Saturday, January 16, 2010


For the people that know me, there is little within me that does not question, analyze, dissect, doubt, and challenge everything I encounter in life. I feel like I have a hard-won faith and a more than basic grasp on my spirituality and my relationship with all things beyond the scope of the temporal. The more I sit in front of this computer and write my books, the more I seem to lose touch with the tangible things in my life.

The temporal elements of our existence generally amount to our relationships, personal hygiene, balancing a checkbook, keeping our living space clean, and similar. The writing I do seems to lack these elements relative to the protagonists acting to drive the story forward. That off-hand conversation with a significant other while brushing one's teeth. Seeing an odd bug on the screen door as you head out to get coffee with friends. Looking into the sky and seeing faces in the clouds. Everything I write seems to be as minimalist as I'd hope to be and devoid of fanciful diversion.

So how does one waste words without turning an entire chapter into a tangent unrelated to the larger story? While more than a few would attempt to perpetrate such under the guise of character development, its one of the things I hate passionately about the canned crap modern writers have been foisting off on us for the last four decades, or longer. The allure is to appeal to my own humanity and seek out comfortable things to write about, granting myself respite from the bloody grind of a book like Dreams & Echoes.

When you pick up The Odyssey, or 20'ooo Leagues Under the Sea, you'll find the pages utterly devoid of such contrivances, each page driving the protagonists toward something. No one stops to smell the flowers, ponder their navel, or fix their hair in the side view mirror of a Subaru hatchback. The story drives forward like an inky literary juggernaut chugging through the slick viscera of a thinly sliced tree-corpse. There's no flowers anywhere.

To mix genres as I'm want to do is like inviting a certain amount of irreverence about the territory I unapologetically trespass into. I like the idea of someone dressed similarly to a Roman Legionnaire standing next to someone dressed like Steve McQueen's character from Dead or Alive... in the same story. Mare's Leg and all. Oh, and why not through in some magic and monsters while I'm at it. Visually I have to wonder how it would all look together. I'm seriously going to have to sketch all this and hold it up beside one another.

With irreverence comes laughter. When I think of the movie Gran Torino and what really made that flick memorable, it was definitely the irreverence of the whole thing. The casual indifference to society's skewed moral code, and a willingness to not only mock it, but laugh at it as well. I want that same awkwardness to mix with lopsided characters that don't always sound like polish-perfect spokespeople for the story. I think my social life will likely suffer in the wake of my attempt to embrace my own awkwardness to that end.

Energy in.

Energy out.

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