On a Writer's Forum I visit someone asked if it is perseverance and discipline that makes a good writer. I, being the arrogant writer penned this response.
When I was 17, I wrote the first (synopsis I suppose you would call it)
for what I thought was going to be my breakout book. It was
autobiographical in nature, based on my use of psychedelic drugs.
then, I was into everything. Lsd, shrooms MDA, pot, hash and of course
booze. I was a teenager and I was experimenting, freeing my mind.
Anyway, one night in the summer of 82, I, along with another guy, took 2 1/2
heaping tablespoons of powdered magic mushrooms and washed it down with
a glass of vodka and orange juice. We then went to a party and
proceeded to drink copious bottles of beer and smoke hash oil.
Within an hour of arriving at the house reality went out the door and I
fell into a horrific hallucinatory state of paranoia. It was terrifying
and the bad trip lasted all evening. My friends put me in a room to ride
it out, because they were too afraid to call an ambulance. I slipped in
and out of states of consciousness and honestly could not differentiate
reality from fantasy.
Many hours later, after my body had processed enough of the drug so that
I was able to regain consciousness, I left the house and walked five
miles home. When I got there, I woke my mother and told her that I had
just escaped a Satanic Cult. My mother, a strong Catholic, was convinced
that my story was true. I was that convincing. After this confession I
slept with my mother and passed out.
When I awoke the next day my mind was blank.
Over the next three months, I detoxed. I gave up everything, even pot. I
went through horrible flashbacks of that night. I experienced terrible
panic attacks and the only good thing to come from that night was that
it scared me straight and changed my attitude. Up to that point, I had
low self esteem, I lied like the sidewalk, I stole, and I had no
loyalty. Throughout the flashbacks, I grappled with my sanity, I
approached both the church, thinking there were demons in my midst and
the mental health community thinking I was going insane. The Catholic
padre who met with me was kind enough to take a psychologists stance and
blamed the drug use. The therapist I saw, accused me of pandering for
anti-depressants (which I was on until that moment).
I left his office, turfed the prescription into the garbage and came to
the realization that i was on my own. The next few months would cost me a
job and for the next year I slept with my light on. After that, I went
back to school and I would eventually meet my wife at the local college.
She is sleeping in the other room as I write this.
That year, I penned a
rough manuscript, titled: THE NIGHT IT ALL CAME DOWN. I never published
it. It slipped into oblivion along with a bunch of other stuff I wrote
and that was 33 years ago.
Well, maybe that book was never meant to be
written. Maybe that thumbnail sketch of my life was what got me here
today and the memory is enough. I have written two full length novels,
the first a straight up horror, and the second a thriller sci-fi horror.
Both of these novels came from within, every character and event had
something to do with what has happened over the course of my life. I
believe, that to be a good writer you must be able to observe what is
around you and process it.
So, is it a matter of perseverance? Absolutely, but time and experience are the best weapons in a storytellers arsenal.
A little luck doesn't hurt either.