Once, if my memory serves me well…
When I was young, I actively sought out change. I looked to the night skies for a sign—a shooting star, an alignment, or an eclipse. I read a lot of books from the esoteric to the bizarre—religious tomes, occult treatises, and quantum theory—and I was, from time to time, uncomfortable in my skin. I wanted to be complete. I always felt a part of my soul was missing and I was a very lost, dark teenager. The feelings created a lot of circles of bad behavior in my youth, but I always strove to change.
One of the turns I took in exploring books was the poet, Arthur Rimbaud. I had read a biography about Jim Morrison, No One Gets Out of Here Alive, when I was nineteen and discovered the suggested influence on him by Rimbaud’s poetry. I searched out a book, from an actual bookstore, and found a copy of A Season in Hell and The Drunken Boat. The tone was of angry, youthful rebellion. The prose was cutting like my inner angst at the time and I related in a more immediate way when I discovered he was gay like me.
Along the way, I have made lots connections with books and have seen enough of the world to write stories. Every story has moments of truth like character traits picked up by observing strangers at dive bars or fights witnessed on the streets. Even a monster story has to be grounded. The hardest project, one that I finished last year, was Rebel’s Edge. The trilogy of manuscripts is completely based on true events from my teenage life in the eighties from rehab to running around wild as a punk. I strove to make it as real as I could through memory alone. Real enough to give it a disclaimer stating that Rebel’s Edge reflects the author’s recollection of events and dialogue and names and some locations and identifying characteristics have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. The story is true. The chaos was real.
Upon ending the seven year saga of writing something so personal, I find myself at a new crossroads with the past. I feel a freedom to let it go and have moved on to my cyberpunk project, Future-Thrill.
Find the Rimbaud book, it is really good. I used to have the New Directions version from 1961, re-released in the 1980s. Below is a passage.
Une Saison en Enfer
J'ai appelé les bourreaux pour que je ronge leur crosse de fusil en mourant. J'ai appelé les fléaux pour m'étouffer dans le sang, dans le sable. Le malheur était mon Dieu. Je me suis couchée dans la boue. Je me suis séché dans l'air du crime. J'ai joué des tours astucieux à la folie.
I called the executioners that I might gnaw their rifle-butts while dying. I called to the plagues to smother me in blood, in sand. Misfortune was my God. I laid myself down in the mud. I dried myself in the air of crime. I played sly tricks on madness.
Arthur Rimbaud 1854-1891