— 2008 —
This is an awesome story! Have you ever known beyond your smallest doubt that you were exactly where you were meant to be, or doing the thing you were supposed to be doing? That is the story I am going to tell you now.
I wrote a book. It is a decent book but it is a great story. The writing, ehh not so much. I have a way with words, but I have not reached the peak I want to yet. But the story, man, the story is solid. Shade, Shadow, Artist, they all felt good about the book going into the writing workshop I went to this summer. They felt as though it was a good idea and that it might be well received. But they didn’t have the confidence to stand up and take credit for it. They were crippled by the thought of failure.
We paid to go to this thing. Of course, but the thing we were really paying for was a professional opinion on our work. We were paying someone to tell us if we had what it takes. So before the workshop we sent the beginning of the book to the professionals giving the workshop. Then we had meetings with them throughout the week to hear what they had to say.
My first meeting was with The Genius. She was holding her meetings in her hotel room. I remember the walk to the door. It had a tone of finality to it. A feeling of something coming to an end. This was the meeting where our hopes would be dashed. lol. Shadow has always been our source of confidence, and on the way to her room, he ducked into a bathroom and vomited. He came out of the stall crying. He was trembling. He walked to the mirror and he said, “Please,” looking into his own eyes. “Don’t make me do this.”
Enter me. I spat a few times because of the horrible bile that laced his mouth. I don’t know what he had been eating. If it was hot assholes I wouldn’t be surprised. I had five minutes before I was supposed to be there. So I strolled down to the hotel gift shop and got myself a candy bar and a soda. I crushed the candy bar. Man, I was hungry. I drained half the soda, then forced myself to burp all the way up to the room. I didn’t want to let out an enormous belch as soon as she opened the door. I was a bit late, but she didn’t notice because she was running late, too.
When she opened the door, she smiled and I almost laughed. She seemed so nice, and it was a real genuine kind of nice. She had a great disarming smile. That was when I knew Shadow was a pansy. lol. Just kidding. She ushered me in and slammed the door behind me. Actually made me jump a bit. I looked at her, “Are you pissed at me?” She doubled over laughing. “No,” she said. “I’m a bit scared.”
I laughed. “You’re scared?” I laughed a lot, so did she.
“No, you see, there is a huge wasp in this room somewhere and I just know it is going to sting me.”
“Let’s kick its ass!” I said, rolling up my papers into some crude weapon. “We can talk while we hunt.” I looked where her eyes darted and there it was, and it was huge. I laughed. I ran over to it, slammed my papers down on it, and raised my roll up triumphant.
“My hero,” she said.
Then she sat and we got to work.
I pulled Artist forward a little so he could hear what she had to say. “I think that this book is amazing,” she said. I gotta tell you, I wanted to kiss her. Artist teared up and I pushed him away and laughed. “I think that when you’re done with it, it is going to be great. But you have a lot of work to do on it.” She looked at me and smiled, a little alarmed smile, and I realized I hadn’t stopped laughing yet. I bit my tongue and got control of myself.
“This is some of the richest fantasy I have read in years,” she said. “You have a knack for description, and your mind is wonderfully dark.” I think I laughed, it wouldn’t surprise me. Then she told me I used passive voice too much. I didn’t know what the fuck that meant, but I remembered it for when I was talking to someone who did. She said some of my verbs needed to be strengthened. Then she went back to how much she loved it. She loved my characters, she loved my concept. I drank it all in. I laughed a lot.
My second meeting went south quick. He didn’t like the concept because he found a loophole in it. Artist said he could fix that loophole with a paragraph. I told the guy that and he ignored me. Then this fuck went on to say the exact same thing for another half hour. I almost told him to fuck himself, but I got ahold of myself and let him go on and on. He said my writing was very consumer friendly. He said my characters were very strong. Then he went back to his old song and dance about my loophole. So, I took a gulp of my soda and pictured myself spitting it in his face. I laughed.
The next four meetings were beautiful. One guy said the first few pages of my book brought him to a place he will never forget. “Some of these images,” he said, “will stay with me forever.”
See the book begins in Hell, Artist’s and Jack’s Hell.
“This has some of the most disturbing images I have ever read,” The Optimist told me. She had been in the business for years upon years and as an editor she reads over two hundred books a year.
“I want this main character to protect me and keep me safe,” said another. She gave me her card, she wants me to call her when I have it ready. She wants to edit it.
So that is what happened to me this summer. That is how I came to be. I am a blend. A combination of Shadow and Jack. I should be gone now. Whenever we blend, the byproduct stays around for that fight or that occasion, then vanishes. But I say Fuck Em. And I laugh. They wrote the book and now they are afraid of it. They are afraid to mess it up. I’m not. And I am waiting to take a fucking cleaver to it when they are ready.