Soon

Happy Halloween, look what EAB Publishing has up it’s sleeve. dink-death-6x9

That’s right, The ABCs of Dinkology: Death (Book 3) is gonna be here soon. Read an excerpt here.

If you’re interested but unsure, check out The ABCs of Dinkology: Life and The ABCs of Dinkology: Time In-Between right now. Digital copies are free for a limited time only!

How’s that for a treat?

Writing is hard

I have lived the better part of my adult life with Max Dinkman in my head. He is a 17-year-old boy with problems upon problems who kind of, sort of, maybe a little bit resembles me when I was a 17-year-old boy with problems upon problems. Max was born in my head and is probably the result of sleep deprivation, too much self-medication, and a frightened imagination running wild through the back roads of Northeast Nebraska . . . . A strange copulation indeed.

Anyway.

I’ve written an almost 600 page epic about his life from October 31, 1999 through May 5, 2000. Two parts of this epic have already been released by EAB Publishing as The ABCs of Dinkology: Life and The ABCs of Dinkology: Time In-Between. Prior to that, WSC Press released The ABCs of Dinkology, which is like a test version of Life. Three more will be available soon: The ABCs of Dinkology: DeathThe ABCs of Dinkology: Life After Death, and The ABCs of Dinkology: Rebirth. Then Max’s story will–for the time being–be over.

Yesterday I shared a draft of the final book with another person. I had never done that before. It was a jarring experience. Though between writing about Max’s seven month odyssey, I also wrote a couple other novels, a handful of short stories, a smattering of poems, a few essays and journalistic pieces, and a token academic paper or two, something about Max’s story is different . . . .

When I finally decided it was time to share the fifth book with another human being I had to go in and make a few last-minute adjustments, additions, and cuts. I had been avoiding one addition in particular for years. A part of me felt that if I kept what I knew must happen in my mind and never released it onto paper, it couldn’t happen. It’s ridiculous, I know. After all, I’m the creator. If I know an event has to happen then it has to happen. So I put on my big boy pants and I did it. It was physically and mentally challenging. It left me a mess. As I knew it would. Yes. I was bawling at my computer while the words poured from my fingers. What I was doing was horrible. It was a necessity but it was about as far from enjoyable for me as writing has ever been. It was tragic. It was heartbreaking. And there was a lot of it.

Max’s story has never been a happy one. It has its comedic moments, to be sure, like all lives do. But the tragedy outweighs the comedy. Though I’m certain I will write more novels with the same theme, message, scope, etc. of Max’s . . . and I may even come back to Max someday . . . this first series will always be the hardest because this one taught me that my stories are true . . . even if they’re made up.

I had been avoiding writing this last tragedy in Max’s life because I knew it would hurt to see the words in print, more so even than hearing it described in my head over and over for years. It’s so solid now, so concrete. Max and the people who inhabit his story are real. True, they are not real like us, but they are real. When bad things happen to them it hurts them as well as the readers. But I think most of all it hurts the writer.

Writing is hard.

On the plus side, how about a little sneak-peek of The ABCs of Dinkology: Death courtesy of Dave Ravenberg?

Dink2sneakpeek2 Dink3sneakpeek

Liars and Deceivers

No.

I’m not writing about politicians.

Zing! Hey-Ho!

I’m writing about fiction writers. I’m not going to build up to it, folks. Here it is: writers are liars and deceivers. That’s right. We’re bad, bad people.

giphy

We make a living (in some cases, just barely) by lying to our readers. Our stories can be fantastical with dragons and zombies. They can be representations of everyday life and tumultuous events like divorce or death. They can be funny. They can be sad. They can be scary. They can be somber. The one thing they all have in common though is that they are all lies. 

Also, even those of us who tell true stories, such as memoirists, lie to a certain degree. Here is one of my only pieces of published non-fiction. It is about my son’s birth and it is . . . not 100% true. Yes, he was born dead with a congenital heart defect. Yes, there were several moments of intense worry as I watched doctors and nurses try to revive him. And finally yes they succeeded and I did believe in “magic, real magic,” as I say in the little tale. There is, however, imagery in that story that did not take place during the actual event. There are snippets of dialogue that are built on the backs of half-dazed memories and shocked, willful forgetfulness. So, to those keeping track, to those stern guardians of nobility, those puritanical guardians of the actual truth, this story–though true to my mind–might be considered a lie. 

Such is life.

But what I do with that lie is tell my truth. I tell my truth of the experience. I tell my truth of the emotions. I tell my truth of the most painful and happy day of my life. And I am specific, for specificity in writing leads to universality in understanding. I do the same thing in my novels The ABCs of Dinkology: Life and The ABCs of Dinkology: Time In-Between. Sure, those stories are completely made up, but in them I get at a specific truth. I ponder what it might be like for a young man struggling with his sexuality at the turn of the century. I ask how a kid with an already fragile psyche would cope with his father’s terminal illness. I wonder what it would be like to live through some rough, rough times (truth be told, I do take many aspects of my life to answer these questions I ask). Hopefully, there is something universal about that. 

It’s simple really. There are times when writers, such as myself, have to lie to get at that universal truth. That is what good writing does and I will not apologize for being a liar and deceiver for that simply means I’m a good writer.

Also, you know, I promised myself I would do my best to post weekly for the rest of summer and I failed. So this is kind of me defending myself against myself . . . . I’m not sure if it worked.

Anyway.