Monday, September 1, 2008

The Damned Novel, Part One.

Here's the retitled cover of the
first reader's scratch draft.

" The first time I saw Lulu and Willy I thought they might be twins, two skinny little white kids dressed all in raggedy black with so many rings in their ears that you could have hung them from a curtain rod. The only difference between them was that her hair grew down in a greasy fringe that hid her dark eyes while his hair was swept up in a bulb like an onion.

They were sitting on the sidewalk on the mall with an empty quart-sized yogurt container on a piece of cardboard in front of them. There was a dollar sign, an arrow, and the word ‘for’ on the cardboard, the arrow pointing to a red circle with an inhaler sitting in it..."

It started out as a horror novella about a garage band's haunted album. When I took it into the writer's group, I was told that the reality and the fantasy were both fine but they didn't work together.

I'd set it in Santa Cruz in the mid-Eighties and used an airbrushed version of my younger self as the point-of-view character. As I worked to fix the problems in the novella it turned out that I couldn't ignore my own story in favor of Lulu and Willy's. What started as a sort of punk rock M.R. James piece was twisting in my hands.

See, during the time the story is set in, my life was...

Well, it was nuts. In every sense of the word. I had everything happen to me from mental illness -- which, depending on your belief system either did or did not include a classic Whitley Strieber-style abduction experience -- to losing my home and winding up living with a bunch of junkies for a month. If you meet me, ask me about the Hell's Angel with cocaine psychosis who thought I was a deaf mute -- whenever he heard me speak he thought it was the Devil speaking through my mouth... That situation came close to getting ugly.

Let's just say that my life started demanding a place in the story.

To Be Continued...

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