As I finish the last touches on the final draft of Dead Talker, and get it ready to prep for a final manuscript tomorrow to be sent out, I have to wonder.
How far did this go in exorcising a few demons?
Was it an exercise in wallowing, or did it help me face the recurring depressive episodes which have come to define my life, at least in part? Did it help to expose some of the thoughts of inferiority and low self-esteem I’ve suffered, or help me come to grips with the fear of failure?
Did it help me get honest with myself about some of my behaviour, past and present, of which I am ashamed?
Does it allow for a future dialogue, internally or externally, about where to go from here, and how to move on past said shame and fear? Does it allow me to rebuild my self-esteem, or at least, come to accept that there are things I need to improve upon, things I haven’t done well in the past?
How to exorcise the past’s mistakes? These days, it seems like mistakes twenty years past can come back and haunt you twenty years hence. Is the only way just to take responsibility and punishment and move on? Is it possible to move on? Should we punish ourselves for poor behaviour in our youth, when our current selves have grown so far past it, and recognize our mistakes, and the pain it may have caused?
I treated my parents terribly, among others. I was self-involved and vain. I told stories that were untrue about myself to make me seem cooler than I was. I drove drunk. I lied. I was awkward with women at best, and definitely fell into some of the nice guy traps in assuming any woman was mine to have, because I was kind. At least, I never crossed the line into abuse. Only stupidity.
These are all things I’ve done. The problem is, how to move on. One can’t live in the past. Part of growth has to be letting the past be the past. Learn and move on. Otherwise, we’d all be stuck in neutral forever, every past mistake dragging us down in an ever-building tidal wave of fuck-ups and poor behaviour.
So, with Dead Talker, the goal is to leave the self-doubt and self-hate behind, to focus on being better, inwardly and outwardly, to myself and others, with the pain on the page instead of inside.
Not everything the protagonist (antagonist? victim?) goes through is confluent with my own thoughts. I’ve never experienced an extended period of hostile intent or control in a relationship. Those mostly stem from people I know who’ve gone down that path. I love my wife a great deal. Without her, I shudder to think where I might be these days.
One thing’s for sure, it wouldn’t be writing books and having things published (well, thing, at this point).
And for that, I am truly grateful.