This is the second time I wrote a book as a diversion from another project that I couldn’t quite get going. In the first instance, Genesis was drafted as a way to pass the time while I waited for problems with Acid Song to resolve themselves offstage. In the case of Lullaby, things were slightly different. Essentially, I was trying to write a different Lullaby, which had almost nothing in common with this book. It was set in some future with a Victorian feel, in a time of plague, where a young child was whisked away to the safety of a secluded island castle by a mysterious benefactor. So, nothing at all like the more sic-fi feel of the futuristic hospital ward, where a young man must confront the coma-trapped form of his identical twin.
As I approached the end of the other, never to be published novel, I realized I don’t quite have a handle on what I wanted to leave the reader with. And so, as is often the case for me, I tried to find my way there by allowing the characters to speak to one another. And one of them, in trying to make his point, said ‘imagine identical twins, in a hospital, one in full health, the other in a coma…’ and as soon as I wrote it I realized that was the novel I should have been writing all along. So the Lullaby 1, draft 3, was promptly archived, and I turned my attention to the book I was meant to be writing.
Lullaby is an attempt to find the middle ground between the at times austere, but thought-experiment pure, approach of Genesis, and the more character based, but perhaps at the expense of clarity, of August. I was looking for a thought experiment that would take us deep into the heart of the metaphors we embrace when considering death, and I wanted the circumstance to not so much flow for the characters’ situation, as be their situation.
The playwright in me can’t resist the two-hander, be it Adam and Art, trapped in a prison cell, Tristan and Grace trapped in a crashed car, or here, Rene and his psychologist trapped in the session that will ultimately determine whether or not Rene is allowed to decide his brother’s fate.
As I write this, it’s early days for the book. A consensus as to its qualities is yet to form, and I am in the happy space of still being able to believe the book inside my head break some resemblance to the book that reader will experience.