Fiction, Musings, Writing

Within dwells darkness

Sometimes, I wish I could write light and fluffy stories. You know, the kind I could show my 84 year-old mother without worrying about her health. Writing that could be described as “heart-warming, uplifting, inspirational” simply eludes me. My first novel started life as traditional romance … then, morphed into supernatural horror.

My 11th grade English teacher scheduled a conference with me because he was concerned about my well-being. He had read through the work kept in my department file (who knew?) and detected a theme—the subject of nearly every story and poem was death. (My rewrite of “The Cask of Amontillado” from Fortunato’s point of view was delicious and earned me an A+.) The teacher inquired about my life, seeking to find the cause of such preoccupation with the dark side. Respectfully, and with my usual fear and trembling displayed toward authority figures, I laughed it off. “It’s just easier to write about that stuff,” I told him.

I grew up poor, but certainly not Angela’s Ashes poor. I was loved. I was safe. I was happy. I’ve had my fair share of stresses throughout my life, maybe a little more than some, but I think I’m also a little happier than most. You know, like those California cows?

And I appreciate the sunny side—really, I do—but for some reason, I just can’t put it in writing.

Dream, Fiction, Musings, My Books, Novel, Writing

In the Depths of Despair

The long, dark days of winter are hard on my mood, and the weather has been mostly gloom here. To add to that, I’ve been spending my time with a broken-hearted man, who doesn’t know yet that he will escape his present darkness.

This man is my protagonist Jalal. While I’m writing his scenes, I naturally reflect on the darkest times in my life when neither scripture nor platitude could reach me, when I despaired, and that which was, and is, and evermore shall be, could reach me only through my dreams. I had two years of the most detailed, archetypal dreams of my life. Recognizing their importance, I kept a diary, waking in the morning able to write in detail two or three lengthy dreams. To this day, I can look through that journal and the dreams replay in my mind. I learned a lot about myself during that time. Light dispels darkness.

Maybe I will give Jalal some dreams of his own to get him through.