On Friday I announced an upcoming publication in a new series by Crystal Lake Publishing. My contribution is an essay about using your fears in fiction, which is something I’ve got experience with, as I usually end up doing it in some form or fashion in pretty much every story I write. Anyway, I used a sample of ALT to demonstrate one of the essay’s points (I’ll let you guess which scene), and that got me thinking a lot about where I was at the time when I wrote it.
So many people tell me that ALT is a positive story, how it inspired them, and so on. And I think that’s wonderful. But it wasn’t like that for me when I wrote it. That book–the whole trilogy, really–comes from a dark place. Me and Erica were barely scraping by. She’d just lost her job, which put more of a burden on my shoulders to cover the bills. The job I had–the infamous law firm–was awful, to the point that I’d have panic attacks about going into work every morning. I was young and didn’t really understand my own brain back then, but now I know that I was in the clutches of depression. I considered suicide once or twice, and the only reason I didn’t is because I didn’t want to put that kind of burden on Erica.
I’m in a much better place now. I have been for a while. But listening to this live performance of “La Mer” and what Mr. Reznor had to say about the song’s origins, combined with my work on the essay, just brought a lot of those memories back.
“I’m afraid to go back to that place because it feels kind of haunted to me.”
I think that’s one of the reasons why I put off working on the final Monochrome book for so long. But I’m going to go back to confront those demons . . . and to finish what I started.