I tried to be a normal person. Really, I did. With formal training in mathematics and chemistry, I thought I could force myself to work some soul-sucking, lucrative job.
The epiphany came as a simple consequence of slovenliness. One of my math texts lay open on the floor, stark formulae displayed in rigorous black-and-white. Next to it, a full-color compilation of the Age of Apocalypse X:Men comics offered a portal to adventure. I realized I could not live my life trapped in that black-and-white world. I wanted all the dazzling color and magic offered by the other book, the one I actually wanted to read.
It was not the characters I envied. After all, superheroism is a challenging profession, and besides, I don't have the figure for a spandex bodysuit. In truth, my jealousy was directed toward the writers and artists who had the privilege to occupy the realm of the imagination. Why should they have the luxury of a life worth living while I dragged myself through each day, dreading the next?
It's been three or four years since that day. (I no longer have to count, and so I blissfully lose track.) Inspired initially by an episode of Paranormal State, I have completed and published my first book, “Lost Souls and Source Code,” a ghost story with elements of speculative fiction. My success as a writer has yet to be determined, but at least my life is now one of possibility and hope.
Many talented people influenced my work on “Lost Souls and Source Code”.
From Frank J. Tipler, I shamelessly borrowed the idea of soul-as-source code, although I believe I had more fun with it than he ever did.
“Paranormal State” taught me that there are many otherwise “normal” people in the world who have experiences they cannot explain. Seeing the heartfelt stories told on the show helped inspire the characters of James Conner, Raven Snodgrass, and Marie Montaine.
Some role models for my writing include Dean Koontz, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Dave Duncan, and Tim Zahn.
Finally, I owe a lot to Holly Lisle. Some words from one of her essays have followed me, haunted me, and in the final analysis, have given me the conviction I needed to demand a life worth living. Here they are:
“...if you choose not to follow your dream because you're afraid, you'll pay a price for that, too---you'll pay with the progressive deadening of your soul, as time and your own disillusionment with yourself eat away at who you are.”