The book I've begun has five parts, each set in a different city I've lived in: Portland, San Francisco, Valencia, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Each part begins with a poem, to give context and mood, then moves to narrative text.
Part 1: Cigarette Butts in a Chipped Teacup, is set in 1997-8, Portland. It relates how Nicole/Nikki, a 19 year-old living in a messy punk house called the Dustbin, navigates her subculture as it crosses with her own rising attraction to women, namely her roommate Lana, and the beginnings of her own psychological problems.
As of this morning I have 17 pages of this, retyped and revised from an earlier, 120 page document.
Part 2 is set in 2003, San Francisco, and will take substantial revision of a three-story set in terms of point of view and tenses. I wrote the stories originally in a very post-modern way, and I'm changing them back to a more traditional first person straighforward narrative. Revision is key.
Part 3 is set in 2005, San Diego. It discusses Nikki's isolation after the manic excitement of San Francisco, and her friendship with Micah, an HIV+ neighbor who becomes her only ally while she waits to go to graduate school. I have a rough draft of this, but it needs some work.
Part 4 is set in 2006-8, Valencia. This part will be the most difficult for me to write, as I vowed while at CalArts, not to write about my experiences there. Therefore I have no base texts to bounce off of, and must write cold. that's fine, I hope that by this point in the process i will be more able to tell where the story needs to go, and thus what this section needs to do for it.
Part 5 is set in 2009-10 Los Angeles. I have a few fragmentary stories to work with here, but at this point a lot of the focus is going to be on tying the previous threads together into plot threads that cohere and coincide with the present state. That is to say, I'll write this part when I get to it, hopefully.
So, that's my plan, I've decided that to keep myself going I must write not only for pleasure or for the self-indulgence of the thinly veiled memoir (pa-ha, I know it's obvious). But this time I must write from fear, write from the nipping at my heels of the dogs of supported employment, the drool and leaden hands at the factory floor. I must discipline myself this time. I will try.