Once you get to a certain age, you look back at some of the choices you made in your life and wonder what in the hell you were thinking. What you see here is pretty much all I wore for most of the mid 80s. The black Michael Jackson “Beat It” jacket with removable sleeves, parachute pants (I had pretty much every color imaginable), and jellies. Tell you what, I rocked the hell out of this ensemble. In 90° Florida weather, no less. You probably couldn’t pay me to wear any of this stuff today, and any photos of me from back then are hidden away and will never see the light of day, but I have very fond memories of sweating my ass off in a fashionable manner. 😀
I think I might write a story set in the 80s one of these days since that seems to be a thing now (like Stranger Things on Netflix—watch it!). It was a great decade to be a kid, wardrobe notwithstanding.
It was also a great decade for music, although I was just young enough for the meanings behind a lot of songs to fly right over my head (like “She Bop” by Cyndi Lauper, a song about masturbation that my friends and I gleefully sang in elementary school, lol). This was my favorite song for a good chunk of 1986 and most of 1987:
Ahhh. Good stuff.
Pics courtesy of SlimFitJackets, Retroland, and MentalFloss.
I don’t remember how I made the leap from Beverly Cleary to Stephen King. It’s not like I walked into the elementary school library and found his stuff. (Holy crap, maybe I did? I mean, look at all the stuff that was rated PG back then. No way that would fly today.) Anyway, it happened, and it changed my life. I had always loved writing, ever since I could hold a pencil to paper. But it wasn’t until I started reading Stephen King that I developed an outright passion for storytelling. I wanted to do what he did, to create characters and worlds that people would remember long after reading. I wanted to weave words together the way he did. Not in that particular genre; I don’t think I could ever pull off proper horror. But in whatever stories I told. I wanted to be Stephen King when I grew up.
Just when I thought I couldn’t love the guy more, he and alter writing ego, Richard Bachman, had to go and blow my mind with Desperation and The Regulators, respectively. Desperation is my favorite King book because it takes two things I like—horror and spirituality—and combines them so perfectly. And The Regulators is the reason I became obsessed with the idea of alternate/parallel universes in fiction, so those of you who have read my fanfiction can thank him for that.
I still want to be Stephen King when I grow up. It won’t ever happen, but it’s a worthwhile aspiration.
For this week’s TBT post, I was going to share the lyrics to a song I wrote when I was a kid about love and loss and moving on with life. Then I read over it, cringed, threw up in my mouth a bit, and deleted the entire thing. Some things should remain forever hidden from the public. That was one of them.
My fourth grade elementary school teacher was a woman named Mrs. Vigneault, or Mrs. V. as the kids called her in lieu of butchering her name. One day she started reading a story to us about this interesting and imaginative girl named Ramona Quimby.
One of my favorite parts of the school day was listening to a new chapter of Ramona Quimby, Age 8. I checked out every other book I could find in the library that had Ramona in it and read them all obsessively. Eventually, I bought them. (I still have all my Ramona books and read them from time to time.)
While I had always enjoyed reading up until that point, I think that this was the moment when the passion really took off. Thanks for that, Beverly Cleary. And Mrs. V. And Ramona. ❤
Way back when, my old comic book partner and I were discussing the possibility of doing a story about a group of young adults with a variety of abilities ranging from superhuman strength to hydrokinesis and so on. I was a little skeptical because X-men had pretty much cornered the market on that kind of thing and it was hard not to look at other stories that were out at the time without comparing them (with the exception of Rising Stars by J. Michael Straczynski, which remains one of my favorite comics ever). But B was pretty gung-ho about it so I told him I would give it a try. The end result was a story that centered around a young man named Kyle who was struggling to come to terms with both his sexual orientation and his freakish strength, and as the story begins, he’s starting to have a hell of a time keeping both of those things concealed. He has an older brother, Eric, who possesses the same strength, and is also a raging douchebag as well.
One random day back in 1999, I decided to go shopping. I ended up at this used CD store and bought a few things. You guys remember CDs, right? Anyway, one of the CDs I bought was—don’t judge me—WWF (now known as WWE) The Music, Volume 4. (I grew up watching wrestling; as a kid I always knew Santa wasn’t real but boy was I heartbroken when I found out that wrestling was scripted, lol.) This was back before they were ordered to change their name because of the World Wildlife Fund.
So anyway, I got back into my car and decided to pop it in and have a listen while I drove around. Everything was fine and good until I got to the Undertaker’s theme. Now mind you, I’d heard it a thousand times before at that point, but only bits and pieces because they never played a wrestler’s full theme song on TV given the short amount of time it took for them to get to the ring. So it wasn’t until I was joyriding around the city that I actually had a chance to hear the song in its entirety. And something really strange and awesome happened when I heard it. I thought of a story. Up until that point, I’d never given a thought to writing about angels, but all of a sudden, it was all there in my head. The story was about a group of angels that had been cast out of Heaven and decided to take it upon themselves to murder a child—a prepubescent Antichrist—because they wanted to save the world. (This may sound familiar to some of you who follow me in fandom.) In the four minutes it took for the song to play, I mentally plotted out the entire story from start to finish, and I rushed home and started writing it. And from there, other stories spawned, including Divine Will, which I mentioned in a previous TBT post. Before I knew it, I had created an entire universe of angels and demons and one very reluctant son of Satan. And it all came about because of a freaking wrestler’s intro music. Imagine that.
Later this year when I resurrect my angel-verse, you can pretty much bet that I’ll be listening to this song for inspiration. 😀
When I was in elementary school, my mom broke down and bought me a spiffy new Smith Corona electronic typewriter. That thing was fancy as hell, let me tell you. It had this neat digital display and you could see your sentences before they were typed out to make sure you didn’t screw anything up. And if you did screw up, you just hit a button and fixed it as opposed to dealing with those corrector strip thingies that were a pain in the ass. I remember being soooo excited when I got it because I thought I was going to give up the pen for good and write like real writers. Yeah, that didn’t quite work out the way I’d hoped. I discovered very quickly that having a typewriter didn’t instantly grant me the ability to type and I got so frustrated with hunting and pecking that I immediately went back to longhand and only whipped out the typewriter when I had finished a story (or poem or song or whatever).
When I got to high school, I decided to take a typing course (do they still offer those?). And again, I thought I was ready to leave the pen behind forever. And again, I was wrong because I soon found out that I had the dexterity of a slug and damn near failed the class because I just couldn’t get my fingers to cooperate.
Thanks for ruining my GPA, you jerk.
Strangely enough, it wasn’t until well after high school that something in my brain finally clicked and typing became super easy for me. Now I average almost 80 wpm, last time I tested myself. I guess it just took a few extra years for all of those classes to sink in. 😀
Or at least it was when I started this post last night, right before I fell asleep.
After I’m done with the second Harborview Immortals book, I’m going to shift my focus for a good chunk of the rest of the year. One of the things I’m going to work on—that I’ve already started working on in bits and pieces—is a new story in my mostly unknown angelverse that I created a while back. But for this Throwback post, I wanted to share some of the old, in the form of a novel I wrote in 2007. It’s called Divine Will, and it’s about a young man named Will (of course) who is your normal seventeen-year-old kid… except for the whole being the son of Satan and destined to destroy the world thing he’s got going on. And he’s actually not okay with that. This excerpt is from the beginning of the story. Will is sitting in the school parking lot and thinking things over:
They’re brutal. They’re violent. And they’re totally gay for each other. Pfft! 😀
One of the fun things about going through my old stuff to find something to post for TBT is coming across projects that have completely slipped my mind. (Conversely, one of the not-at-all fun things is remembering that I can’t draw for shit so most of these projects will probably never see life outside of a Word document unless stick figure art ever takes off.) I can’t believe I forgot about Benny and Kaz. Shame on me.
It all started when I was chatting with the old partner about a comic strip that I enjoyed. I began wondering if I could pull off writing one. At first, I wasn’t sure because it was one thing to have an entire chapter to work with, but a totally different thing to get to the point in only six or seven panels. But I decided to give it a shot and that’s how Benny and Kaz was born.
Basically, it’s about a couple of assassins who have lots of sex with each other when they’re not killing people. Hardly award-caliber stuff, but I had a blast with it.
Glenn Frey recently passed away, in what I can only describe as 2016’s apparent ongoing effort to rid the world of remarkably talented individuals. 😦 I discovered the Eagles ass backwards, meaning that as a kid I was a fan of each member’s solo music before learning that they all used to perform together. I remember getting one of their cassettes from Columbia House (Remember cassettes? Remember Columbia House??!) and the rest was pretty much history.
“Desperado” is one of my favorite Eagles song, though in recent years I’ve associated it more with that Seinfeld episode where Elaine’s boyfriend is so enraptured whenever he hears it that all he can do is stare into space. Hilarious episode, that. Anyway, I came across this video of Glenn singing it and decided to share.