Check out the prologue to "Alone In The Light" by clicking here

An excerpt from: Alone In The Light

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

So, You've Written A Book... Now What?

We're finally approaching the release of Alone In The Light. And I am immeasurably grateful for this. It's taken a little longer to get here than I'd hoped, but then again, I am an impatient sonofabitch. I like things now. Like NOW now. I hate waiting.

But, as I am learning, waiting is good. It allows you to step back and see things as a whole.

When I first started this thing, I was throwing it out to people asking them to read it, only to send them a newer, updated version a week later. Then another newer, updated version the week after that. I craved feedback that I wasn't just mentally jerking off - for lack of a better term - and I wanted to know that this would be mildly well-received. Based on initial readings and feedback, I hope that it is and people aren't just blowing smoke up my ass.

Writing a story is easy... sort of. You have an idea, and you write it down. It's the whole "step one" in the process. But then comes the rewriting, the editing, the formatting, the "making sure it isn't a flaming pile of random thoughts," and so on. Finally ending on, "is this any good?"

I think so.

I like my story.

I like Alone In The Light, and I think that is what is really important. Would I like it if other people liked it as well - you bet your ass. But I'm willing to be okay with the idea that this story is something that I'm proud of regardless of audience reception.

Josh and Mary are both very relatable people. They're both flawed. They're both trying to make sense of life. Hell, everyone is flawed. Mary's mom, Sharon, is terribly flawed - but not to the point of being a cliché or trope. Her flaws are based in reality. And that reality is something I've had in my own life. I don't want to give anything

Much of this work, while being fiction, is rooted in my life. I'd like that say that 40% or more of Alone In The Light is taken from the History of Benjamin Bass's life. I struggled for years with "self-medication" and drinking. I was sullen and angry. I ignored the people who cared about me in favor of being an ill-tempered asshole sitting alone in my apartment... And I think that comes across in Josh Carpenter's post-deployment attitude quite well.

In addition Social media didn't exist in 2005 - at least not like it is today. Smart phones weren't a thing yet - you'll not that both Josh and Mary have flip-phones.... Man, I remember when "" came to IU. It was around this time, but it wasn't widespread then... this story would be very different in 2011 or 2019. We've become so dependent on smart technology and social media that it's almost impossible to remember life before it... but I remember. I remember just how easy it was to shut out the world and hide in my apartment... And I didn't have to post selfies or anything to prove I was alive and well...

Researching this, I've taken a lot time to look over the statistics of PTSD, TBI, and amputations throughout the timeline of OIF, OEF, and various other military campaigns... and one of the reasons this is set in 2005, aside from coinciding with my own life, is that I try to shed some light on the VA and U.S. government's lack of preparedness in dealing with these things.

I remember early visits to the VA when I came home in '04 and '05... and I remember the drastic change in patients that followed soon after. In the early years it was me and a few other younger soldiers with dozens of WWII and Vietnam era vets. They would look at us as an oddity. Then, as our numbers increased - we were sort of looked on with a knowing look of sadness and acceptance by the older vets. In '04 there was only, on average, one amputee per state in the union... that number grew every year, almost, since then. Now it's almost commonplace to see prosthetics.

So - that's that. I've written my story. It's being formatted right now... and in a week, it should be out to the masses to critique and pick-over. I hope it goes over well. I hope people enjoy the story. I hope people realize that not all wounds are visible. And not everyone who says they're "fine" is actually fine.

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