On Secret Projects

Showing unfinished work to the world always seems a slightly immature thing to do. If your work is not in a state anywhere near completion, you risk alienating the people who expect something interesting from you. They are perhaps your first responsibility when creating anything – a tasty meal, a poem, a symphony, it doesn’t really matter what. The second responsibility is the creation itself: if you go around showing it off half-baked, you might conjure up lots of inconsistencies and confusion about the thing you’re creating later on, when you announce you’ve actually finished it. And last but not least, your third responsibility is your creative integrity. Displaying incomplete work brings about a certain dissonance between creator and creation, a lack of coherence between a result envisioned and the currently observable state of the creation.

I am of course simplifying here, but you can easily guess that these are the main reasons I am hesitant about discussing unfinished projects in detail. In some cases – for example, writing a doctoral thesis – showing work in progress is part of the definition of the project, so it cannot really be avoided (although it makes me just as queasy as talking about any other incomplete piece of work). And sometimes one has to carefully balance on the razor’s edge of revealing what is useful (to keep people up-to-date, let information spread) and dropping pieces of project data purposelessly, perhaps even to the detriment of the project’s overall health.

So, in general, I prefer to keep silent about the projects I’m working on, keep them in the dark and secret as long as I see fit. From time to time this can lead to entertaining situations, however. I took stock of my secret projects last week and realized I have more than three. A rather vague statement that, isn’t it? “More than three”: statistically speaking, this might be a truthful thing to say, but here’s a more comprehensive explanation just in case:

  • The first secret project is a diversely poetic one. You will likely hear lots of detail about it very soon, so I won’t say more now.
  • The second secret project involves music, but I have a very serious collaborator (better: a boss and big chief) on this one, so I’m not a lone warrior. There is, however, much more I need to learn about my role here – and many more tasks I need to work on within this project. You will probably hear something about this again in several months’ time.
  • The third project seems to be an interactive fiction thing like ASwM but on a different theme and perhaps a different scale. It’s in its early conceptual stages and might not grow fast enough before the first or (more likely) second quarter of next year. As long as it’s moving on independently through the chaos in my brain, though, you can be sure I’ll be working on it.
  • And last but not least, there is my fourth secret project which I have numbered 3,1415…, or “Humble Pie”. It currently takes the form of an obsessive idea about a character and a certain thing that character does, a certain way of life, way with people, way with things. Where this character comes from, who they are, what they want – I have no idea yet. No one knows what will come of this, not even I; still, mystery lives on because we like its mysterious nature and nurture it with our imaginations. Of course otherwise we probably won’t be human, or at least not the humans we are today.

I could possibly list some more things here, but they will be even less recognizable as solidly grounded projects. My secretiveness does not help showcase my ideas as well-defined but, in the end, I simply like creative secrets. Secrets at large are like shapes moving in thick fog, we think we see them, we think we sense them, but we never know what they hide until someone or something reveals them. Let’s see what the great revealer we call life makes with my little secret projects in the future to come.

Comments are closed.