Hello again! Yes, it’s been a long time between posts. In my defense, I’ve been working on all kinds of things that will be coming your way soon.
The Last Smile in Sunder City is now at the copy-editing stage. Soon I’ll be able to share things like release dates, excerpts, and the incredible cover! I just visited London and New York and was able to meet the awesome people at Orbit Books in both cities. I’m in very safe and experienced hands and my luggage is weighed down with all kinds of amazing books written by the other Orbit authors.
On the acting side of things, I filmed the third season of Glitch (check out the first two seasons on Netflix) and another program in Australia called The End which I am really proud to be a part of. I’ll have more to say about that as it gets closer to release.
While I was back in Australia, my brother George and I got the cameras out and filmed a little project of our own called Level Up Lance. The post-production is going to take a while but it will hopefully be one of many things we’ll produce this year.
A short film called Gutterpunks that I wrote and directed is days away from being completed. It’s pretty special. Once we hit up some festivals I’ll make it available online.
But mostly, I’ve been working hard on the next book in the Sunder City series. I’m actually feeling pretty good about it so far. Because The Last Smile isn’t out yet, I still feel like I’m writing in my own little bubble, which I will enjoy while it lasts. I imagine this will all feel different once an audience has something in their hands.
Now, a little ramble…
While traveling, writing, and balancing both careers, I’ve realized that there’s a part of this job I hadn’t quite anticipated, and that’s the emotional effect that writing can have on my day.
A few times this month, I’ve caught myself feeling emotional, not understood why, and then realized that it was linked to whatever I’d been writing about that morning. I would find myself sitting in the same emotional state I’d sent Fetch Phillips into a few hours earlier.
This reminded me of my first year at drama school when our improvisation teacher (shout-out to Chrissie Best) took us through a series of lessons that I’ve never forgotten.
We’d drop into a particular emotional state, then force ourselves to come out of it and move on.
Emotions are addictive. It can be really tempting for actors to take their one-stage (or on-screen) lives home with them. Whether it’s joy or anger or grief, once those feelings have hold of us, we don’t want to let them go. But it’s indulgent and it can make us insufferable to be around if we don’t keep it in check. In those classes, we would go to the deepest emotional point possible, then shake it out and try to go back into the real world as decent human beings. (Well, we were drama students, so maybe not that decent).
Learning not to cling to those feelings was an important lesson as a young actor, and it turns out to be just as important as an author. Writers go to some strange, deep, vulnerable places. If you don’t break free of those feelings, they can turn you into a grump or a bundle of tears.
As creators, it’s tempting not to leave our little worlds. Sometimes we fear that if we step too far away from them, they won’t let us back in. But, in my experience, those emotions always return when called and don’t need to be kept on a leash.
That’s how I feel about it anyway. It’s important to suffer for our art while we’re doing the job – take risks, shed tears, scare ourselves, be as honest as we can – but then we wash our hands of it before we sit down at the dinner table.
I’ve really enjoyed hearing from you in the comments and on twitter, so let me know your thoughts on this. Have you ever found yourself too caught up in the emotional world of your work? Or maybe as a reader?
Thanks for hanging out. I’d better get back to Sunder City and push Fetch into the next chapter. I left him in a pretty rough place and he won’t be able to get out of it on his own.
Thanks for hanging out x