Backward and Forward
Sometimes to go forward one must go backwards. Readers may have wondered why I have spent so much time revising the past. Last year I found myself at a crossroads after having all the rights for my previously published works returned to me. A part of me wanted to only pursue new creative endeavors, but I soon realized that I needed a platform. The only way to move ahead was to own the past. I had to accept every triumph and mistake as trial and error on the writer’s path that has guided me to this point. I undertook the weight of self-publishing under my own banner, DS. This past year has been a great experience and has made me a better writer with each new level of learning (repetition of write, publish, repeat) and the keen knowledge only wrong turns can bring. I have used this opportunity to create a back catalog as I have revisited all my old works and put them in a form that is better than before while maintaining their original intent. So far I have released: Anarchy - Strange Tales of Outsiders, Wild Boys - A Peculiar Western Novel, and Escape from Dolphin Street. The first quarter of 2018 will bring the last of the past with The Trouble with Furries. After that the future begins with the never before released Journey of Lane Bowden. This is my true crime inspired opus set during the dark summer of 1973 during the Houston Mass Murders with fictional protagonists in a real backdrop of terror. Further along the way is my Rebel’s Edge series that I am currently writing the second novel, Punks. The future is bright and I am proud of the progress and hope my strange stories find a cult audience. Meanwhile, let us go back to the past where it all started with Where the Road Roams.
The following are edited excerpts from my FB page:
January 21st, 2014 — I wrote screenplays and loved the art, but something was missing: a sense of completion. Driven by the need to satisfy my creativity with more complete works, I started something different and wrote my first novella, Where the Road Roams in 2005. The style is purposefully fractured, much like, Dean's, the main character’s, mind. This work is rough and raw, often fragmented in thought, and was written with William S. Burroughs as an inspiration.
January 30th, 2014 — Another inspiration came from Montrose, the neighborhood I lived in at the time. A place with no zoning, it was a mix of inner city suburbia and urban street life. I frequented a bar named the 6ll to watch people, taking notes of the hustlers and the street life that came in and out of the place. It offered a chance to see a different part of life, and a chance to be a voyeur. I decided to write a story of two brothers, one just out of rehab (Dean Forrest) and the other (Mark Forrest) lost on the streets I was observing. I knew there had to be a dark past that fragmented their lives, especially for Dean. He was searching for his brother Mark, feeling guilty of a sin he could not name.
The style of the novella was influenced by William S. Burroughs. Every moment, short and out of place, was my intent to show how the character experienced the world. Chapter nine, where there is an LSD induced train ride, furthers the journey as a cut-up portion of the story. Burroughs used the method of cutting up prose and even stories, rearranging them to create an abstract form. I did not go as far as incorporating unrelated material to see if it fit, but I did take a poem, a past story of abuse, and a present one of the trip and arrange them into a cut up that informs the crux of the story -- the everlasting effect of abuse on the psyche of an adolescent. Where the Road Roams may not have a normal progression, yet I am proud of it not only as a first novella but as an experimental work.
August 14th, 2014 — For Chapter Nine, I took the events unfolding in real time (Dean, his brother Mark, and an untrustworthy street kid named Cliff) on a moving train, a flashback of the brothers tortured past, and a dream journal entry and cut them up (Burroughs cut-up method). I laid all the pieces in the floor and reassembled them in a fashion that made sense for the protagonist’s, Dean’s, psychedelically fractured mind.
Excerpt from Where the Road Roams included inside Anarchy - Strange Tales of Outsiders:
The melancholy wail of the train whistle drifts into the night. Dean rocks back and forth in a daze, light flashing through the wooden slats of the freight car.
Or is this a cattle car?
In a fugue, I lay on the bed disorientated — confused feeling of unease. There is something in the air. It is tangible. I feel like I’m on acid. Movement in the shadows — sleep come.
Another time and place, Dean and Mark about age six are peeing beside a suburban house. The backyard has no grass only sand. They laugh at each other’s things as streams cross.
Dean wiggles his toes in the one shoe he has on and feels paper goods and inwardly sighs. He looks down at Cliff who smiles a disarming smile and punches him hard in the face. Cliff rolls away grabbing his nose.
He wonders as Mark and Cliff discuss something in low voices. A candle is lit and Dean watches the glow as liquid bubbles on a metal object above it.
My eyes barely close and I am here, but there. I lie on the bed but see a different room. A staircase angles down. I loll my head to who descends. A fair red headed beauty smiles her waif smile — behind is light, so bright.
I wonder if the world started with a flash of cracking light coming through a splinter of rotting wood.
February 26th, 2016 — My first audiobook, Where the Road Roams, was recorded at Double J Studios. I narrated the troubling tale of brothers on the streets last year. It was an interesting process to be shut in a soundproof room with a microphone to read roughly a chapter at a time. Hearing your own voice is strange no matter the format from film work to answering machine recordings, but I hope it makes an enjoyable listen. The recording was followed by the mastering process and submission to ACX. Overall, the project took about three months to complete.
June 19th, 2014 — Writing can be difficult on the road. I travel a lot with work and have to be creative with time and place. Sometimes I sit with my laptop, actually on my lap, in the back of a car to write hoping the road is smooth and my vision clear. Even after a long day, I try to at least map out the next part of the story I am working on in my head. No matter where I am, I try to find a place or time to write and the pieces always seem to come together. Strangely enough, the chaos works in my favor. I think of it as stealing moments to create.