Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday March 15th, 2010 - revelation

Maybe the most important part of writing is knowing when it sucks. My book has basically become an embellished slick worded report on "what I did on summer vacation." It was, frankly, starting to bore me. I needed to retool. Breath some life back into it.

The book was being written for me not for you and that's all wrong. It's selfish. I thought about what I had to offer the literary world. What was unique about me? In turn, what could I bring to a story. The backdrop of visiting my father in Positano, Italy still seemed promising. I just needed to tell a story and not tell "the" story. I thought about my age at the time. I was 14 going on 15 when I lived with my dad. Why or even how could I write it for adults? I shouldn't. It should be a story for 14 year olds. I took a look at stories like Harry Potter and examined the style by which she twists the events and emotions to tell her story. Today I watched "Where the Wild Things Are." I loved the way the story was told that made you understand that his dad died and he felt alone without saying his father died.

I thought about what was important at the time. I was fiercely protective of my dad and I overheard my step-dad talk shit about my dad or as I referred to him "my real dad." I thoroughly enjoyed the time that my dad and I had when it was just him and me. About half way through my stay, his girlfriend, whom I also loved and thought of as an older sister, came to visit us before she headed out to see her family in what was at that time called Yugoslavia. At first it was nice; then things changed. They argued; my dad drank. Quite quickly this trip became a bummer. Then there was the night they fought and screamed and I actually felt like I was supposed to pick sides. She left like a passing tornado. My dad knew they would eventually get back together, but I didn't. It was like watching the divorce all over again. It triggered something in me and it triggered a downward spiral for my dad. He pretty much drank all day and went to another world which left me alone. I would leave, by myself in a foreign country, and not return until the evening. He really didn't know how to be a father at that point. He was still my vacation buddy. I don't even think he ever worried about me wondering around southern Italy by myself. He wasn't being neglectful; he just thought of me as an adult.

And then I thought, what if I had had a friend. Like an Italian buddy. How much fun could we have had? What adventures could we have had? What kind of mischief could we cause? As my dad slid into his world, I slid into mine. What if the world I slid into really wasn't a world at all, but a state of mind? What if I had, in a fragile state, let my friend guide me through real danger; real confusion. What if the friend wasn't real? Who was there? Had the bipolar episode turned into psychotic episode?

So the story turns into a story about adult relationships and their affects on a young man. A young man with mental illness. That's what I bring. Mental illness. That opens up the story. Of course, you wouldn't know about the friend until the last page. Well, I'm curious. Maybe you will be too.

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