INTERVIEWER: SO! It’s been a while. How are we? Did you finish IT?
[IT refers to the big bad deadline for the big bad revision of DESCENT; see earlier post, March 4, “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight.” ]
ME: Yeah, I finished it.
INTERVIEWER: You did? Son of a gun! Did you turn it in on time?
ME: Umm, not really. Missed the deadline by, like, 42 hours.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, you pathetic specimen. So what’s your excuse?
ME: I got distracted in the home stretch by some unhappy family news, “stop everything” bad news.
INTERVIEWER: Sounds juicy! What happened? Tell us all about it!
ME: Not that kind of blog, man. I’m not plastering my family’s life all over the blogosphere.
INTERVIEWER: Harrumph! Well, let’s get back to the book. What happens next?
ME: I suspect my editor will tell me what happens next. She’ll like some of it—I hope. She’ll probably want further changes, less of “this,” more of “that,” etc. I told her that I trust her judgement and she laughed like an ax murderer.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, you’re screwed now!
ME: We’ll see.
INTERVIEWER: After turning in this draft, any new insights into your characters?
ME: Several. Phelan’s predilection for little boys, for example? He’s trying to annihilate the memory of himself as a child, before he learned the truth about himself.
INTERVIEWER: Hmm. Sounds like you’re trying to let him off the hook a little, generate sympathy from the reader.
ME: Hardly. This was something I realized, not Phelan. And it’s not made explicit in the text. Sympathy for Phelan? Not likely. Now I really hate the bastard’s guts. Plus, he did something really vile to my heroine. Unfortunately, this really vile scene comes BEFORE a later scene wherein the reader isn’t meant to sympathize with Phelan, exactly, but at least understand his frustration on an intellectual level. It’s a pretty important scene, one of my favorites, and now I don’t know how it’s going to play…
INTERVIEWER: Uh huh. Any other insights?
ME: Lots, but only a few worth mentioning here. Darius needs other people around him in order to be an interesting and amusing character, duh. I knew that already. But an insight that really struck me is that Catherine’s absolute devotion and faith could be explained—and further explored—by introducing the notion of psychosis. What if Catherine’s slightly nuts? And she’s sorta-kinda aware of it? But she triumphs over it!
INTERVIEWER: Like Luc Besson’s treatment of Jeanne d’Arc in THE MESSENGER.
ME: Interviewer, it’s like you’re reading my mind! Yeah, I loved that movie…
INTERVIEWER (haughtily): That movie came out ten years ago. And it didn’t do very well.
ME: Who gives a rat’s ass how the movie did at the fucking box office? It was brilliant. I think audiences grew confused and frustrated after the first 90 minutes. I mean, it starts with total kick ass, Milla Jovovich ripping the English Army to shreds in better-than-Braveheart fashion, but then the film dives unapologetically into her psyche. That’s the story, man. Jeanne recognizes her own madness, but also recognizes her faith is greater than the arguments of pure logic. And that’s how it could work for Catherine. She even says as much to Phelan during the final confrontation, “Nothing unreal exists.”
INTERVIEWER: You’re just sweet for crazy-ass chicks.
INTERVIEWER: And you’re an Atheist!
ME: Again, guilty.
INTERVIEWER: So how can you present such an argument with any hope of verisimilitude?
ME: Arghghgh. Just because I don’t believe in a “thing” doesn’t mean that the “thing” in question doesn’t exist for somebody else. “Nothing unreal exists!” Jesus! Atheists get the worst rap, man! I’m not out to change the way anybody else thinks, I’m not a card carrying member of the Atheists of America or whatever they’re calling themselves these days, those fools treat Atheism as a religion, they have rules and member guidelines! Arrghgh! It’s enough to make me—
INTERVIEWER: All right, calm down. Let’s stay on target, let’s get back to the book. Any other insights?
ME (sighing): No other insights, but one major boffo regret. Something that will have to be corrected.
INTERVIEWER: And what might that be?
ME: Well, Darius is slumming with these sick and dying humans on the way to see Phelan, right? And one of these sick and dying humans keeps mumbling about how there are “others” out there in The Wasted Lands, “other” survivors. And that’s how these “others” are referred to, THE OTHERS. At the time I didn’t think much about it, but then after I turned in the revised draft, something kept bugging me about the use of this OTHERS term, it started sounding pretty damn familiar. I thought: Isn’t there some super huge pop culture thing out there that makes use of THE OTHERS?
ME: Yup. LOST. And just to beat myself up, I’m going to grab a picture…
INTERVIEWER: Is that an old logo or a new logo?
ME: I have no fucking idea.
INTERVIEWER: So, are you a big LOST fan?
ME: I have never seen a single episode of the damn series. I know. I know! It’s supposed to be amazing, yadda-yadda, but I’ve just never seen it. Sue me. Yet through the miracle of media-saturation, this is EVERYTHING I know about LOST:
• There’s a plane crash, and the survivors are stuck on an island…
• Strange things happen on this island, including shifting alliances, time-travel, some strange box-gizmo, and a mysterious group of other survivors called, regrettably, THE OTHERS…
• The creators are apparently willing to kill any character at any time…
• The series was created by JJ Abrams…
• And one of my favorite writers was hired last year as a story editor.
And that’s it. Everything I know. All the LOST fans are probably cringing.
INTERVIEWER: And who’s this favorite writer?
ME: One of my favorite writers. Brian K. Vaughn. He’s amazing. Dynamite storyteller with such a good grip on the human animal his work has reduced me to tears more than once. And so original. He’s come up with ideas that have made me kick myself, you know, “Why didn’t I think of that?!” His work includes EX MACHINA, Y: THE LAST MAN, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD, RUNAWAYS, some limited series for Marvel and Dark Horse…
Incredible stuff. If these titles don’t sound familiar, stay tuned. They’re making movies out of all of his stuff. The über-talented little bald-headed bastard’s going to be huge.
INTERVIEWER: Is this guy a friend of yours?
ME: I wish! I’d get him drunk and steal his ideas. And no, I’m not on his payroll.
INTERVIEWER: Then you must have a real love for name-dropping.
ME: Come again?!
INTERVIEWER: Look at this blog. In the space of five posts you’ve managed to work-in U2, Cormac McCarthy, LOST, THE MESSENGER, this Brian K. Vaughn person… You’ve got a WATCHMEN image for your damn banner! Maybe you just like to associate yourself with very successful stuff.
ME: No, no, no! Jesus! Look at the title of this post! It’s called Getting to Know the Idiot Running This Blog! That’s the way my mind works, man! Popular culture—the books, the movies, the comics, the music—it’s running through my head all the time. And don’t give me any grief about giving lip service to artists I like. I would be remiss as a human being if I didn’t spread the word about amazing writers and the jaw-dropping shit they produce. Babbling about them on my blog? Fuck, I should be grabbing strangers in the street, yelling LOOK AT THIS!!!
INTERVIEWER: Well, all righty-then…
ME: Jesus, I didn’t even go off on how the cinematography in the goddamn TWILIGHT movie looks like fucking Shojo—!
INTERVIEWER: Show… joe?
ME: Manga. Japanese comics. For girls. Never mind.
INTERVIEWER: Well, I can see that we’re, uh, running out of time. Any last thoughts?
ME: I want to be amazing.
INTERVIEWER: Excuse me?
ME: I want to be amazing. I don’t want to be famous, I don’t want to be rich. I don’t even need to be loved. Well, okay, scratch that last one, I need my kids and my wife and my friends to love me. But I want to be amazing. I want to write the most amazing shit the world has ever seen, I want glory. Maybe you’re right, maybe I’m plastering my blog with incredible stuff by amazing artists ’cause that’s what I’m aiming for, man, those are the heights I want to reach…
INTERVIEWER: And… how old are you?
ME: This interview is over.