Returning to new work on the Bordertown series -- my hope is to add two new novellas, and combine those with slightly edited versions of the three I long ago contributed to the series, to make the body of the work feel organically interconnected. All of the protagonists thus far in my stories were born in Bordertown, which is different from the recent edition Welcome to Bordertown where many of the stories were more about the immigration of teens into the fantastic city. (And I think says so much about the second generation of writers --who once were readers of the stories -- looking for a literary entrance into Bordertown.)
All this has led to me to focus on a few factors about the realities of being born in Bordertown, and the nature of the geography of Bordertown, its expansion and shrinking, its appearing and disappearing, its maze of streets that sometimes go missing, its clock that tells time in a time zone all its own. This isn't so much because I want to explain these mysteries -- but use them more as expressions of unstable identities which underlie most of the Bordertown tales.
For me, the most important character in Bordertown has always been the city itself. By its very unmooring from the normal physics of space and time, it is fluid, changeable, much like adolescence which propels a child into adulthood but not without bouts of disrupting turbulence. Children born in Bordertown grow up with their feet planted on shifting ground, and they roll with it. And unlike the runaways from the world who enter the city, the "born and breds" have no such mixed alliegences, no families and friends abandoned behind in another world. But what they do have is an innate sense of the shifting of the city, the slow rolling tides beneath the stones, the timeslips, and instability that is held together by an unknowable force.
As I was there when Bordertown was being formed, which offered an early origin story of the "when it all changed," my first stories reflected that in the ambiguity of the adults (both human and fantastic) in the background. Many of them seem to have a foot in both worlds, a "before," where their offspring have only a "here." Even the elvish kids who can travel back and forth from their exclusive home, regard Bordertown as an extension of their backyard -- a grubby suburb they've always had, where they can escape the cloistered beauty of their parent's world. It may be this sense of ownership that has often set up the turf conflicts in the gangs of Bordertown.
I have an inkling of where all this thinking is taking me in the new Bordertown stories -- though I am still trying to "feel" my way through the soles of my feet. It's been a fun process, and even more so to see the older stories take on new layers of meanings.
**For those not familiar with the Bordertown series, founded by Terri Windling back in the 1980s-- this link to a comprehensive B-town website should fill in some of the gaps.