Saturday, April 4, 2009

Seeds of the Story in the Soil of Life

I read a great article on one of my favorite blogs, The Killzone. John Miller was talking about how childhood upbringing and experiences form the stories we create as writers. He talked about a lot of rather morbid, and some dangerous or scary, experiences he had growing up in Mississippi in the sixties. When I read John's account my first reaction was to think, 'Man, I'm glad I didn't grow up in the south. Seems like a harsh place.'

I grew up between Alaska & Ohio in the 70's & 80's.

Then I got to thinking, especially after considering the comments of some of the other authors who brought up their own experiences. I began to realize that the good old days weren't quite as good as I remembered.

The disciplines I endured as a kid, would certainly have been grounds for abuse charges today. The creep down the street who touched my sister and nearly got himself killed by our step father. The neighbor's wife who walked like she was scared and never made eye contact with anyone. The day I went for a walk, a four hour fifteen mile walk, without telling my folks. After I got home my step father pulled up in his big Buick. He had his old .45 in his hand and tears in his eyes. I didn't understand. I was thirteen and had my dog with me, we always played alone in the woods. Mom said something about a nearby barn where detectives found bloody pentagrams and disembowelled animals...and some kids shoes.

It didn't click then, it didn't seem real.

The fist fights, sneaking around in the dark, imagining death and war. Taking out rage on a heavy bag I built in the basement out of encylopaedias, pillows and an army duffle bag.

I sat back and thought about my own writing. A lot of bad guys seem to die very hard deaths. And the good guys seldom walk away without scars...some don't walk away.

If it weren't for the outlet of art, I wonder how much blood would be on my own hands.
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1 comment:

  1. Great post. As a fellow writer I know exactly what you mean.