VERSION FROM WIKIPEDIA!
Carlos and I spent the last hour before the event studying (wildly rewinding) clips of QUANTUM OF SOLACE (he's watched it a million times, and brought it to my attention).
When, a few sentences into her reading, he launched himself onto the stage like a rocket-propelled grenade, he caught her and the entire audience (made up mostly of people who had come to see the adventure I promised) unawares. Strapped like a parachute on his back was a pressurised bag containing her missing dog, Sherlock (whom we had rescued a short while before from her chronic neglect). Upon seeing the body of evidence confronting her:
- the maltreated dog
- copies of the letters implicating her in Broomington's tragic fate
- incriminating extracts from her memoir-in-progress (The Collected Emails of Adorna Shine)
- COGITATED ON HER MISDEMEANOURS, and finally
- COOPERATED AND CONFESSED to her heinous crimes against the late Broomington, against the traumatised Desiderus, against abused Sherlock, and against defrauded Carlos.
In the minor confusion that followed, Ms. Shine BOLTED. With Sherlock! I admit that Carlos and I were stupid to allow that happen. But I thought I saw someone video-taping the entire incident, and have been searching youtube to see if they've uploaded it.
Before her reading she had talked about being in possession of her original manuscript, and of her desire to auction it at the end of the reading. Alas, that manuscript (which I suspect to be my stolen novel) is nowhere to be found. Either she still has it and bolted with it, or it's fallen into the hands of someone else... either way, bad news. It's the only thing depressing me now... I need to get that manuscript back!
She's been saying some nonsense on her blog about "the words [I have] been scrabbling to hold onto [not being mine] after all."
I thought she had reached the zenith - or nadir - of her mad delusion. I'm OBVIOUSLY wrong. Perhaps her talent lies in writing GHOST FICTION - make that GHOST FICTION "GHOSTWRITTEN" FOR HER. Fancy her saying I was possessed by Broomington, and that it was him writing my first novel using my hands.
Preposterous! Whoever believes such in this Age? If he wrote my first novel why isn't he helping me write this second one? Hah!
PS: Thanks Carlos for helping with the photo above (photoshop i believe it is called)
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Today, Thursday the 27th is D-Day. (Check the Accused's blog for details, if you have no idea what I'm talking about!)
I haven't been this happy in weeks. I slept in a bed last night and woke up this morning suspended in the air, floating in a bliss that even fiction will not be able to describe.
If you've got the stomach for action-packed adventure (with an explosive cocktail -- rose wine in chemical reaction with pink perfume ON THE ROCKS -- thrown in for the strong-of-liver), join Carlos (YES, CARLOS!) and I later today at the event mentioned here. [Ignore the rest of the psychotic, paranoid, incoherent brambbling (babbling+rambling) in her post. Take it as it is, a disguised invite from the most-experienced and shameless self promoter in the world]
Here are two more pieces of breaking news (THANKS CARL!) - can't get more incriminating, can it? (Share it with law enforcement agents if you like. I have decided to handle my own stuff myself...):
Exhibit Two: a post-it note. (See Exhibit 1 here)
C (Desi's Note: Original name abbreviated by me to protect owner's identity)
I've got the gun, but I don't know how it works. Could you handle that aspect? I'll come along for the ride, of course – and bring the mop (or should that be 'broom' ha ha ha!)
Love and kisses forever
P.S I am not joking. These contraptions are complicated. Could we not try the garotte idea instead?
Exhibit Three: a pristine piece of thick cream paper, complete with a red wax seal (broken). Blue black fountain pen ink.
Adorna, my love,
Where can I find the strength to go on? To live with this burden of guilt? The light of your beauty does not outshine the darkness in my soul. The warmth of your love and your bed does not thaw the icy mass of my tarnished conscience. Must this go on? I thought one book would have been enough. But no, you needed two. And now you have killed your golden goose? What are you going to do next? The thought makes my blood run cold.
Please, my love, my darling – your voice is like the music of my mother's violin – essential to my life and my happiness. Lets stop this madness now, while we still
C (Desi's Note: Original name abbreviated by me to protect owner's identity)
P.S Do you believe in ghosts?
Monday, November 24, 2008
I stayed off the internet for days. I had to. Life is becoming crazy. Offline I'm haunted by strange mails and messages, online it's even worse. I can no longer sleep in my own house.
Yesterday I was a struggling novelist, anonymous, today I am a wounded novelist - assaulted psychologically at first and then physically - and worst of all 'they' have gone ahead to label me a kidnapper of grown men and pampered dogs. (her skills as a fiction writer are at their best when she isn't stealing other people's words)
All I want to do is write. Write my novel. Find a publisher. It's all I've ever wanted to do. But I have now become a character in a novel, the half-hearted experiments of a heartless, incompetent novelist(s).
It is crazy. I fear for my life. I misunderestimated the viciousness of the woman I am dealing with. So I have decided to bring into the public domain every 'evidence' that comes my way. So that if I disappear, and my body is washed up on a beach miles away from anywhere, at least I'd know that I left something behind for people to find the truth.
Nothing seems real anymore.
In my very first post on this blog, I told about X.X. Broomington, the famous children's writer, how he'd lived in this house and then moved out, and how I suffered for his sins of chronic indebtedness. So you can imagine my shock when I got an anonymous comment on this blog that Broomington has been dead for ages. And that he died IN this house. I thought it was one of those crazies who haunt the web (my blog seems to be No. 1 Tourist Destination for them these days), until I got a newspaper clipping in the mail. Containing Broomington's Obituary. And even gruesome photos of the scene of his death. The scene. This house in which I live. Lived.
Broomington dead? So why did no one tell me? Where the hell did the caretaker get the story he told me? I still recall how furious he sounded as he narrated to me how Broomington was evicted for owing half a year's worth of rents? He even warned that I'd suffer Broomington's fate of instant eviction if I ever defaulted on my payments.
Broomington's fate was a violent death, annihilation, not eviction. Will that be mine too?
I'm going to have to go to the police. See this 2007 letter (Exhibit One), a crumpled, torn sheet of pink notepaper, watermarked with the A.S mono gramme.
I don't need to let you know in whose handwriting it is.
my dear, dear, dear Broomington. Ma cherie!
How is the new novel coming along?
If you could see your way to leaving it out for Carlos this Friday, I'd be eternally, forever and infintatley grateful. Incredibly so.
So thankful, and so in your debt, in fact, that I may destroy the negatives of these fine photographs (please find enclosed).
Ah – these snaps certainly bring back memories, don't they? Who'd have thought such a wholesome children's author would beg, plead and pay vast sums for....
[portion of this letter missing – seems to have been torn or damaged]
what photographs? what was Broomington begging and paying vast sums for? the tone makes me shudder. I can no longer pretend I can handle this...
And you don't need to ask me how I was able to lay my hands on such classified material. The only thing that keeps me going now is the fact that the Head of Enemy Intelligence has defected... VOLUNTARILY...
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
When Desi started this blog it was meant to be a LITERARY blog, not a discussion of his personal life. He will not allow his initial intentions to be hijacked by the antics of unscrupulous elements, no matter how devious they might be. This blog will continue to be a chronicle of his literary life. A thousand robbers and a thousand assassins may visit violence upon him, he will not be cowed. He will remain resolute.
Similarities between the Old and New (novels)
One thing the old and the new (ongoing) novels have in common: they both have heavy elements of crime - old fashioned murder, by stabbing, shooting; shooting especially. For H & H I spent a lot of time reading about guns and gun stats - a 240g bullet released from a .44 Magnum will travel at 360 metres per second, with an energy of 1,000 Joules. But it produces significant recoil, which is a drawback.
With the ongoing book. I have taken my research to new levels. I am trying to research NEW ways and methods of MURDER, and the tools to achieve them...
Differences between the Old and New (novels)
The new novel is much harder to write, writing it makes me feel like I'm a candle burning at both ends, trying to pin down the characters is like grasping at clouds. Every word is so reluctant to join the previous.
Unlike the Lost novel, which kind of flowed. The words flowed, edits flowed, commas flew in and out and seemed just right, knotted plots resolved themselves, characters literally walked into the book unannounced, or vanished off the page without regret. Things happened....
The Old Novel seemed to write itself, the New struggles to be written...
But I will not be cowed.
They came in last night.
Left me bloodied, but unbowed.
First, Novel stolen,
Now, Face and lips swollen
Sticks & Stones may hurt my bones.
But Desi will not be cowed.
*It is all beginning to make sense. The link between the fate of HANGMEN & HANGOVERS, and my fate last night
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The cheek of it! The Accused threatening the Prosecution Witness. Calling me a "nasty dribbet of no good"??? This is what they mean when they talk of 'Game Hunting the Hunter'. I can't believe this!!! You steal my novel and then you threaten me with a courtcase? is it because I'm a poor, helpless, struggling writer, who cannot even afford internet access at home & doesn't even have a computer?
PS. I think she should change her blog from AdoreAdorna to AccusedAdorna (I have magnanimously set up the blog for her)
PS. For those of you who think I am taking this issue lightly ("his stolen novel is appearing on someone else's blog and all he's doing is blogging angrily about it"), please relax and be patient.
PS. I have added her blog(s) to my blogroll so we can all monitor her activities from now on.
Monday, November 17, 2008
What a way to celebrate a birthday!
PS: I apologise if I sound defeated, disgruntled and depressed. Or merely incoherent, incomprehensible, inchoate. It’d be a miracle if I didn’t!
What better present can one possibly get than this realisation that your manuscript, upon which you invested years of hard labour, is out there in someone else’s hands, not only that, IN THEIR NAME!
I have found the woman who passed off my work as hers Saturday before the last (read previous post). I told you I would. Now I don’t know whether to be happy or sad. That I have found her. Online.
I am happy because I have found her.
Sad because Murphy’s Law is always true. It should be renamed Desi’s Law.
If anything can go wrong, it will. Even if it can’t, it still will.
This woman didn’t just read from my hard-earned manuscript as though it belonged to her. SHE EVEN POSTED IT ON HER BLOG?????? AND IT’S STILL THERE?????
It’s weird, surreal even. She has a new novel coming out soon, with the horrid title of PINK AS PERFUME and apparently my work is in it.
She even knows Broomington, the man who lived in this house before me??? weird??
How did she lay her vanity-afflicted hands on my work?
Did she steal HANGMEN & HANGOVERS? If not. Who did?
Are there other people out there who are in possession of my work?
Is there a conspiracy against me, a struggling author?
I hate asking for advice. But in this case, I haven’t got a choice. Shall I call the police? Or handle this myself? Send me an email: shoscombe.oldplace (AT) gmail.com. Or leave a comment. Or mail a letter to me (i'd actually prefer this) (if you can send a birthday card as well, i won't refuse it...):
c/o The Struggling Artists League
Rolling Moss Pub
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
But life is stranger.
Last Saturday - the 8th - I attended the Blog Lab event on Portland Street. I didn't get to hear about it until the last minute (that always happens, what a writer does is write, not attend writerly events!).
My jaw actually dropped open when what I'm about to tell you happened. I just sat there, rooted to the spot, jaw hanging like a prehistoric mammal's, I swear. It was like I was watching a short movie in which I had acted against my wish:
There on the stage, was a woman who came up during one of the breaks between the sessions, to read from her work. Her work. It wasn't until a minute or so into her reading that I began to think that what I was hearing sounded very familiar. IT WAS MY FRIGGIN' NOVEL! My kidnapped novel.
Right before my eyes - and ears - was my novel being read by this whiny-voiced, over-madeup woman (a mouse's voice, a tiger's claws, and a peacock's costume) AS HER OWN.
I've never publicly given any details about my kidnapped novel, but after what happened on Saturday, I need to let the world know about it, in this crazy Age of professional plagiarizers and stuff like that. It's titled HANGMEN AND HANGOVERS. The first few lines in it read as follows (I'm writing this from memory, the only copy I had is what went missing) (went missing):
That's the portion that I heard this woman read. But I didn't have a voice recorder, so I couldn't record it. And now, in the days since then, I have started to wonder if I wasn't hallucinating. Perhaps what she was reading only sounded like my novel...
She fired six shots. She doesn't know how many bullets emerged from the gun. She doesn't know how many hit Target. She has never been good at Math, at proportions or probabilities or percentages (I can't remember in what order the 'p' words were). All she knows is that Target 1 hit the ground with a thud. Victim 1.
Why didn't I accost her immediately afterwards?
If my l__dlord's wife (whom this woman resembles) is anything to go by, the biggest mistake of my life (apart from being careless with Hangmen) would have been to accost and/or accuse her in public. I know her type. They will make mince-meat of any imagined or observed threat. They operate on purely animal defenses.
I have to be smart, keep my ears and eyes open, approach this like a detective. This town is a small one. I will get to the bottom of this!
Friday, November 7, 2008
This month is National Novel Writing Month!
"National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30."
So, the idea is to become a novelist in one month.
Write now, polish later.
Not a very bad proposition, even though I remain skeptical. Should novels be written in such a manner, like a newspaper article down whose neck a vicious editor is breathing. I think of it the same way I'd think of you using a style guide to write a novel.
Novels are meant to be bastions of artistic freedom. Let the muse and the word take the lead.
But, having said that, I will be participating in NaNoWriMo. At least this year.
Because I see it as a chance to recoup my heartrending losses. This will be my attempt, under the not-so-palatable influence of an external factor, to push my new novel back to 57,000 words this month.
As I told you earlier, I will not be resuming work on the affected novel. Not for now. I am too traumatised to face it. I have therefore started work on a sequel to it, the second in what I hope will be a trilogy. (That is all I shall tell you about it for now! Novels are meant to be written, not talked about, seen, not heard!)
I mentioned in an earlier post how I have been researching writers' blogs to see how they do it. My conclusion is this: Some writers should NOT be blogging. When a blog becomes a shameless personal-promotional tool, fit only for cataloguing trips to credit-crunched chiropractors, and bouts of bleary-eyed bargaining at designer-shops, it is time for the writer to pull the plugs and find work somewhere else, in Reality TV or something like that.
Alas, one out of every 3 writerly blogs I come across falls into this category. Next thing the writer will become the hero of his own fiction!
There are far more important things for a blogger to consider, like this brilliant question here
And this here, which i stumbled upon only recently would be quite close to one of my ideas of the perfect writing blog - with tips and insightful how-tos, writers' obituaries, snippets of writing and the writing life...
Finally, before I sign out (I'm back at the Town Hall Library, so there's no evil-faced internet-monitor librarian dragonfiring into my self-esteem and my composure), here's a link to the only surviving recording of the author Virginia Woolf
Someday, when I get more tech-savvy, I would like to put up recordings of my readings from my juvenilia and post-juvenilia. I have a feeling that when I'm off this earth, they might be the only stuff from me that will survive, the only evidence that a man called Desiderus walked the face of the earth.
Such a shame. To think that I HATE the sound of my own voice, yet cannot shake off the feeling that it is the only part of me that will survive, my "voice-mail for an unborn generation", to borrow the words of the Late Great African poet, Omo Alagbede
PS. In my next post I will speak about my writing philosophy and process, attempt to shed more light on my ambitions in the field of literary crime-fiction, crime written about in a way that would make a Nobel Prize Judge (for Literature) take a second, somewhat envying, look...
Monday, November 3, 2008
Word Count now: 2000
This blog, created partly as an act of recovery from the traumatic event of August 24, is meant to be a literary blog, about "writing" more than the "writing life" and certainly not a "me, my girlfriend, her dog, and our holiday in the Sahara" composition!
Model blogs can be seen here
I'm grateful to the town-hall library assistant (I forgot to ask for his name) who showed me how to set up this blog and how to use it.
I've just discovered that danielle steel has just started blogging.
Actually, I'm not a fan, have no plans to be, haven't read any of her books, but have been fortunate to have dated in the distant past not less than four fanatical 'danielle steel' fans.
I almost wasn't going to read the blog, but, being a new blogger myself, and having been trawling the internet in search of writers' blogs, to get an idea of what to do and what NOT to do, I thought I should have a look see.
What do I think?
I'm not one to run writers down, but a super-writer like Ms. Steel surely wouldn't mind some feedback.
'This is the first blog I’ve ever written,' she says.
Same with me.
But that is where the sameness ends. It's a bit annoying to see the blog being portrayed as Ms. Steel's creation, when anyone with half a brain can tell that successful popular writers do not have the time for such things as blogging. She probably has designated half a dozen of her assistants to rotate the posting amongst themselves.
With me, on the other hand, struggling writer, what you see is what you get. And if I succeed (wake) before I give up (die), I swear I will write my blog myself, till the end.
In Ms Steel's second post, she says "Now that we’re getting to know each other a little better, I will confess that I have an extremely silly sense of humor."
What further evidence do we need to support the hypothesis on authorship outlined above? Who confesses on their blog that they have a sense of humor? If you have a sense of humor, it will show on your blog, if you are a manic-depressive, it will show. No need to tell anyone. I can bet my missing novel that Ms. Steel, even at gunpoint, would not have said something that silly on her blog. I could ask any of my ex-girlfriends', if you want to hear confirmation from horses' mouths.
Only an intern could have pulled that off. On poor Ms. Steel's behalf.
Being a commercially successful writer has its pros. But the negativity of the cons is worse than the positivity of the pros.
I HAVE TO GO NOW, MY TIME'S UP. I COULDN'T GET SPACE AT THE TOWN HALL LIBRARY TO USE THE INTERNET (WHERE I TYPICALLY GET AN HOUR), SO I HAD TO COME TO THE UNIVERSITY, WHERE ALL I GET IS 15 MINUTES PLUS VILE LOOKS FROM BAD-TEMPERED LIBRARIANS...
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Word Count now: 1056
I apologise for this obsession with my now-missing novel. You need to have had a novel stolen from you to understand. Not just any novel. One you were writing, had been writing for years.
When I started it I didn't have a typewriter, so I started it longhand in a hardcover notebook I had owned for ten years. When I eventually got a typewriter, the logical thing to do would have been to stop working longhand, and start using the machine. But as I watched the blank white sheet of paper I had inserted in the typewriter (at the top of the page I typed: "CONT'D FROM LONGHAND") slowly yellow with age (while remaining blank!), I knew that this novel was destined to be finished in longhand. So I ploughed on. Some days I wrote 50 words, other days 5000, some days I took out a thousand words, other days none, but I ploughed on. And then, two years, and (a net figure of) 57,000 words later, everything is gone with the wind.
But I have put that behind me. I swear I have. I have started work on Novel 2.
No, don't wish me luck.
Luck didn't keep my 57,000 words...
Word Count Sept 24 (morning): 57, 564
Word Count Sept 25 (morning): 0
Word Count this morning: 0
Word Count now: 1056
2. An irony, that the inaugural post on a crime-writer's blog would be about this kind of theft.
A tale of theft on a blog that is sympathetic to crime shouldn't be an irony, should it, after all what is a theft if not a crime?
But the crime in question is not a fictional crime.
It is a real one.
And it is not an ordinary non-fictional crime.
It is a crime of which I am the uber-unfortunate victim.
The night of August 24 - that makes it more than two months already! - I returned home from a long aimless walk into the city to find that my apartment had been burgled.
Very crudely burgled, too. They (it must have been more than one person - one person could not possibly have summoned the enthusiasm for that) not only broke the lock on my front door and the door into the kitchen, they took both locks away. The entire lock mechanisms.
3. Worst of all, the criminals took away my manuscript. All 57,000+ words of my novel-in-progress. They actually tore out all the pages I had written in, and left a blank notebook behind. I had been working on that manuscript on and off for two years. It was "Birth Certificate, Passport, Favourite Novel, ID Card and Holy Bible" all rolled up into one for me. It was the only evidence that I had been alive over those two years.
I sold my typewriter the next day.
What made the incident painful was this: I am absolutely certain that it was a case of mistaken identity. I swear. A famous (famous enough to own a website, and a now-defunct wikipedia page) children's writer - X. X. Broomington - used to live in my apartment, before I moved in. He was a prolific man, prolific in his words, and in the way he ran up huge debts - everywhere (pubs, bookstores, even at the whorehouse). Every now and then a creditor would invade his apartment and seize his latest manuscript, until he paid.
When he moved out (April of this year) I moved in - something exciting about writing in a house once lived in by another writer - and for weeks after would wander around the house imagining I was him, and that his Muse, and characters, and plots now belonged to me.
It must have worked, half of the words of my stolen novel were written within the first one month of my arrival.
My point is this: Some idiot-creditor somewhere, unaware that the chronic debtor who used to live in this house has moved out, must have broken in and taken my novel. Mistaken Identity. I occassionally get Mr. Broomington's mails, and in the past I have had to fend off a whore or two who came in search of him. I thought of putting up a sign explaining, but never got round to doing that until I lost my novel.
I waited for days hoping the kidnapper of my manuscript would come back, seeking to negotiate. I am still waiting. I have therefore decided to start a new novel.
It will be a sequel to the stolen, unfinished first one. It will start off from where the stolen one would have ended...