I am coming to the end of the first wave of my writing. Fifteen years ago I started with screenplays, first for a short film, Spike. The finished project did not have the budget for the shadow people and was definitely on the fly. I wanted to follow it up with a Warhol style short that is now lost to time. I kept writing and dove into a feature screenplay, Tracer, about growing up as a punk. Looking back, it was rough but had moments. I remember seeing the film Tarnation and realizing the similarity. On some levels, the themes of my life and of Jonathan Caouette’s growing up in the underground of Houston were similar in a peripheral kind of way. I sought him out at a screening at the MFA and, body and stupidly, gave him a copy of the script. Tracer is rough and episodic. If he read it, I hope he at least got a laugh and a shock out if it. I had to learn the craft as I went, so I kept a writing journal and wrote lots of weird tone poems and thoughts of the Montrose neighborhood I lived in. Blindly, I continued with more screenplays that were over the top and harsh but forced me to consider how dialogue and inner monologue move stories forward better than description alone. My first novella, Where the Road Roams, came out as a new adventure, each chapter flowed from observation. Experiments began with a cut-up chapter. I literally printing out the original chapter, a section of the past for the characters, and a some of the fragments from my journal and rearranged them into what is on the page. That moment, seeing it all laid out on my apartment floor was magic.
The scripts continued, some short films were made, and many others were not. One was a great collaboration I had with Lee Webster on Timber Tantrum, a women oil wrestling and killer tree opus. I began transcribing one format to another, screenplay to short story. The creative distraction helped me through the dark time of my mom slowly passing away from cancer. I left the underground films as I met Bo, got married, and travelled around the country. I explored the world of vanity press in my confused beginnings and encouraged by Bo submitted Wild Boys, the first part as a novella, and I had a small publisher for a while until the rights reverted back to me in 2016. Long and short screenplays grew into different projects. Anarchy is has quite a few of those original screenplays as short stories, along with my first novella and journal fragments mixed all together. Escape from Dolphin Street the novel is a third version of a film that never was. The Trouble with Furries has elements of two early scripts called Trade and Tweaker about the nineties club scene in it. And the first part of Wild Boys was a screenplay then novella which joined two more western sequels, Jake’s Tale and Trail’s End to become A Peculiar Western Novel. The foundation I have built all has a connection to the past. I spent the last month cleaning up a few things and have republished my four current books with modified covers and interiors. Although there are a few rough patches, I am proud of my punk fiction.
Future projects: I did a ton of research and wrote a manuscript for Lane Bowden 1973 that involves the era with fictional protagonists and the true crimes of a serial killer. This project started as a screenplay idea and became a full on novel with elements of growing up gay in a blue collar neighborhood in a time when it wasn’t cool. I also dealt with cancer in that novel. The natural progression has come full circle as I write about my teenage punk years like I tried and failed to do, in Tracer, at the beginning. I have spent the last three years writing my Rebel’s Edge series. It has been the hardest and most rewarding thing I have written so far. I have finished the first two novels, Suburbia and Punks and am on the final section of Over the Edge. As soon as I am done with this novel, it will be the end of an era of my writing. A new wave is coming and I am excited to see where it takes me creatively.