In the late nineties, I began working on a novel I called Boom Town. It was about the tech boom of that time period and mainly focused on an individual named David Cairo (pronounced like the town in Georgia, not the one in Egypt), who founded a web development company, took it public, and became a billionaire. I managed to write a hundred or more pages, before I shelved the project and moved on to other works I never finished. Over the next several years, I more or less dabbled in writing, maybe managing a story or two or having ideas for writing projects but very little materialized beyond stuff I posted on the Internet which became my main creative outlet.
In 2006, I had the idea to write a book in the style of my Internet posts, short, quick, and composed totally off the top of my head. I started with a scene that I had been carrying around for more than twenty years, that of a woman walking into a museum and looking at a portrait of herself painted hundreds of years before. This became the basis for a book with the working title Eternal, which eventually became The Longtimers, which I released in 2007. It was the first time I ever completed a book and I considered it my best work up to that point.
Over the next several years, I became involved in the creative community around Atlanta, learning improv at Dad’s Garage and Relapse Theatre, and taking writing and acting classes at Sketchworks. I started writing comedy sketches, which evolved into short plays, and eventually, I tackled my first full-length play, Rebecca, Too. This became the basis for what I now call The Expanded Universe of Fictional Atlanta, the setting for most of my work since.
In 2017, I wrote Fables of the New South and in one of the stories, Mockingbird, I resurrected David Cairo from just before he made his fortune, and mentioned him in a later story Atomic Punk. The main details of his rise to prominence remained largely intact, and I realized that my earlier work on his story had influenced the development of characters in Rebecca, Too. He has since been in every addition to The Expanded Universe, most significantly in Reconstruction, and I’m now starting to focus on reviving Boom Town to finally tell his story.
The lesson I’ve learned from this is to never totally abandon a writing project. Whatever twists and turns life may take, if a project is worthwhile, it will stick with the writer, floating around in the subconscious, always looking for an opportunity to rise to the surface. The modern incarnation of Boom Town will be nothing like what I conceived in the late-nineties, but I now have a better understanding of the character and the story I wish to tell. As they say, timing is everything.