Shortly before his death, mythologist Joseph Campbell gave an interview at Skywalker Ranch where he delivered what is probably my favorite quote of all time:
“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences will have resonance within our own innermost being, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That’s what it’s all finally about.”
I love this because it reminds me not to over-complicate anything (which also happens to be the guiding principle of fiction).
It also reminds me that a full life is an experience-rich one, and so I need to leave room for things like jumping out of airplanes and eating live scorpions and dissecting dead people and standing down the street from exploding bombs. Check.
I’m supposed to name influences and tell you why I write and all about my first time.
There was a pig. I think. And a poem about the sun that ran in a state-published anthology when I was seven.
Writing has been the exact complement to my sex life: I started young and never stopped. I wrote constantly in school. I sat in class and filled spiral notebooks (it looked like I was taking notes, you see) with cheap knockoffs of William Gibson and Greg Bear — more remix than original and every bit deserving of a bootleg movie cover.
Comics were an ever-present force: Claremont’s X-Men, Gaiman’s Sandman, Paul Pope’s THB. I’m not sure one can tell a better story than Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke.
But my biggest professional influence is the non-fiction work of CS Lewis. I liked The Chronicles of Narnia just fine, but it was works like The Screwtape Letters and The Discarded Image (Lewis’s explanation of the medieval world view) which taught me that clarity and parsimony are secret allies and that the best words are ones that get out of the way.
As for genre… Just say no!
My first novel, FANTASMAGORIA, is a mash of crime noir, classic sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. I also have a series of short mysteries where the main protagonist is an occult chef. What genre is that?
I have nothing against genre. It’s useful as a market tool for parsing books. But writing in it seems a lot like painting by numbers. Okay, maybe that’s too harsh! But other than that I have nothing against it.
Things that inspire me… Dreams. Philosophy. Hardcore pornography. Anything that churns the depths of our watery subconscious from whence all comes.
Works in progress
Right now I am working on THE MINUS FACTION, a serial novel – which is different than a series of novels – set in the near-future and following four people with extraordinary abilities.
Ice cream flavor
Coffee. Particularly Haagen Dazs Coffee.
Since this is a family-friendly site, I’ll have to take you into the parlor to share my favorite inappropriate story about a cigar and a vagina. For the record, she totally had it coming.