So, I did mention that drunk-bloggin’ may rear its head from time to time. I’m not writing a post right now (but, yes, since you ask – I am, in fact, well on my way towards drunk). Keep in mind, this post is out of order….it was supposed to follow a few character-specific posts. Oh well. The character posts will come next week….something to look forward to!
The post below was written a couple of weeks ago in the taproom of my favorite brewery (as a note, about two-thirds of DockRat has been written in that same taproom):
So…I’m not a drug addict. Nor am I a minor-league criminal or a homeless teenager. That being said, there is far more of me in DockRat than in anything I’ve written before. Ever. This book means something to me….means far too much, in way too many ways to list.
If you accept the fact that this book is first and foremost about my two street kids–Connor and Oz–then you’re standing on the same ground as me.
To that I want to add one very key thought: I know suicide.
I’ve attended the funerals of three very good friends who killed themselves. I’ve punched that particular ticket far too many times…
I have–in all honesty–tried myself. More than once, then things started to change.
Believe me, I know the shit life has to give.
With that in mind, I want to say that I like Connor…I like him as a character, I like him as a “voice”, and I like him as a person…
…but I love Oz. Oz is the reason for this book. Oz is not the main character. Hell, a lot of Oz happens ‘off-screen’, but Oz is far and away my favorite character that I’ve ever come up with. He means more to me than all the rest put together.
Most of the major characters I’ve created have bits & pieces of me in them, but Oz is different–Oz is made from pieces of those I wish were still here. To be honest, I cry even as I write that…because I know who and what I’m talking about. And no, you don’t get those parts. Those are mine.
No one should ever suffer what he did, no one should have to live the life he did, and no one should ever have to die for who they love….and, in the end, that is exactly what Oz dies for. His death may have been meaningless in dockside’s world, but it is NOT meaningless in this world. Not to me.
Mattered to me as a writer, and hopefully to you as a reader.
Now, to the reason for this post….
This book is characterized by music and memory. From time to time, when the memories and thoughts and plans all come together in a common harmony, I start breaking down.
Inevitably, there’s booze involved.
I’m a very music-oriented person–I feed off the mood and message of what I listen to, and my writing starts to reflect that, then my thoughts. Then I listen to more music and as the cycle repeats it becomes more intense. The drunker I get, the worse everything becomes.
Most of DockRat has been written in the taproom of a brewery…the owners are good friends of mine and the staff are folks I know well, so no one questions my presence in the corner typing away. But from time to time, that locale comes back to haunt me.
With booze in my system, and with my love of music, the mood of what I am writing can create an echo chamber. Occasionally that reaches a death spiral: I’m writing something sad (yes…Oz), and listening to a song that helped inspire things, and drinking…then I start thinking about the personal shit that lies at the heart of this…then the music gains more power…then my writing feeds off the memories and the mood…then I need more music…then I need more booze…then it starts again, but worse.
As I said, a death spiral.
I’ve spent nights listening to music that devastates me…but I’m not always sure if it’s the music, or the thoughts/knowledge of Connor & Oz, or the personal memories. No matter the source, it makes me drink more…then I listen to more music, then I drink more, then I write more…then it goes back to the beginning; lather, rinse, repeat…
This book might very well kill me.
Then I remember something I learned from the first of those three funerals; a motto, if you will, from my friend Mike:
So I go back to writing…I always go back to writing. It’s the only way to keep the demons at bay.
Shit…now I need a drink.