|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
Tonight, I'm Going Off The Reservation
Why Do I Do Those Things I Do?
The topic provided for the 365 Days of Blogging just did not apply tonight! So, why don't we really take a side road? A little meander through the landscape that influenced how and why I write what I do the way I do. It's okay to come along, the attendants made sure the jacket was good and snug and they liberally increased the med's, just in case.
I come from the Boston area, born to Irish working class stock. If you've ever been there then you know that the city values the breadth of a persons experience. If you are no more than a generation or two removed from traditional Celtic blood you understand that this is a people that values your ability to communicate and argue. (No, not every discussion in an Irish neighborhood ends up in a donnybrook!) So there you have the crucible in which I was forged.
I obtained my first library card at seven and six months later had my mother come with me to the library to sign a permission form to free me from the kid's section. At first it was all books on space exploration, which at the time involved hurling cats, dogs, and primates beyond the atmosphere and hoping they came back sort of alive. Then came geography and history, in the household I grew up in this was the opening for various uncle's, aunts and cousins to grill you on what you read and what you thought. There was no escaping it, at any holiday gathering or family dinner you would be led beyond the safety of names and dates and forced to stand your ground on the the rocky plains of opinion.
One day I picked up a copy of David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens. This was followed by The Tale of Two Cities. In quick succession came Hawthorne, Poe, Crane, and Hugo. I was bathed in ocean salt by Melville and Coleridge. Going into my teens I discovered Tobacco Rode and Catcher in the Rye . There were the transcendentalists, the lost generation, the expatriates, the existentialists. Works on Nihilism and Nazism, Buddhism and the Bhagavad Gita.
By the time I was fifteen I was standing beside highways with my thumb out every chance I got. I've hopped freights and bummed rides from long haul truckers. If someone asked where I was headed I usually just pointed straight ahead and said, "There."
I have served in the military in various places and circumstances. I have been a paratrooper, recon scout, Special Forces Operative and counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism instructor. I will still pick up a magazine or paper in a couple of foreign languages just to see what someone else's perspective is.
I've worked as a bartender with a side job as a drunk. I've run my own independent production services unit in LA, Hollywood, and the San Fernando Valley. I'm a professionally trained photographer with several awards for my work. I am a painter who has had galleried exhibits, a published poet, and occasional author of short fiction. Somedays I'm a musician but it's not a pretty thing.
All of this has taught me there is no greater story than that of Joe Everyday making his way through from one moment to the next. That each and every person has a tale and that the best stories are the simplest. That the hardest bastard cries and the most incompetent buffoon will eventually have his or her day. It is as essential to listen as to speak and to try to hear the voice that communicates from beyond words in the language of the heart. There have never been any one hundred percent villains or heroes and, if you want to go beyond the mundane, that is the only way to REALLY portray a character. Everything else is unadulterated bullshit!
And that was the short version.
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Remember...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis