19 May 2018
People think it’s easy being a writer. Perhaps it is to a certain extent, and technology makes it easier all of the time. Dictionary.com and Thesarus.com along with programs like spellcheck in Word documents and Grammarly have made it virtually impossible to write poorly. A technical writer need only scroll out the facts, place a deft coma here and a period there and voila! Right? And what of the fiction writer? Ever since Joseph Campbell cracked the secret of the hero’s journey, any number of storytellers need only follow that pattern, and there’s pretty much instant success <BAM!> right there. Superhero stories follow that yellow brick road. And likable protagonists such as in Ready Player One, Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code, Outlander, The Alchemaster’s Apprentice, Hunger Games, our dear Harry Bosch . . . these stories/heroes follow the blueprint so closely that while no one can deny the creativity of the authors, there is no doubt that the format has a proven road to success.
And what about those authors who break away from that format? Are there successes there? There are, but they are not always as obvious because they do not follow the patterns we typically search for, and perhaps we (as humans) are uncomfortable with that. We’re not left with that feel good, high, feeling. Perhaps we are uncomfortable with not being the hero in the end. Look at some tales by Clive Barker–where the lead character is not on a hero’s journey. Sometimes the would-be protagonist simply ends up in a shivering heap of catastrophic, miserable pain and black-hole despair with no single hope of redemption. Yep. Gotta love me some Clive on a dreary, rainy day.
I write all of this just a few weeks after I’ve had to make the difficult decision to keep working a full-time Muggle job in Falls Church in order to pay a hefty 2017 tax bill. It will (truly) be more like indentured servitude for the next 2 years, but the upside is that my kids will be able to go to college for free for the next 4 years. Still, depression threatens to grab me by the neck and drown me in the murky depths of unrealized dreams and unraveled lines of unwritten stories I had planned to pen. Dreaming, writing, creating is my life–and instead of having all day to do it, I’ll have to do it in quick strokes before midnight, in sharp breaths of air before and after doing chores or showering, and on weekends when I’d rather be vegging out watching a brain-candy show (Westworld, Bates Motel, Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, etc.).
On that cheery note, I shall take a break, and continue to sift through the stories of the Terror Politico anthology for Scary Dairy Press– to arrange them in a composition for readers in the future. That, and I plan to work on a few short story projects for Querious Queriosities and Bio-Nightmares. I will play hooky tomorrow though because Deadpool 2 is in the theater and my dear husband (patient man that he is) is contributing to my off-time delinquency and taking me to the big screen. I do so love a bloody hero maniac with a smart mouth and a go-to-hell attitude when I feel a trifle down. TTFFN!