“Let us not live in a culture of other people’s ideas. Let us create our own.”
I remember a college kid.
This kid buried his nose in philosophy books, theater history, and art films. He wrote works based on the words of Sarte, Camus, and Brecht. He wrote a play in class and sent it off to his mentor. “I want to see this produced.” said the mentor. It never happened. The kid studied the cutup method by Burroughs – the films of David Lynch. The kid swore that there wasn’t a decent book written after the 1970’s.
He went to upstate New York in the summer of 2000. He spent most of his time there filling notebooks, drinking scotch, and printing off pages of his manifesto using the printer in the theater office. He decided then and there that he wanted to become a writer. He wanted to change the world.
Obviously, that kid was me.
Now almost twenty years later, that kid is all but dead. He’s been buried under years and years of safety. Self doubt and fear have left him chained in the closet – silenced. Truth is, I never set out to do this. It just happened. I started listening to others that said ‘write what’s safe’. ‘Write what sells first. You can always do the ‘dangerous’ stuff later.” Now, it’s twenty years later, and I’m sad to say we have a generation full of vampire novels, zombie apocalypses, paranormal romances, and wizarding adventures. The technology of e-publishing was supposed to revolutionize the printing world. Instead, it pretty much gave us an over-saturation of all the crap that was already out there.
It’s time to bring dangerous back – to push the boundaries.
So let this be the year I start pushing boundaries – physically, emotionally, and creatively. I want to change things. I want to create things that matter. Yes, that sounds pretty idealistic – naive – but, look down at that vampire/love story/post-apocalyptic adventure/kids with cancer/ supernatural horror manuscript your working on and ask yourself ‘is this really going to change the world?’
I hope you’ll join me.
I don’t regret anything I’ve written. It’s just that I have a disease that says it will chop off at least 15 years of my life, and my poor lifestyle choices will probably take another five or so off of that. So that means I have a good twenty years or so and I don’t want to spend them putting out garbage that could possible sell.
So where am I at now?
Well, years ago (around the time of my diagnosis) I was plagued with nightmares. I turned those nightmares into THE (the only novel I’ve ever published). After the passing of my father in November, the nightmares have returned. I have pages and pages of them written down and plotted out. Will they ever come to light? I can’t say.
I’ve spent the last five years or so working on a book about serial killers and the sex trade in a small Nebraska town. It is a crime/ psychological thriller that replaces imaginative monsters for the real life horrors that haunt us. Will it see a Summer release? Probably not.
Right now the whole universe is on standby while I weed through old material and search for new. It is my creative world, and for the first time, I feel completely in charge of it. All I know is that this year will be full of excitement, pain, joy, and nightmares.
I can’t wait.