last updated: 22 May 2019
About the daydream
Sometimes it’s good to daydream, because it helps to explore and clarify ideas.
What is the difference between the Easy Town idea and the daydream?
The Easy Town idea is an actual idea I have been working on it since 2012.
The daydream, I am writing down in the Seven Years Easy Town book series, is one scenario of how this town could come about, and how it could work. Being a daydream, it also includes storylines which have little to do with the town as such. Sometimes, you get distracted by new ideas, conflicts, and adventures.
The origins of the daydream
I have sometimes used daydreams to explore ideas in general and the Easy Town idea in particular. The daydream I am publishing is the most complex story I have ever walked through.
There are characters, ideas and even storylines which have been part of earlier Easy Town daydreams.
How it started
This daydream started with a simple question: ‘What if I send a letter to the richest man on the planet and ask whether he’d be interested in the Easy Town project?’
How to finance the Easy Town project has always worried me because I wanted the project to be independent. So, exploring the letter-idea could not be dismissed. Little did I expect that this would send me into a daydream which lasted several weeks.
I finished the daydream in the first week of August 2016. About a week later, I still thought about the story, and then the idea came up to publish it. This way I could write about the Easy Town idea and include the playfulness and contradictions that are inherent in it. Moreover, I could present the discussions and struggles rather than any sort of solution or truth. You’ll understand why this is an important aspect for me once you’ve read book 1.
About the characters
At times it might seem that there are too many characters. But, there is no need to remember everyone. Those characters essential to the story will be well known to the reader.
Alice is an autobiographical character. Not because I want to tell you bits and pieces of my story, but because the Easy Town idea and the daydream are inseparable from my past and views.
The richest man on earth
I’ll be honest. That morning when the idea popped up to write a letter to the richest man on the planet, I had a real person in mind. A person I still know very little about. Any similarities between that real person and Tom Holbon start and end with these basic characteristics: richest man, philanthropist, inventor of the personal computer, co-founder of the most influential software company, programmer, businessman.
When I thought about the origins of Tom Holbon again, a few weeks back, I realised that I had been lucky. If the present richest guy had popped up in my mind, I would have dismissed the idea at once, and this daydream would never have seen the light of day because money alone wouldn’t have done the trick.
And this is why: By the time the letter-idea came up, I had already given the simulations some thought. Simulations of the town could help in the planning process and could later be used to evaluate developments and test adjustments. So, having someone who could code, and who had access to programmers would be useful. On top of that, someone who had invented something incredible and was known as a philanthropist, pushed my imagination into overdrive — well, nearly.
However, I can’t stress this enough: Tom Holbon is his very own character and no attempt whatsoever to portrait an existing person.
Why start in 2016?
Setting a beginning
I began daydreaming at the end of June 2016. Since I wanted the fictitious Easy Town project to start on the first of April, I went back in time, so to speak, and set the beginning of the daydream to the second of March.
While writing, I thought about starting the story of the book version in 2022 or some other year in the future rather than lacking behind time. However, I made a discovery that decided me to stick with the original timeline. To understand the significance of my discovery, there are two things you need to know. One, the Easy Town year always starts on the first of April and all major steps are marked on this day: the first official Easy Town meeting in 2016, the official start of the building phase in 2017, and the official opening of the town in 2018.
The other thing you need to know is that religion is a critical issue for me which I address in the books.
01 April 2018
Now, the discovery in question came as a shook, and I honestly didn’t know whether to cry or to laugh. I was doing some basic research: the dates for holidays namely Christmas and Easter. As it turned out, Easter falls on the first of April in 2018. Of all possible days for Easter, it had to be on the opening day of the town.
Well, I love a challenge and decided that I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see Alice struggle with this fact, and indeed, something beautiful came out of it (or so I believe).
This is why I decided to stick with the original timeline rather than to push the book version into the future.
Why keep the dates?
In most cases, the dates aren’t crucial for the story, but they make referencing within the story a lot easier.
Also, some subjects will be picked up in several books. For those subjects, I will publish a reference list (probably on publishing book 3).
What is the differences between the daydream and the book version?
The story is roughly the same in both versions. The main differences are in the details: some characters have become more prominent, some subjects have been extended, and some points have been corrected.
Davie, Jack’s youngest son, was twelve years old throughout the original daydream. I only realised this when I made the notes on the story. Since it is essential that he is no older than twelve in year 4, he enters the story much younger than in the original daydream.
Example: THE HUB
The internet didn’t play any crucial role before Year 3 of the daydream. Writing about the new teams at Tom’s, I realised that someone was bound to suggest using social media for the project. Since, I didn’t want to use any of the existing platforms, I developed an alternative: the Hub.
Apart from the fact that the Hub is great fun and doesn’t violate anyones privacy or desire for self-determination, it also got a social spin to it: the Hub Stations. I’ll give you some more details on this in an upcomming posts.
There were about twenty characters in the course of the seven years I knew well. Everyone else got changing names, or from some point on, they were just the architects or the baker. Since I needed names for the book version, more characters have a name and with that also a bit more of a story and a role.
I don’t remember every detail from the seven years daydream. In some cases I would, for example, remember the result of an event, but not how it had come about. So, there are pieces of the daydream that are reimagined for the book version.
For book 2, I have done additional research on the different countries Alice and her team visit. And that led to a few additions (historical, political & geographical details) but also to some adjustments. For example: during the daydream, I didn’t pay attention to winter and summer times, and the team originally spent a hot summer vacation on the Australian coast in August. Well, not so anymore.
What is the difference between a story and this daydream?
In a daydream, I don’t develop, or plan, or intent. Instead, I explore. And, I walk along an imaginary road and see what happens. I rarely ask what is but rather what could be. What if is more often the driving impulse than what is.
A daydream rarely turns into a story. But this one did. It actually surprised me that everything came together in year seven and actually seems to make sense. I still find myself analysing the events and developments that have simply occurred while I strolled through the dream. Well, it isn’t all strolling. There are some messy times ahead.
Fiction and reality
In the Easy Town books, fiction and reality are interwoven. I test real ideas in this story, and I use whatever comes to mind, be it real or fictitious.
In book 2, I have used both fictitious locations and real locations. Usually, I went with fictitious locations when I needed more freedom for the story. This is particularly true for Otaon, the fictitious Middle Eastern country.