January 9

Driving Out

Like every other wannabe writer out there, I harbour delusions of grandeur, of being the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. I know, however, that this is not likely to be. The writing I do is less generic than that, not that King or Rowling are super generic or corporate or anything. I mean, it’s not like they’re cranking out by-the-numbers detective novels these days. Well, okay, Ms. Rowling seems headed that direction, which is a little sad, but still, Harry Potter’s pretty great. Of course, I haven’t read her newer stuff, so who am I to say if it’s formulaic or not?

Let reservations be held until I can safely say I know what I’m talking about. I would have condemned Alexander Dumas as flowery bullshit until I actually read The Three Musketeers and Milady de Winter became one of my favourite villains. There’s a reason I finish most stories, even seemingly bad ones. More than once, an ending has made a book for me that was otherwise middling. Sometimes, one idea or sequence is enough to capture my interest and raise my opinion.

I prefer to take more risks, be a bit edgier and off the map. My current novelette uses heroin as a metaphor for harnessing the passion and purpose inside of one and transcending to another plane.

I don’t really write for kids. I can’t seem to keep sex or depression or addiction or anger or violence out of it. The idea, for me, was always to work my way up to something transcendent, working through a number of genres into bigger and crazier things, using side projects to get out the more “action-based” or smaller ideas.

Jeopardy is just the start of that. It’s dark and the hero isn’t particular likable. Like I said, it plays Reversi with passion and purpose, using something socially unacceptable as its primary metaphor, which is its own commentary on how we as society treat someone who dreams of something better, generally speaking.

The finale, the last novel in my canon, will hopefully be a wonderful mix of personal and global that explores a higher philosophy, a better way to live. It will be ultimately hopeful, optimistic, in a way that Jeopardy isn’t. Jeopardy deals with possibilities and pitfalls on an exclusively personal level. Even in heaven, without the proper focus, there’s exists the potential for hell.

It’s not entirely pessimistic, though the disillusionment is palpable. I’m just looking for something to hold onto – a chance, an opportunity, no bigger than this novelette. Something to move toward. Something slower, more present, more possible.

I’m not sure I found it, but I’m writing about possibilities anyway. It’s a weird little story, and I’m not sure yet what I’ve learned from it.

Maybe just that passion ignored is passion destructive, and that passion harnessed is a path to a better place.

At least, that’s the hope. The trick is driving the horses and not letting them drive you.

(Another heroin reference? Geez, Michaels, you don’t even do the stuff.)

That, and trying not to be consumed by it in the attempt, or letting it burn me out.


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Posted January 9, 2020 by Elliott Michaels in category "writing

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