I still remember the moment I realized I was losing my hair.
In 2007, I was driving home in my black Celica. It was a stick shift, and at the time, I used to go out of my way, obnoxiously cutting through the neighborhood, so I could practice a (somewhat) high-speed heel-toe without fear for person or property. Entering the turn, my left foot depressed the clutch while my right hit, then rolled along the brake until my shoe tapped the gas. Feeling like a proper bad-ass, passing through neutral, I allowed my sexy self, in a masturbatory nod, to meet my own gaze in the rear-view mirror. On cue, I was ready to praise myself for driving this street legal race rocket like the hot shit we all know I am. Save, I couldn’t. My eyes were misplaced, struck on my hairline, and after one brutally awkward second, I hit the brakes, then began pushing aside, pushing forward, pushing backwards, and fluffing said hairline, while glaring at it like Val Kilmer did in Top Gun’s locker room scene. (You probably have no idea what I’m referring to. That’s how many locker room scenes are in Top Gun).
It’s finally happened.
Internet news sources shocked the world today when they announced that the musically inclined mega-couple Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez have broken up. As the world comes to grip with its shock, and many a Mickey fans shed their tears, many news organizations have chosen different approaches to covering the split.
Below are the 10 biggest headlines from the Bieber/Gomez split.
As these headlines attest, Bieber-mania is far from finished.
It’s Christmas. And I’m not jolly.
A New York guy in a plastic Los Angeles, I’ve traveled cross country to save my marriage, ready to fake smile it through my wife’s Christmas party, located at the—even by New York standards—impressive Nakatomi Plaza, which is a sky-high high-rise who’s contents include 20 to 30 hostages and 10 to 20 terrorists. I’ve been facing them down, one by one, so I know everything these guys do is textbook. They’re brutal, they’re focused, they just didn’t count on me, the supercop. It’s been trying, and I’m out of witty remarks to fire back at my wife’s captor, but I’ve managed to take out the majority of them. In the process, I’ve nearly fallen from the building, lodged glass throughout my feet, and I think I’ve got a concussion or ten.
Much like real life, writing has its moments when it hits neutral, then coasts on along. At first it’s hard to notice, you’re holding the same speed, still heading towards the same destination, and even when you start to lose some momentum, you tell yourself, “Yeah, but I still have plenty of speed, I can hold to the ending.” Ten minutes later, your broken down on the life of the road, and you have no idea how you’re going to end up where you need to go. This happens enough in writing when dealing with even the most commonplace of plots, yet it gets even worse when sex and relationships are involved, as most people struggle to keep their own relationships from falling in ruts, what chance do they stand in fiction?
My favorite scene in Sykosa is, by far, the scene where Sykosa and Tom try, and ultimately fail, to make love, which would’ve been Sykosa’s first time. It might seem weird that it’s my favorite scene, as it’s not nearly the brightest one, and my characters aren’t at their best, but I agonized over it unlike any other. I never freaked out that it wasn’t working out, per se, but I always had this nagging thought, “You’re not writing this correctly.” And throughout the years, the scene had gone through various stages of feeling solid, but it never found its true form until maybe a month before I called the book, what I like to refer to as, finished finished.
A few years ago, my buddy Jeff and I decided on a road trip from Seattle to his hometown, the silicon palace itself, Los Angeles. The first thing you have to know about Jeff and I is that we’re great friends, but ideologically different. When Jeff was young, his father sat him down and said, “Jeff, in this family, we’re Democrats and we’re atheists.” Conversely, I was raised attending Catholic services every Sunday, attending CCD (Community of Catholic Doctrine) classes, and my parents were about as big a fans of Ronald Reagan as a person can be before crossing over into the completely irrational. In life, I’ve distanced myself from the church, and ended up being politically moderate, but Jeff remained an unapologetic progressive, and he is an atheist.
In writing Sykosa, I knew I wanted a story that, for lack of a proper way to phrase it, peeled itself like an orange. So that its outside appeared rather ordinary, but upon examination, the reader comes to view the story as being not what s/he first suspected it of being. A review of Sykosa at Libby’s Book Blog, stated it better than I currently am.
I warn you. This is a bit of an ugly story.
It involves a kid who was always too tall for his age, and was insecure about it, and didn’t understand why adults always told him, “You’re so tall. You’re so lucky.” This kid was also built like a house, with a skeletal system that must have weighed a ton, and muscles that generated so much force, he often—when too excited—injured his normal sized friends by accident, which means he often heard from the adults, “You don’t know your own strength. You’re so strong, you can’t do what everyone else does.” Yet, like the tall comment, this was spoken without a lick of sarcasm, and with a slight admiration. Being so huge, this kid came to the conclusion that he was fat when he wasn’t, and then became fat after he started over-eating to deal with the stress of it. Convinced he was a goon, and sub-intelligent since he had an energy that shut down his brain in a way that often made him appear an imbecile, he was unsurprised, upon entering school, to find he was failing, and doing so in a way that confused his teachers. Continue reading
Something is not okay inside Sykosa.
It wasn’t always this way.
Sykosa was born a baby, like we all are, and like we are all, she was fascinated by all things that blinked, blared, or played peek-a-boo. Throughout her childhood, she went from having so little hand-eye coordination she put Cheerios in her nose, to putting together Mr. Potato Heads, to building balsa wood structures holding 30lbs for science class. She liked Mickey Mouse, Disney princess movies, and while she didn’t like swimming, she did it anyway. It seemed like the good days outnumbered the bad 5:1 and, should you consult her report cards, her teachers, her friends, her family, they’d tell you, this is a happy kid, and she’s gonna make it.