Don’t Flinch, Don’t Apologize
As strong as I might seem to some people, either based on my sometimes brash online persona or my imposing linebacker-like physique, I am a bit of a wimp. I hate stepping on people’s toes or feeling like I’m in the way or being in the spotlight in the middle of a crowded room. I see myself often as an obstruction or a nuisance, steering my Mack truck of a body through a world of Matchbox cars made of glass. Meandering through a packed bar will almost guarantee contact of my boobs or my ass with someone’s front or back, possibly causing them to drop their drinks and hate me for life. A ninja I will never be.
This feeling of “not wanting to get in the way” often translated to my writing, especially in the beginning. On way more than one occasion, I’ve found myself (or people have found me) mincing through a plot, not wanting to impose myself on the reader with things that might make them cringe or dislike me in some way. I’ve pulled so many punches that around last year, I found I could take all that reserved kinetic energy and tow a ship across the desert. But this stored energy is a bit like a cancer of the spirit, and it eventually grew into a sense of pent-up frustration and angst, that I wasn’t stretching myself enough, that I wasn’t grabbing the reader by the hair and saying, “LOOK AT THIS! LOOK AT WHAT I WROTE HERE!” So I let it all out when I sat down to the computer to write STRINGS, a 350-page spleen vent that is sure to rouse readers in a way that I have never roused them before. For better or worse.
I’m bracing myself for the worst, because that’s just my nature, but even if they call me a misogynist or a sadist or a nihilist or any other “ist,” I will not apologize for “going there” or getting in your face and making you drop your drink. STRINGS was the answer to the call I was feeling deep inside to stand up, use my brutishness to my advantage for once, and be the “dark contemporary fiction writer” I bill myself to be. It’s my “throwdown” book. Now I guess it’s up to the readers to accept the challenge.