My task this year is working on several books at once in the 1001 series, and with that comes the pleasure of tracking an idea like The Movable Golden Age. As I humbly learn how to entice readers to discover The Qaraq, Book One of The Reincarnation Chronicles, I wait for my editor Debra Ginsberg to do her magic on Book Two, and so forge ahead drafting Book Four (over half done!). What about Book Three, you ask? Don’t ask.
What’s a Movable Golden Age? Consider what a Golden Age is first. I think of them as short-lived, maybe part of a longer arc like an Empire, with its Rise and Fall, but the Golden Age heyday is just the cherry at the top of the Rise.
Classical English drama may have been excellent for centuries, but Shakespeare hit his peak over about thirty years.
Rock & Roll may be here to stay, but The Beatles accomplished their revolution in less than a decade.
We may be in a new Golden Age of television, with excellent acting, writing, and long arc series, but I think we’re coming off the hump. If this Golden Age coalesced with The Wire and Lost and The Sopranos over ten years ago, those long arcs and cliffhangers have become more formulaic in the last few years, IMHO. Another decade long Golden Age, which will nonetheless continue to inspire a while longer.
So in Book One of the 1001 series, an idea is introduced that at any given time on the planet, and/or the universe, there is a Golden Age bubbling up somewhere, which will shortly give way to a new one. On another continent, in another language, on the breeze of an Escape Wind.
In Book Two we learn of the Xoo, an inter-galactic prison for radical thinkers, one of whom posits the Movable Golden Age theory, among others. And in Book Four, I’m currently writing a 32-chapter frame tale during the Age of Exploration, where we witness the Chinese and European ‘discovery’ of America, global expansions and diasporas, and of course, Movable Golden Ages.
What about Book Three? Don’t ask.
It’s a fascinating historical subject to analyze why civilizations come and go, empires rise and fall, and Golden Ages pop up when the perfect set of ingredients come together for a glorious recipe. But just as the cooking process takes much longer than the enjoyment time of a good meal, the Golden Age has that bittersweet short-lived half-life. Too much of a good thing….
So that’s a little taste of the process I’m lost in, and the ideas that 1001 entertains. Some day I’ll let you know why Book Three was such a bear to write. For now, that’s right, don’t ask.
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