My Creative Process (Part #4)

Oh, my! I had lost track of this subject completely! Well, there’s no better moment than the present to continue having a look at it. Today I’ll examine the first moment in my life I really had a bona fide idea for a story. But before I resume from the point we left it off, I think that a small biographic retrospective is a must to understand the basis of my creative process…

For starters, I think it’s best that you know that I was born into slavery. Yep, as hard as it might seem to believe it, I was born a slave in the later half of the Twentieth Century. My father ran the family as a feudal lord, and my mother and I were no better than pieces of property. He was wired that way; every person he met in his life was just a means to advance his crazy plans. As any tool that no longer serves its purpose, people were things to discard when he had no longer any use for them… even his close family.

You wouldn’t believe how many times he threatened to kick me out of the house whenever I made a real or imaginary transgression. Not that he said it openly; he possessed a very sadistic manner of telling you (without actually expressing it in any kind of words you could use as evidence) that he’ll do something against you. My mother and I were in the hands of a madman.

Make this experiment: grab a kitty, any young cat, and start to act erratically in its presence. Sneak behind it and then suddenly imitate a snarling cat at its back, put Scotch Tape on the tips of its paws, feint that you’ll hit it and, if that isn’t enough, perhaps put the animal into the spin cycle of your washing machine. In a couple of years you’ll have a very jumpy creature in your hands, a poor and terrified being that will be leery of your presence, and it might even leap to the ceiling, digging its nails to that upside-down surface whenever you enter the same room where it resides. After a few decades of living with my father and his sadistic mind games, I felt as whether a maniac was holding a gun against my head… and that he was constantly telling in a very veiled way me that he’d pull the trigger… one of these days… Click?

By the time I was seventeen, I realized something must be done, and I started to wage war against the accursed bastard in the most silent way I could think of. It was a very exhausting mental guerrilla war, like playing chess with nukes instead of bishops and knights. But I had learned how to read between the lines and how to strike in similar ways. Why not? I learned from the best.

Okay, this is all-important, because it affects deeply what follows next. I was ten and someone, I can’t recall who exactly, gifted me a leather-bound set of Jules Verne’s novel (condensed and with very neat and colorful illustrations set as Sunday funnies every second or third page). This gift sparked my love for reading… and set the seeds for my interest in writing.

I recall that same year I wrote a 300-page novel (in Spanish, my mother tongue, of course) dealing with the adventures of some space warriors and their clash with a race of humanoid space-rats (that for some reason I no longer remember, seemed to wear afros in all the illustrations I drew of them for the cover). A few years later, I realized I was only reheating the plot of Battlestar Galactica (which in turn is simply re-heating Matheson’s Third from the Sun). Now fast-forward twenty-five years; the war against my father raged on and finally achieved to purge him out of my life at an incredible cost (he managed to bite a chunk off my ass in the process, causing that I washed up in this jungle and without any hopes of recovering my earlier life). Well, the biographic interlude is nearly over, so don’t fret. This same destructive war had also caused the shelving away of all my dreams about writing for nearly two decades and a half; it kept me so busy with notions of survival, every single day of those twenty-five years, that I was completely unable to think I could put a word on paper for that long. I had tried to write a few scripts (my second love in life is cinema, after all), creating a movie-like style from which I would benefit years later. One of the scripts was optioned by a small production house in 1991… but all of it was sort of a dead end while the war with that prick lasted… Until I hit upon a cyberpunk novel, Gibson’s Idoru. And here is the insight I was leading for: the creative spark that made me write A.I. Rebellion, my first novel.

I was in New York during the year 1999, warming a seat in a waiting room at the JFK Airport and I had bought a copy of this book in a Duty-Free shop. I love cyberpunk and tried to write several short stories on the subject before, but none of these fiction works came to fruition. William Gibson’s book created a terrifying sense of expectative as I flipped its pages. What if…? These are the most dreaded and yearned words of the English language to any seasoned writer. What if…? What if that character did that? What…?

My unconscious writer’s mind was busy in the background, silently building the plot ahead of me. In some sort of bizarre way, Gibson and I were collaborating on the same text; I was expecting the book to go that way… and a few pages ahead my expectations were being fulfilled. My mind kept forecasting the plots until I nearly believed the book would end in a certain way. Has it ever occurred to you?

But halfway through, the author and my writer’s mind suddenly parted ways. Idoru finished the way it did, disappointing me somewhat… but a sudden realization sprouted in my brain: I just had an idea for a plot! An idea that a best-selling author might have considered but must have discarded along the way! So I grabbed a sheet of paper and began taking notes.

And so, all the plugs that had been blocking my inspiration since I was a kid were pulled…

The dream started…

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One thought on “My Creative Process (Part #4)

  1. Thank you for sharing, Edwin. I love knowing the story behind the story, even though… they’re always painful, aren’t they?

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