I am not a free man...

My life has been shaped and scarred by violence visited upon me when I could do nothing about it and had no idea what it meant. I'm only now beginning to see just how deeply wounded I was...only now...and my writing has done more to get me to this point than years of therapy ever did. I'm still driven more by worry and concern than anything else. Fear of offending someone. Causing them discomfort. But I can see that slowly changing. Finally.

I once commented I could easily have become a serial killer, and the coworker who heard me said I was wrong; I was too empathetic. And she was right. It jolted me, but I began looking at myself and saw I would often put the concerns of others above mine. Not always. Sometimes I held onto my place as I saw it...but afterwards would feel like I'd done something wrong and wonder if I hurt others by doing so when, in reality, I was only hurting myself by not being that way from the outset.

I think I finally reached the zenith of this when I rewrote a script of mine for a long-time friend and a producer I knew and liked. It was a family-friendly script about a boy who accidentally trapped some aliens in his MacBook and had to find a way to get them back into space. It had won an award and I liked it, but it was going nowhere and they suggested I rewrite it for an animated feature, since my buddy worked at a major animation studio. So, I agreed to put my ego aside and promised to do whatever they wanted, with one caveat -- I would not fundamentally change the characters.

So...I did it. Rewrote it according to their notes. He took it to the producers he knew at the studio. They gave him notes to give me, some of them really dumb, and I did another rewrite. And he took it back, and they gave him more notes. Change this. Rework that. Expand here. Cut there. And combine two characters into one.

I refused to do the last one. Flat out refused. I shocked myself in this. Everything else, I went along with, but messing with my characters brought out the beast in me. And so...my friend and that producer used a legal maneuver to take the script away from me. They decided to get another writer to do what they wanted.

I crashed into a serious depression. Wound up leaving LA for Texas and then here to Buffalo. I'm still hurt by it. And what's worse? I convinced myself that I hurt their feelings in my actions and attitude. I got fucked, and I was sorry for making it happen.

It was about this time that I published my first book, How To Rape A Straight Guy, where I took on the persona of a man who raped men to get even with the world for his situation. It's a dark book and brutal, but it helped me sense that I'm a good writer, because I had a number of people tell me they were shocked at how they felt sympathy for a vicious man at the end of the story...a man who's a double murderer.

The experience surrounding that script and the writing of that book marked a seismic shift in me that I'm just now understanding. I lost a story I had developed into something meaningful by letting others take it over and treat me like nothing. I'd refined the characters but they said they weren't mine, anymore. And I let them, because I was more concerned with their feelings than with mine. I wrote a book about a man who didn't give a shit until he realizes he really does, at the end, and I now see I was telling myself I was blaming others for my situation when it was my own damn fault for letting it happen.

What's sad is, they've gone nowhere with the script. Nothing has happened with it. At all. It's now dead, and I am pissed as hell about it, deep down.

This is sort of a ramble of a post, but I'm sensing it's time for another change within. And without. I'm writing a book about a boy in Northern Ireland, a place I've been to but never lived in, and my stubbornness is keeping me going with it, even as I'm sure I'll offend someone with it because I dare to write about something I never experienced. And tonight, for the first time, I said Fuck that.

I'm writing a fucking book and telling a story and fuck anyone who thinks I shouldn't...and I have had people tell me I was stupid to do so, comments that shook my confidence in my abilities.

Well fuck that shit. I'm tired of being worried about other people's feelings, letting them take preference over mine. Thinking their opinion is better than my own. I'm too fucking old for that childish shit. I'm putting whatever I fucking want into this book and the next one and the next one and the next one, and if you don't like it, tough shit.

I'm a fucking writer, a damn good one working to become great, and to hell with anyone who says otherwise.


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