Close the Door
Writing the Rebel’s Edge series brought up memories of the past. A past I felt long disconnected to but forced myself to relive from 2013 - 2019. An autobiographical story, written decades later, can cause a rift in self—a duality in nature. I am no longer who I was as a wayward youth, yet to write the story I had to put myself in the mindset of a teenager with no thought of consequences—no future. The funny thing about memory is the way one remembrance leads to another. The jigsaw of the past becomes easy by focusing on a certain event, time, or friendship. I refreshed my mind by finding pictures of long gone places, horror film releases, issues of Fangoria, and concerts that marked the era. Most importantly, I talked to my friend, who experienced the craziness of the wild streets with me, and the memories flooded back. The first book, Suburbia, took the longest. After outlining, I figured out how to break the story up and once I had the focus of setting it between rehab and running away, the rest came chapter by chapter. The second book, Punks, flowed well in an already established universe and I was able to dive in to the roughest part of the story involving the underworld motels near Hobby Airport. The final book, Over the Edge, was hard in a different way. I had to find the focus of punk friendship by relegating a lot of other true-life events to the sidelines in order to figure out where to end the story for both characters. While writing these, I was on the road traveling to work events in a job that took me to festivals, concerts, bike rallies, and rodeos across the country. Dwelling on the past infects the mind in the flow of years of a project. I noticed a personality change—a regression in thought—in a need to talk about the past stories, an obsession of sorts that continued until the end.
Other stories I have written have been complete fiction. Although, as a writer I do take bits and pieces of real life and inject into the mix. Lane Bowden 1973 was a way to deal with some hazy childhood recollections and more poignantly the death of my mother through fiction along with research of the time and true crimes. All created works have something imagined based in things seen or experienced. It can be an influence of a film, an observance of strange people, the feeling of lost love, a past club scene, or a place once lived in. Writing also reflects the time it was written regardless of when the story is set. My early works reflect Montrose where I once lived from the novella Where the Road Roams to an assortment of screenplays, some which even became Andy Warhol styled lost films. The difference with writing memoir is everything is true. Names are changed, things happen faster, some side characters are morphed into one, and only some pivotal events are portrayed in observance of the narrative structure.
The pandemic lockdown has given me time to think and give thanks to the lessons of the past, the high and lows of nearly five decades. Time changes everything. Friends, ones who were there—good times and bad—when my mother died and other crises, or on the road and other exciting adventures, go different ways in life to never be seen again. Only a few remain. Letting go is hard, but writing is therapeutic. It is time to close the door to the past and step into a brave new world.