David Meeks’ futuristic comedy “The Roots of Madness” appears in the most recent CCC anthology,Across Town: Stories of Columbus. This witty, Shakespearean tale is a fantastic contribution to the Across Town collection.
I will admit it – I used to plagiarize. Actually, I used to rewrite my favorite horror stories while I was supposed to be journaling in fifth-grade English. These acts of mimicry, along with a thirst for reading, started me on the road to creating my own original stories, and cemented in the deep recesses of my mind the desire to continue to do so. It seems that no matter which road I have decided to take in life, I always come back to writing. It’s challenging, comforting, frustrating, rewarding. Writing is a lot of things to me, be they good or bad, but it’s something I feel I’m genuinely good at; and I’m determined to keep at it until my imagination dries up and drifts away – at which point I’ll probably chase it down, soak it in the nearest puddle, and hope for sea monkeys.
I have heard many times over to “write what I know”; but this bit of advice has never held much water with me. If I were to write what I know (as far as fiction is concerned) I would tell the tale of a shy, awkward young boy who went camping a lot with his family, joined The Boy Scouts and went camping a lot with them, and then in his late teens joined a garage band that he never went camping with. My point is that, while I have fond memories of all of those things, they aren’t what I enjoy writing about. When I’m staring down that blinding white light coming from an empty Word document I want to create a story that entertains me, not reminisce about my past or create a manual on how to set up a tent. My hopes are that, if I can create something that entertains me, hopefully my readers will agree.
I tend to migrate towards the fantastic and absurd when I’m telling a story. As difficult as it is, I try to be as original as possible. This is always the hardest part of creating something for an audience. It would be easy to create another Lord of the Rings, or another Harry Potter. The conventions are all there; I could just plug in my own setting and characters and maybe have a bestseller. Okay, maybe I’m oversimplifying, but being conscious of the fact that I might be constructing a narrative a bit too close to the proverbial cookie-cutter drives me to create something different and keeps the writing process fresh and exciting.
After the breath of fresh air this current opportunity has given me, I plan on wrapping up two other stories that I have been working on for a while now. The first is a story centered around cats and an epic journey across multiple states. It was inspired by my mother (who thankfully wouldn’t quit pestering me to write a children’s book), and my cat Lester. The second is a dark medieval fantasy and is the biggest challenge I’ve ever…well, challenged myself with. It will be a full-length novel and will likely end up having one or two more entries after that if the first one doesn’t kill me. Ideally, I hope for some success in the land of the novel. Even if they never see the light of day, I plan to keep writing and creating my strange, little worlds.
Aside from fiction, I also hope to enter the world of video game journalism. I’ve always been fascinated by interactive entertainment, and being able to write about my favorite game franchises (The Elder Scrolls, Half-Life just to name a couple) at the professional level would be an amazing experience. I recently started a blog and am currently trying to build a portfolio of sorts to show to various game magazines and websites. Feel free to stop by www.thegamerambler.blogspot.com to bask in my nerdy glow.
Finally, I’d like to thank Brad and everyone else involved in the current anthology for helping me shape “The Roots of Madness” into its current form, and for the chance to share it with so many new people.
Across Town: Stories of Columbus is now available for sale in paperback for only $9.35, and in a variety of e-book formats including Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Google Books for $4.99. The book is available for Amazon Kindle for $2.99 for a limited time. Click here to order.