Those fortunate (or unfortunate depending on your philosophy or mood) people to be born under the sign of Gemini are known for their passionate relationships. Passionate is often a euphemism for, as Norman Mailer once put it, that old standby of the headshrinkers, the love/hate relationship. I’ve long since tempered this type of relationship romantically, though it was no small challenge. The passionate affair I’ve had with the English language, or more specifically, the creation of sentences to form an idea, long or short, has and still remains such a relationship. There are so many quotients, so many alternating emotions and ideals and dare I say, even identities involved in this life-long affair that at times I cease to understand even who I am. With that, how can I ever deem to know who I am as a writer? It’s only recently that I’ve come to realize the answer is simple–I can’t.
Fair enough, I suppose. So this will explain to you, if you’re still reading by this point, why in my earliest years I wrote hundreds of thousands of words in what is known these days as genre fiction, more specifically, the horror/suspense/thriller genre. I started the adult portion of my love affair with words in this genre for several reasons, none which I’ll state here. It seemed only natural that I would rise to my adulthood with plans to stake my claim in the macabre. This understanding of personal and writer identity stayed its course until my early forties when, after a lengthy break from wordsmithing I returned to find that I had changed since being away. What I thought I once wanted had become something much different, much more intricate, much more difficult to perform. The challenge of telling my stories, of answering these great unanswerable questions that I had squeezing my mind with relentless force, needed a more finite, a more human stage on which the characters could perform. As I thought differently, I read differently, and as expected, I wrote differently. I realized the boogeymen of my nights was no different than the haunting of my days. Indeed, looking back over my vast body of work, I see that even when I thought I was writing a simple, chilling story, I was reaching for larger answers–the bigger picture. The concept is littered everywhere. One has but to look to see it.
While my work may appear eclectic (if you are being kind) the heart of the matter has not changed much. Perhaps, in the earlier days, when a soul would cry out for compassion or redemption that soul might go unanswered, so fearful was I over the arbitrary nature of life and death. Where once my approach was exorbitant, I now choose subtlety. Where violence stood brightly in splashes of blood, reason now strolls with reserve and love. Where once I simply cried out, “Why?” I now seek more deeply to better understand the very question itself. There aren’t always answers, but there is always the journey. Always, the opportunity. Always the dream of redemption.
No. The questions haven’t really changed. They are as they were. The only difference is: now I know what they are.