It sure is Spring. That brilliant green grass, the burgeoning blossoms, explosions of color, those maddeningly delicious fragrances wafting in the breeze…
Beautiful. Uplifting. Rejuvenating.
Here’s a thought. As soon as I turn in my book, I’m going to write something happy. A love story. A whimsical comedy. Something light. Something lovely.
I can already hear the stereophonic bicoastal hysterics of my agents and publishers…
No, It’s not a real thought. Well, all right, it was a real thought, but a very fleeting thought.
It’s a question of "brand". I know my brand. I don’t even have my second novel out yet and I don‘t just know my brand – I work my brand. I work the hell out of my brand. I write spooky, sexy, dark and eerie. There might be some uplift going on there as well, but never at the expense of thrills.
And even though I’m having this momentary longing to do something not QUITE so dark next time (that or run away to a tropical island and never write again…) dark is not just my brand, it’s who I am. It’s a brand in a much more metaphysical sense – it’s a brand on my character, on my soul.
I have a writer friend who is always saying that I should write my OWN story – like autobiographically. I keep telling her that what I write IS my own story. This is how I see things.
Here’s a perfect example. I’m on deadline and have been housebound for what seems like months, but my next characters have already come to me. Physically. Like, on the sidewalk outside the window where I work. I see these four kids every day now, two or three times a day, walking by, always together, a strange collection. A very short, slim, animated black girl. A very large redhaired white girl with doughy skin and flat eyes. A small, wiry black boy with a loud laugh. A talk, dark-haired, spacy white boy.
They are not your normal teenagers. They are a pack. They are always together. They even move together – walking in a clump, closer than ordinary people stand to each other It is very strange to see four people so near to each other and so synchronized. They don’t seem dangerous as in violent, but dangerous nonetheless. Though they chatter and caper like teenagers, there is a heaviness about them. They stick together for protection, and it’s not hard to imagine what they need protection from, or why they’re on the street.
I have become obsessed with them. I think they are homeless and now that it’s getting warm they have come out from some shelter and are sleeping under the railway bridge down the street. But they’re clean, and they’re not obviously stoned. What they are is feral.
They have noticed me, too, behind my window – at least one of them has – the redhaired girl. She was as startled to see me in the local grocery store as I was to see her, because, you see, I was thinking about them at the very moment that they appeared around the end of the aisle. They were shoplifting, I’m sure, tucking pizzas and cokes into their oversized jackets. It was overwhelmingly odd to see them in the store. It was even odder to come home from the store and see them walking on the sidewalk past my window the second I walked into the house. I left the store before them and I have a car. They could not possibly have beaten me home.
Definitely not the stuff of romantic comedy.
Zombies, revenants, creatures of the night…. perhaps. We’ll see. It’s inevitable.
You see, I AM writing my own story.