Confessions of my Past, Present and Future
I was nineteen or twenty, living in a leased home in Northern Kentucky, and scraping by as a waiter at the local Steak ‘n’ Shake. Bothering people while they’re eating wasn’t the most lucrative of work for a young man such as I, but there were a few bucks in my pocket on any given day and I was comfortable with the situation.
The one luxury I allowed myself was reading. I wasn’t really a drinker and didn’t care for the other avenues for altering the mind, but books were always my version of fixing. From the moment I could sound out the words of your average Dick and Jane I was looking for the story behind everything. Writing was part of my passion, but that hadn’t become my addiction just yet.
The jones for a new set of paragraphs and chapters was wild in me that night as I walked through a supermarket with my roommate. I scrambled up and down aisles in search of that magic section that would allow my urge to be sated. Disappointment was in my future.
The shelves were full of Romance and Crime, scattered with magazines and old King novels that I’d already paged through dozens of times. The shakes were upon me, making the word-junky itch, as I scanned that rack of nothing. Finally, I settled on something with an oddly gruesome cover and title from an author I’d never heard of. As we left Kroger, I was holding a bag full of Blood Crazy by Simon Clark.
Hours later, sometime well past midnight, I was still tearing through the pages, absorbing the crazy vibe of that story. I remember looking at a clock near the end of the book, realizing that it was four in the morning, and looking back to the book. To hell with the time and the obligations of a guy who made two bucks an hour plus tips! I was close to finishing and couldn’t wait until sleep had come and gone. I needed that fix!
When I turned the last page, hoping that I’d missed a few more behind it, a feeling of amazement crept up on me. This book wasn’t like the usual behemoths I’d been digesting from Koontz, King, and sometimes Grisham. It was shorter, but so much stronger than anything I’d ever read.
I wouldn’t find another Simon Clark novel for years, due to that whole pre-internet world, but I would keep searching until I did. I’ve found and devoured the others he’s written long since, but none will ever top the first one. None.
I’ve left that young man behind in order to make more money and have a lot more fun, but the junky remains. My addiction to books has flourished with the new world of independent authors and the many gateways to their talents. I’ve expanded my preferences and even thrown my own name into the Kindle hat, but few have done it half as well as Christopher Moore.
I’m re-reading Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, and still laughing at the absurdity while nodding at Mr. Moore’s interpretation of the events that have shaped billions of lives at this point. His ability to work with subtle details while crashing through anything that might be considered offensive by the masses never ceases to amaze me.
Have I read everything he’s written? Of course! What addict wouldn’t try his dealer’s new stuff? I’ve poured through Fool and The Stupidest Angel with the same hunger displayed while reading A Dirty Job. There is a list out there of all the Moore books and I feel that everyone needs to start checking them off.
There are so many more that I can touch on. Blake Crouch is an incredible artist, pulling you into whatever scene he’s in the midst of describing. J.A. Konrath can give you the giggles or make you sick to your stomach within the bounds of a single paragraph. Kimberly Bettes knows how to give you that chill that every fan of unsettling horror actually searches for.
There are just so many great authors now, so many that I couldn’t begin to list all of them, and the older guys who actually had to sell a book to someone in order to have it read are still here with us. King and Koontz are still writing. Ketchum can still churn a good one out for the masses. Grisham wrote about Italians playing American football and made it insanely interesting!
How lucky are we to have all of this talent surrounding us, providing for us, writing for us?
Wait. I went on a rant, didn’t I? Let’s push on to the future so that I can stop.
2045. Such a year does exist, I’m sure, and I can only hope that I’ll get a chance to see it. You never know what tomorrow brings and there are a lot of tomorrows in a span of thirty-years.
Hopefully, and I mean that in the loosest way possible, I will find myself at a new kind of writing machine that doesn’t require my gnarled hands to type sixty to eighty words in a minute as I continue to siphon stories from the well hidden in my mind. We’ve all got one and I’m thinking that mine might not dry up by then as long as I don’t cover it with mental plywood.
Will there be humor in my writing? Sure. Without a few chuckles, a story can get downright disconcerting. In the worst of situations, a grin can be had along with a giggle or two if I’m still funny by the time I’m faking senility.
Will there be strength in the words? Wow, I hope so. My writing has matured in the years since I was slinging shakes for tips, but I still feel that I have a long way to go before finding my true voice. It’s in there somewhere, though finding it takes time and the people who read my books might just get to grow a little with me. I feel like that’s as true a statement as I can make.
Finally, what genre will I focus on? Nope! No main focus for this guy! I have many tales to tell, some frightening while others are uplifting. Finding a voice doesn’t mean that I need to use the same accent every time I spit out a few words. The page tells me what’s happening, not the other way around, so as long as the voices in my head stay fresh and confused, so will the work.
I feel like I could go on for pages, but blog length doesn’t allow for a novella and I’m sure you’re almost tired of reading my opinions. I promise that the books are better, though I likely rant there too.
Nev, thanks so much for allowing me to participate in this forum. I’ve enjoyed it more than the readers, I’m sure, because I got to write about the thing that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand. The words, man. I think I need another fix.
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Remember when you were a kid and told everyone that you wanted to be an astronaut-cowboy-billionaire? I didn't really do any of that, but the principle still remains the same. I'm a wrench-monkey by day, a writer/editor/proof-reader/drunkard by night, and a scuba diver on the weekends. I was born in Kentucky and somehow found myself on Clearwater Beach living in a houseboat with a group of eclectic neighbors that are sure to grace the pages of one of my books in the near future. What a terribly boring life I lead, right?
I've been writing since I pumped out my first short story at the glorious age of nine. For some reason the story was absolutely violent beyond belief and I'm thankful that I've been able to tone down the language since then. I was a vulgar little kid.
I'm continuing the dream of that nine-year-old by writing full-length novels that will take you to emotional places that you may or may not want to go, but the journey will leave you fulfilled and unsettled. Two feelings that I love to invoke.
So read my books! You'll love them, I promise!
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