Date: July 15, 2021
I am excited to share with you an update on my biggest project to date, and one that I am still working on, “When I Was a Child I Found the Entrance to Hell to be a Real Place”. This, my first novel, has consumed me since I finished writing it late last year; consumed in a good way. Editing and rewriting has given me opportunities to learn and grow my skills in the art of writing and it has given me a deeper understanding of the craft from start to finish.
The time that has elapsed since I finished writing has also allowed me to find layers and nuances of meaning through the symbolism of the story that I had not consciously registered when I was originally working on it. The story reflects a lifetime of pleasant memories and visions of evil, so I guess I shouldn’t be concerned that what I wrote then surprises me now.
The story, narrated by the protagonist, is told nine years after he first went to hell. It explores the boundary between childhood and the moment that innocence is lost forever, the moment when an act of freewill signifies to the self, and to the world, that an entry into adulthood has occurred. As the narrator reflects back on that moment for himself he muses,
I had never done anything evil before. I was a good kid. And, what would a small drink do to me, I thought.
Although the story reflects my own childhood and formative life events, it is also a universal tale of the struggles we all experience in life. A thinly veiled story of addiction, Entrance to Hell cuts close to the bone for many people, bringing back the times in their own lives when a decision they made charted an unplanned and unpleasant course. Even for those who have never suffered from addiction, the battles that the protagonist fights, and the bitter choices he has to make along the way, will be familiar.
The work is a labor of love which started many years ago as a short story that I submitted to Creative Colloquy. The editors of CC contacted me after I submitted it to tell me they really liked the story but that it was unfinished. They offered me a unique opportunity, they would create a challenge to the Tacoma writing community to submit an ending to the story. It was a great experience for me to have local authors submit their ideas for the conclusion of the tale, and I loved reading the final short story, done by an anonymous author, which Creative Colloquy published.
Although Entrance to Hell doesn’t end the same way as the final short story by anon (and you will have to wait to read it to see for yourself) there was another interesting connection to Creative Colloquy that happened along the way. Earlier this year I was participating in a CC writers’ workshop and met a couple of other writers who had similar works in progress. With our shared interest in seeing our books to print we formed a writers group, calling ourselves “The Page Turners.” We’ve met twice a month since then to share and get feedback on our projects, and I credit this small but mighty group with helping me sharpen the storyline and work through edits.
I am really excited as I am getting ready to look for a publisher in the next few months. It is an amazing experience for me to have been able to see the project move this far and to be at the point where I will be able to share this story with the world. I can’t wait for you to peer into hell over my shoulder and come back with me.
Stay tuned for more updates and reach out if you want to become a pre-publication reader!