Who is on the plum tree?
As a child I was always excited to have books read to me or to read books. On my first day in the First Grade, I spent most of my time going through the spelling/grammar book, looking up the pronunciations of words and what they meant. It was also in the First Grade that I wrote my first short story. Mine was the most “out there” piece, being a battle scene where aliens were invading the Earth. I had been so wracked with stage fright, that I kept putting off reading my story until finally, I was the last one left in the class. When my teacher found out what my story was about, she went and turned out the lights in order to build a better atmosphere for the tale. No pressure, no pressure…
Like most kids I came up with some pretty wild ideas throughout grade school. I didn’t actually have imaginary friends, not as distinct personas. Instead, I usually found myself in the midst of some military operation or captaining a starship (only losers were stuck with spaceships).
In 1977, the Great Movie came out. I am, of course, speaking of Star Wars. My father took me to the nearby town that had a theatre to watch it. During the entire ride back home I lay in the back, my mind blown away as I gazed up at the stars and pretty much thought, “Wow….”
Throughout the early 1990’s I worked on a number of short stories which were all rejected. The ever growing pile of letters, many of them having been haphazardly photocopied from a master document, continued to pile up, and my thrill for the work was fast dying. In the mid-1990’s my writer’s block began to form and finally settled into place for the beginning of a decade long exile from writing.
In 1999 I was at work for a government contractor, blaring my CD player horribly loud and not needing to pay much attention to what was going on with the actual work itself as I had settled into a very good routine that allowed my brain to work on autopilot while the higher functions (i.e., my imagination) were busy doodling. That was when Blackstone and Hiroe introduced themselves to me. It was not one and then the other. The two of them were in the scene together and there was obvious conflict between them. Well, that’s interesting, I thought. In the months that followed I fleshed things out a bit more and played with scenes.
The inspiration for Blackstone was, no doubt, Kentaro Miura’s Berserk manga series whose animated version I had just recently stumbled across. There are many physical and some psychological characteristics shared by Gats/Guts of the Berserk series and the main character of my first novel, Blackstone. From there things greatly diverge as I have been busy crafting my own world and the things that occur there.
It wasn’t until 2011 that I finally self-published the novel after having written most of its sequel. I struggled in vain to find an agent to represent me. Sadly, I am still stuck in worthless data entry work and am thinking of taking up a trade apprenticeship now that I am 40 years old with a worthless degree. Writing has proven to be a great and overriding comfort for me.
Some of classmates from high school have their own children in college now, while I remain alone and childless, something that I am extremely bitter at the world about. All of the dreams that I had for my real life have turned to ash and blown in the wind. My refuge these days is in the fantastical world. To that extent I now find that my head is flooded beyond capacity with ideas and story seeds. I would like nothing better than devote myself to writing, but I cannot afford to. I will need to start looking for an agent again soon in the hopes that I can wrangle some money and a long-standing contract from a publisher.
As for the reason I write, I think that it is a natural therapeutic outlet for me. Since middle school I have been plagued with introversion. It has gotten to be horribly difficult for me to engage in social situations. When it comes to work situations or classroom, I have little or no problems. Socially, though, I am a self-imposed exile. This is no doubt due to a very long string of rejections I have dealt with during my lifetime. As an adolescent growing up in a very small village, if you are the one with the hyper imagination and a lack of interest in football, you’re going to be singled out. If you find astronomy and astrophysics more interesting than basketball depth charts or car mechanics, you quickly find yourself marginalized. Those formative adolescent years have left more scars and fissures on my psyche than most anything else I can think of.
Much of my writing has an adolescent protagonist. I would guess that this is my way of trying to live the younger life that I so desperately wanted and had denied me. One often hears the saying, “Living vicariously through their children.” I would have to say that I am doing that with my characters, having brave youths and resilient heroes. Love scenes and romances, every growing quests for greater understanding and the unraveling of mysteries, these are the things that I write.
I am, by own standard, a middling writer, but I am looking to do the best that I can and to hear the occasional faint praise or thanks from a reader. Those will do for now in place of the unconditional love from another that I have always dreamed of and never attained in my life.
Deep within my psyche lurk those who have grown bitter from what the world has dealt them, particularly in respects to love and friendship. Some of those dark beasts who wear human skin are waiting anxiously to be set free. One of them, more bitter and inconsolable than the rest is slowly making his way to the surface and will someday splash himself across the pages of my writing. It will be interesting to see how his story unfolds and how others react to it.
For now, I will keep plugging away at my writing because it is the only thing I look forward to.