Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Place Not So Unkind

Sometimes it scares me how much emotion I have tied up in Bosley and Ocean. Here are these two people who have never existed outside of my own head and yet I feel so connected to them. It’s like this strange friendship where my loyalties are so strongly aligned with them that I hate putting them through the shit I do. I want them to be happy. I want them to have their day in the sun without fear of sudden death. But that’s not really the way their world works. And I can see that world so clearly: the crumbling towers against the horizon, cracked pavement, and the skeletons of burnt out cars left to rust. The piles of rubble and dusty, broken glass. Their world was not designed for the weak or feeble. To survive, you have to be as hard as the chunks of granite lining the sidewalks of dilapidated banks. So I have to basically have to torture these people that I love so fucking dearly.

At the same time, I know where all of this is going, can see their paths and into the future. I know it’s a good place. Or maybe I should say it’s as good as you can get in their world. Yet even so, my heart grows sad when I think of reaching that point. I realize well in advance that the final scene is not going to be easy to write. In all honesty, it will probably be one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. I will be, in essence, saying goodbye.

They’re not bad people. Bosley is this guy faced with choices that no man or woman should ever have to make. Ocean is just this little girl obeying the oldest law on the books: survival of the fittest. And there’s some fucked up shit out there in the Wastelands that they have to survive. Sometimes the staggering rotters are the least of your worries. Driven mad by starvation and fear, these human animals can be just as brutal, viscous, and cold-hearted as the corpses that stalk them. So basically, no matter where you turn, you’re prey. It’s a callused world that doesn’t give a shit about its inhabitants’ safety or well-being. Kind of a primordial, concrete jungle. While working on these books, I strive for a very dark atmosphere. I want the reader to feel the weight of existence on their shoulders, just as Bosley and Ocean do.

Dark thought it may be, in the end it’s actually a story about hope. Even if that hope is just a single ray of sunlight shining through the storm clouds and onto a patch of pristine sand. Sometimes, you just couldn’t ask for anything more….

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