Looking back at all I've written for the past couple of weeks, and it becomes clear to me that I've been depressed. It has tainted every word I've typed, and eroded my own personal clarity. My writing keeps me sane, but at its own expense. This thing I'm trying to do should manage my feelings, depression, and rage. Not the other way around. My printer went down while I was trying to print my latest set of works for my contributors.
If the damned thing wasn't broken before, it certainly is now after the beating I gave it. Oh well. Something for my father and I to perforate out in the desert.
Like I said before, I paused to look back at all the pages I've written since the week previous to Thanksgiving and despair. How did I get to such a dark place and not ever realize it? It is like I am reading the words of a complete stranger sometimes. In particular, my second Dreams & Echoes book has taken on a somewhat demoralizing tone. These books have always been about the immortal Shades, but this project addresses specifically the humans that survived the Tenebrion's arrival.
"...the rest of the world experienced horrors and death that would have shamed Hell itself for being merciful. When the Tenebrion malignancy touched a human, they would immediately be robbed of their sight. Next, it would exploit everything evil and insidious about that person, amplifying those dark feelings one thousand fold. The person would be reduced to a snarling animal with only a small range of desires. The would kill, rape, or eat others to sate some terrible hunger gnawing away at their very being. Millions of people died in the first day as they blindly savaged each other."
That's black as hell. The family unit, friendships, camaraderie, and everything good and binding about being human utterly stolen away in a single day. The people caught outside the few places of Primordial Light becoming something so monstrous I declined vivid description. Most of the world's religions painted a dim picture of the apocalypse, but would have some deific being step in at the last moment to 'save' people. The story I'm trying to tell, the responsibility for setting things right falls squarely on the shoulders of those who remain after an apocalypse no one could have foreseen. Placing contrasting imagery and story elements has allowed me to write about some extremely heroic folks.
"No soldier fighting for the Penumbral Society is more highly decorated than Theogrande of House Eidolon. His acts of bravery are held next to those of Numenarch, Eidolon, and Paragon as being just as pivotal to the continuation and protection of the Penumbral Society. Theogrande's stoic courage has inspired slaves to rise successfully against their masters, and for the downtrodden to find the strength for one last fight."
On Tuesday when I met with my contributors for the project, I ran several lines of dialogue past them using Theogrande as a character.
"Nice echoes. You guys sound like a metal band walking together. You guys aren't the sort that simply reverberates with the world from every step you take, you shake it like thunder splitting stone. All the better because this fate didn't choose you... you chose it."
I like the Theogrande character... he was my first impulse for the tone of the story, and the first character I wrote material for years ago. Even before Numenarch himself was to take shape in my mind, Theogrande was my idea of a quintessential Shade. Having managed to collect most of his memories, he's my break from the Milton-esque way most of the Penumbrals speak.
Maybe that should have a place in the story somewhere. Shades that speak jive...
Like a flesh eating fungus, the idea seems to be devouring me.