I haven't reported on the progress of "Rainbow" since my mid-May Martinmania. I can briefly summarize what has happened since then:
May 19: I started reading The Bluebird of Happiness, both to complete my editing of the manuscript and to conduct research for "Rainbow".
May 27: I finished reading/editing Bluebird. Forgive the shameless self-promotion for my debut novel, but I have to say it was a bit of a downer. I found myself lingering in a state of melancholy, unable to get in the mood to start work on "Rainbow".
June 8: After a bout of depression, I had recovered enough to begin work on my second novel, "Rainbow". I made a strong start, had an especially productive day of writing on June 9, and wrote about the first 5,000 words that weekend.
In mid-June I fell back into depression, at times rather deep and almost debilitating (certainly in terms of being able to do any writing). I once more recovered and resumed writing on June 30.
The new start didn't go very far though, not due to depression but because I simply didn't feel the same inspiration and passion that I had previously experienced.
During July I revisited my notes for the novel and reviewed what I had already written, both of which helped me to regain some of my excitement about the story. Finally, on July 24, I once again returned to my writing, and since then I have been working on it slowly but steadily.
So the upshot is that, yes, "Rainbow" is still alive (and still does not have a proper title, although I have lived with the working title for so long now that I'm becoming open to the idea of just letting it become the official title if another one does not strongly assert itself).
As of today, the manuscript stands at just about 7,000 words, so it is already at about 1/7 the standard minimum length for a novel, and about 1/14 the length of Bluebird. The story is only just getting started, so I have no concern about having enough material (especially when reviewing my copious notes, which remind me what a vast, rich, and complex tale this is).
Back in May, when I was soaring on enthusiasm and excitement about the new novel, it was easy to believe that I might yet again experience a burst of feverish inspiration such as drove me to pour out Bluebird's 100,000 words in six weeks last summer. It is evident now, of course, that the writing of "Rainbow" is taking a different path toward its completion, but that is okay because each story has its own story, as it were, and its own process of unfolding.
Anyway, the supernova of creativity that was the writing of Bluebird is far from the whole story of that novel's evolution. As I have described before, Bluebird traveled a long, winding, torturous road for 13 years prior to its final glorious appearing.
Each story must work itself out in its own way. I cannot expect every novel I write to happen in the same way, nor would I want that to be the case.
So, for now at least, my inspiration and passion are relatively sedate and subdued, but they are still there, and I am still genuinely excited about "Rainbow". In May, under the influence of my exploding inspiration and vision, I had the feeling that "Rainbow", like Bluebird, was going to be something big (not necessarily, and probably not, in commercial terms, but at least in artistic terms).
For much of the last two months, through all the darkness and getting lost in the woods, I have maintained this belief, often as a matter of blind faith. I did not always feel it, but I remembered the fact that I once did, and I trusted that the glorious vision I had glimpsed of "Rainbow", this marvelous tale of the "one true Martin", was still out there somewhere, only waiting for me to find it.
It is becoming easier to see and to feel it again, but, as with any project of this sort, it still requires faith until its completion. Ever since the first faint glimmerings of the story back in February, I have had this sense, more intuition than proven fact, that "Rainbow" will be something big, a grand and powerful story, something (as a close friend of mine called it) monstrous and majestic.
It is hard to explain what the story is about, even to myself, but that is part of its strange power. I think that many of the most effective works of art are difficult to explain, but we still feel their magic work on us at a deep unconscious level. Of course I am not speaking of my actual novel, which I have only begun to write, but (as I spoke of Bluebird) only of the story's effect on me as I conceive it and imagine it.
I have said before that "Rainbow" is neither a sequel nor a prequel to Bluebird. It overlaps in time and extends much further into Bluebird's past and future. But apart from that, it is simply a different story, with a different mood and feel, a different narrative voice (or rather, set of voices), and a different vision. It is a different myth using many of the same characters.
One thing that is becoming interesting to me about the new narrative is that the characters who also appeared in Bluebird, though largely and basically the same as before, also seem somehow, subtly, different. It may just be that I am seeing and therefore revealing further aspects and facets of these people, more of their human depth and complexity.
I think that there will be no glaring inconsistencies or continuity gaps between the two novels, but in some sense they can be seen as two independent narratives that may seem to bear an ambiguous and mysterious relationship to each other, one that would be difficult to fully map out and chart.
In any case, we are underway. Like Martin, I am stumbling my way toward my own personal Oz.