I just finished a novel project last Thursday, completing the manuscript of Recipes for Gingerbread Children. But being the excessively creative goofball that I am, this was not a stand-alone project. The companion book, The Baby Werewolf, is an incomplete manuscript of a comedy horror story about a boy with hypertrichosis, sometimes known as werewolf-hair disease. Both books happen in the same period of time in 1974 and share both characters and events. The boy, Torrie Brownfield, has lost his mother. His father has brought him back to a small Iowa town where he himself was once a boy, to live in the same house where the boy’s father and uncle grew up. The uncle, hiding some dark secrets of his own, requires that Torrie be raised in hiding up in the attic. But this only lasts until a local farm boy, Todd Niland, discovers Torrie’s sad existence and becomes his friend. This is a much darker story than I have tackled before, and I am no stranger to dark humor. It is significant, though, that both Todd and Torrie are gingerbread children from the book I just finished, and even though some sad, dark things come to light in that book, they are not nearly as sad and dark as what is present in this next project. So I had to find some inspiration before trying to re-ignite the novel forge for The Baby Werewolf.
That led me to watch the video Donnie Darko for the very first time.
Oofah! What a strange, horrible, yet beautiful movie! Richard Kelly’s first film is an incredible artwork that makes your soul sing darkly. Talk about listening to dark rabbits from the future… really, I mean, no one told anyone they should talk about about dark rabbits from the future… but this film does with a twisted elegance and ironically terrible beauty. It discusses the sex lives of Smurfs, raises alarms with old women wandering aimlessly to the mailbox in the path of oncoming cars, and fires teachers from their jobs for discussing the short stories of Graham Greene. There is no way I can explain in a witless-wordless movie review. You must simply watch the movie for yourself.
Remember this musical masterpiece? “Hello, Darkness, my old friend… I’ve come to talk with you again…” Yes, I am entertaining the darkness again because I will be depending on her to help me write this book whose theme is going to be, “Everyone dies in the end, but the real life depends on how we deal with that fact.”
Yes, people who know me, I mean really know me, including the facts behind what I can’t actually say in this blog because the innocent must be protected, will probably worry that I am undertaking a writing project about monsters and depression and suicidal thoughts and child abuse. I do have scars. But I am at peace with the hard parts of the life behind me. And from great pain and profound suffering, beautiful things can be made. So don’t worry. Downloading a bunch of monster-movie darkness into my stupid old head is not going to hurt me at this point in my life. And if I can’t write it now, it will never be written.