Something in-between

Education is the movement from darkness to light Allan Bloom

I guess when you look at it metaphorically, yes, education is the movement from darkness to light. And for some strange reason, I’m thinking of Snoke from The Last Jedi before he got sliced in two by Kylo Ren.

But I digress. Sort of.

But I would like to say that when one moves from darkness to light, one could and can go back to explore the darkness. I say this as a storyteller. And I say this in terms of understanding fundamentally who you are as a person and embracing the light and the dark that exists within yourself.

Let’s be honest, light and dark and everything in-between live within all of us. And I believe education is achieved when one figures out a way move effortlessly and without conflict between light and dark and everything in-between. That is what makes us complex beings. We are not just light. We are not just dark. We are both and something in-between.

I believe this is a theme I will come to explore more often in my storytelling. I think I’m making my first real attempt at complexity in the novel I’m currently working on. The idea of this story, the story of my characters, my boys, excites me because it’s a huge step towards becoming the kind of storyteller that is buried deep in the marrow of my bones.

I knew from the moment my boys charged into my psyche — hellbent on leaving a path of destruction and hellbent on monopolizing my attention — they would push me to be stubbornly ambitious and give me the desire to challenge myself when it came to telling their story.

My boys are indelible. The taste of light and dark and everything in-between. My desire is to be true to my characters, to be faithful to their stories.

That is my ambition. That is my mission.

A path to follow

I mean, artistic processes are all about making choices all the time, and the very act of making a choice is the distilling down and the getting to the core of what it is that you care about and what you want to say, really — Mike Leigh

The past couple of weeks has been a little harried. Harried in the sense that life has gotten in the way of writing. Didn’t write for eight days straight. What the fuck. Got back to writing last Thursday. I told myself I was setting aside that day to play with my boys, then I would get back to life.

Well, that was a big fat lie.

Played with my boys until yesterday night. I wouldn’t call it a lost weekend but it’s the closest thing to a lost weekend. I have one planned for April. Part of that weekend will be spent with my boys but what I will be doing during the rest of the time, will affect the three of us in the long run.

The four days of writing was a much-needed creative release. It also moved me a little closer to the goal of completing the first draft near the end of May, beginning of June. I strongly believe I can make that self-imposed deadline… as long as life doesn’t get in the way… which is what life is doing right now.

For a number of years, I called this time of year the busy season. After this busy season, changes will be afoot so that next year, I won’t have to suffer through long stretches away from writing. Some folks will be disappointed in the changes but I have to protect and nurture what is important to me.

I’m approaching a crossroads. I’ve seen it coming for awhile. And I know which path I have to travel. There is work to do. And I can’t wait for it to begin.

Loyalty

I don’t have stylistic loyalty. That’s why people perceive me changing all the time. But there is real continuity in my subject matter. As an artist of artifice, I do believe I have more integrity that only one of my contemporaries — David Bowie

Because I consider myself an emerging writer (let’s be honest, I’ve only written one book and there is the second one I’m trying to complete), it’s too early to say whether or not I have a preferred genre I like to work in.

One thing is certain — I’ll always write fiction. Non-fiction doesn’t hold much interest for me. Feels too much like work. My apologies to all the non-fiction writers out there. And I still haven’t figured out the short story format. This may not be the best way to say it, but I just might be thinking too big for short story or too something to that effect.

Another thing that is certain is I don’t think I can stay in one genre. I’m one of those who are pretty much all over the place. Hopefully, in a good way. I have no loyalty or preference to one genre. For example, the first book is fiction with elements of erotica in it. Would I categorize the book as erotica? That would depend on how the literary world and the business side of the literary world define that word. Regardless of what they say, I’ll always argue the book is fiction, first and foremost.

So, with book/novel #2, I’m apparently writing in the crime genre. I didn’t make that determination. It was my writing mentor who made that determination when he started reading portions of the work-in-progress.

It was in the same conversation that I was informed of the concept of conventions, as it pertains to genres. All genres have their own set of conventions or characteristics. Crime has one set of conventions, romance has its own, same with thrillers, and so on and so on.

Honestly, I couldn’t give a shit about genres and their conventions. I suppose that stance might get me into a little bit of trouble. Two words: bite me. I’m more concerned about telling a good, if not great, story. My loyalty is to the art of storytelling. What genre the story is the last thing on my mind. It feels a little boxed in, it can feel a little claustrophobic. Some folks like working within a set of parameters. Some parameters will give you lots of room to move around it. Others, not so much.

Unfortunately, I have to be a little respectful of the conventions. So, I’ve been following some of the conventions. Just some. I hate cookie cutter shit. Any opportunity to be a bit subversive happens on its own. I don’t have to work that hard at it. It’s a natural reaction to be repelled by cookie cutter crap.

If I’m keeping a tally, the first book was/is fiction with hot sex (hot is subjective, I’m aware of that) and the second book is crime fiction with some not-so-comfortable subject matter, then I’m guessing the third book will be fiction, too. Genre to be determined at a later date by someone else (probably my mentor) other than me. That’s how it goes.

Loyalty to storytelling. And only storytelling.