What's Your Next Book, Rick?
Updated: Mar 1, 2020
I'm decompressing in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico from a 4,200 km. drive from Ottawa, mi perro, Dallas, riding shotgun.
A great road trip, other than the 75-mph speed limit in Texas' "miles and miles of miles" of highways where 372 people have died already on those roads in 2020. Texans, it's only February! Their motto is "Drive friendly, like Texans!" Okay! Indeed, a great road trip other than also being doused with gasoline by a leaky gas hose in Arkansas. And, oh yes, the epic GPS-fail that sent me off the safer "cuotas" toll highways into the centro of Monterrey, Mexico, a bustling metropolis of 1.5 million people on the move by car or foot everywhere. After that, I knew I would survive anything!
A rousing Bernie Sanders rally in Austin, TX. redeemed all madness. (short video here)
I am now in this gorgeous UNESCO site city in the Sierra Madre mountains to write my next two books. No oceans nor beaches. A musical chorus of church bells, tropical birds, fireworks, dogs and fiestas to serenade my writing! I will harness Hemingway at a neighbourhood Mojito bar.
On tour for Soar, Adam, Soar and now, here, people ask me, "What is your next book?"
My usual reply is that I am working on the next eight or nine books. True! My age has me urgently in the fast lane for writing. Some books are on the tarmac for take off. A few in embryo. Some are still being researched. And the characters for three final works of fiction are all dancing in my imagination, being born, haunted or killed off! Fiction both excites and terrifies me.
I had expected that my memoir on my Dad's WW2 war story that already has shifted to Dad's and Mom's love story immersed in London's (Ontario) and Canada's war experience would be my next book. Dick Prashaw was a D-Day Dodger in the Italy Campaign and then part of our country's glorious Netherlands Liberation; Lady Astor had joked that the Canadians in Italy were D-Day Dodgers. In fact, they were in the war two years before those other boots landed on Normandy beaches. To Lady Astor's poor joke, the lads composed a ribald song to the tune of Lili Marlene that will be in my book. That memoir snares most of my energy these days. Gert Beaton's stories will fill out London's home side war years: stuffing mickeys of rye inside French baguettes to ship to her guy; taking off her engagement ring to lure a boy to play tennis, and then, alas, forgetting to put the ring back on for a photo mailed to Dick; and her turn to be angry as Dick asks her to round up nylons for the Dutch women he's billeted at after the war ended.
That WW2 memoir will be creative non-fiction as I jump into a character in the story.
However, a publisher expressed more interest for now in my faith memoir that I am calling,
Father Rick, Roamin' Catholic. This will be stories of faith on my crooked, straight path to heaven's gate. Like Adam's memoir, there will be a fair shake of humour, irreverence and mostly true tales. However, as I surprise myself to still be standing, a faith intact but very changed, I also will write on this enduring love story, God and I, lived in community, a God much bigger, wider and deeper now than my primarily Roman Catholic days, as good as that often was. Beyond the humour, there are serious and sobering essays to include on the RC Church and women, the RC Church and the Pride community, the RC Church and Indigenous Peoples and the RC Church and clergy sex abuse. I side with the RC Church on zero of those subjects!
And, judging from this long ago picture of "Ricky" celebrating Mass with a upside down, trash can tabernacle and the Lone Ranger in the congregation, maybe I was cut out for minister long before I realized it.
So my writing plan for San Miguel is to complete my manuscript on the faith memoir, continue research on the war memoir and also, on the side, dabble in a first play effort inspired on Adam's story I told in Soar, Adam, Soar.