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Cult of the Word

Posted on 2006.01.10 at 05:35
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God..."

Cribbed from the Gospel of John, this first sentence would make an apt epitaph for my tombstone. The cult of the word is the reason I get up each morning, and it is before the altar of writing that I kneel. The discipline and art of the word is as essential to my being as the chain of amino acids that comprise my DNA. They are the building blocks of my dream theater, the hieroglyphs of my soul's secret language. There are stories we tell, and stories that tell themselves through us. My stories were born with large lungs.

The words my mind strings together often resolve into fractal patterns of horror and the bizarre. The grotesqueries are kaleidoscopes of terror, longing, love, and I hope--beauty. When I succeed my stories serve as stained glass windows into the human condition. When I fail they merely function to titillate and nauseate. I fail as often as not, but that's part of the journey. The writer who respects his craft is always a work in progress.

Several years ago I went to Washington to visit my best friend. One morning while she slept, I crept into the living room, raised the window, and inhaled the icy morning air. A shiver ran through me, and I felt a sudden alertness. I grabbed a knife and carved a parting message into the windowsill. The soft wood, old and naked with only a few curls of paint clinging to the grain, took my knife strokes like wet clay. The idea to mutilate her windowsill came from Chuck Palahniuk's wonderful novel, DIARY. In the story one of the characters describes how when he worked construction, he left secret messages and mementos in the frames of the walls before he sealed them up with drywall. Apparently it's an old carpenter's tradition. Being that Palahniuk is one of my best friend's favorite authors, I knew she would appreciate my graffiti when she discovered it, likely while leaning on the sill and slowly exhaling clouds of clove-scented smoke. And the message I left for her--a woman who has honed my writing with her own editorial brilliance? "Live to write, or not at all."

My first novel, CRUCIFER, is being championed at Random House by an incredibly talented editor, who loves the craft of writing, cares about story, and is fearless when it comes to subject matter. Believe you me, no matter what any established writer says, a writer is only as good as his editor. He sees beyond the shards of glass and appreciates the stained glass window. I'm a very lucky man, but more on that later...


C.Rae for Today
rae_too_serious at 2006-01-19 23:45 (UTC) (Link)
Robbie, that was hot.
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