I asked myself:
If you could have been the author of any of your favorite books, which books would you most like to be the author of? And the all important question, why?
After some quick answers the part of me that asked the question said, “no, don’t answer what you think is right. Answer what is true.”
This is what I finally found to be true:
Stephen King’s, “The Dark Tower: Gunslinger”
This was the work that first stirred me as an adult to dream the impossible. I remember vividly to this day the way that story started, and how I knew it’d never leave my soul. There was a magic in the very first line that completely pulled the audience in, and whispered a promise of bigger and bolder things to come. There was an easy rhythm to the story that seemed purely American, if such a thing exists. There was also this fantastic other world, like a dark and twisted Oz, that King had built. It pulled me in and left me hungry for more. And of course, there is King’s character building.
Clive Barker’s, “Hellbound Heart”
There was a distinctly poetic voice in the narration of this story, it was visual, it was alluring, and it had an ease of language that any good poetry always seemed to have. It was lean, to the point, and stronger for it. It told a tight story, with strong characters that evoked–no, demanded–a reaction from me as a reader. It haunted me. It raised ugly questions in the deeper, shadowed, part of my mind, and made me really look at things a little closer and a little more differently. There was also a strong sense of atmosphere, of place, of setting. It was like Barker had built a private movie theater in my mind and began to roll the film, burning its presence into my being.
Poppy Z. Brite’s, “Lost Souls”
My god the beauty in the story tellers voice! This work, like Barker’s is almost one long poem. The language dripped with beauty. And this despite the sometimes jarring and disturbing subject matter. I hardly doubt this was accidental, these wonderful contrasts. And then there’s the one scene built near the middle of the book that I won’t give away in this entry, but how it absolutely haunted me when I had read it. I’m not sure it was a universal haunt but the author had known that terror, simply had to have in order to have built it so well. She wasn’t shy to be honest, to share her truth, and to build something by which to reflect our soul back at us with.
You see the reason I asked myself these questions was to force myself to face a deeper series of truths. What kind of fiction did I want to create? What has affected me? What resonates? What moved me? If I know this, I then have some hope of doing the same to an audience.
So, I ask you to do the same, ask yourself, what three books, movies, paintings, songs, whatever would you like to have created? And why?
Find your truth, find your art, give away your soul. This is what the world needs. This is what you need. And this is where your need and the world’s dance together and create the symphony of your duty as artist, writer, creator of any kind, and asks of you to be honest and to give accordingly.