Sifting through past files on my laptop for inspiration to write this blog, I have a realization. Time is an ocean. Its waves subtly erode the shoreline of my self with each ebb and flow. I see time’s tell-tale effects in older pictures and the crazy form of my first writing forays. Doubt rears its ugly head. Am I a better writer or a safer one? Fragments of stories compete with short screenplays that may never see the light of day in old folders. Change is scary when I contemplate it. Despite that, I do see a progression in my writing style. One aspect is constant and that is the imaginative spark of creation. In my search through past tales, I feel the process of being in the moment and how it affects a story. That feeling of living through the characters like a movie is what makes it all worthwhile. Genre is important, but the characters do not know that because they are living in a world of their own until the situation is horrific, dramatic, or thrilling. In essence, they are alive.
I found a short film screenplay titled: The Last Will and Testament of Derrick Mueller. The thirteen pages of story are full of rage and despair as the protagonist descends into the hierarchy of hell to be judged. Shades of Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart and Dante Alighieri’s Inferno coat the tale. I wrote it in 2012 as a last short screenplay, at the time, to mark the end of my lost film period as I moved away from Texas. Would I write a story like that today? I don’t know, maybe. Taboos have a frenetic energy, especially in horror.
No matter how crazy some scenes can be, they have to be grounded. I have learned this from my first screenplay, Tracer, which turned out to be more or less a collection of vignettes that skipped around from one action to the next of my punk youth. Tracer had interesting parts, but something was missing in the telling. Almost ten years later, in 2013 I set out write the true story as a set of novels and Rebel’s Edge began to take shape as a trilogy formed by Suburbia, Punks, and Over the Edge. I started writing the first book in 2015 and I finished the final book at the beginning of this year, 2019. The story has a voice. The characters lead, not knowing their genre they simply exist as themselves.
Putting the files and pictures back in the cloud, I have a little more insight into my works. The creative spark is alive and well—only its surroundings have changed with time. I once was embarrassed by my earliest works and felt the world judging me in my head. I now know that each one was a stepping stone to improve and to never give up to doubt.
Writing is a journey.