Happy Tuesday! Someone was crazy enough to let me start off this blog chain. I was going to pose a question that delved into the deep issues of race and stereotypes but then I realized that it's the holidays and everyone's overwhelmed and busy and probably not in the mood to tackle something so complex, so instead I'd like to ask the following question:
What is the silliest thing from a book or short story you've written, and why? It can be a line or a paragraph or a whole page. Anything that you look back at and go, "Say what?"
There are some days where I read previous work and I'm like, "I wrote that? Holy cow!" And then there are times where I go, "I wrote THAT? What was I thinking?" So I thought I'd share one of the silliest things I've ever written. It's a little long, but every once in a while I reread it and thank heaven it never saw the light of day. Until now.
The lo-fi video camera adds ten pounds to my rainbow colored hair. It looks like cotton candy curlicues. Or gay snakes. My red rubber nose glistens in the dark shadows of the alley and the interminable layers of pancake make-up run from the steam.
"Yeah, I know people see the giant feet and red nose and polka dots and they see a monster, but that's not how it has to be." I stare at the camera and try to ignore the pink and fleshy kid holding it. "We don't have to be evil. We have a choice. We all have a choice."
The rain starts to drip and I hold my hand over my eyes; no one wants to see a clown cry.
"You asked me why I do it. Why I'm here. I'm here to put the fun back in funeral. Evil's funeral."
The red light keeps blinking and I keep getting wetter. "Cut, kid."
Carter Rankin puts down the camera and holds it at his side. No one would miss him if he disappeared. The thought strolls across my mind like a Wall Street ticker and I let it wash over me. Addiction means taking the good thoughts with the bad.
"People aren't gonna believe you if you don't let them see what you do." The kid has a doll face, all eyes. Goopy, gelatinous eyes. Eyes that rolled around on the tongue like a lolly. "I know you changed, but the world needs to know. Saying it don't make it so."
My hair droops into my eyes and I brush it back with my orange-gloved fingers. Even the waterproof makeup won't hold up under this rain. I'd looked worse though. "I'm not out here making balloon animals, Carter," I said, spittle spraying his face. It mixed with the rain and ran down his nose. "When I throw a party, people die."
"Bad people, Stitches. The clowns you kill deserve what they got coming."
I honk my horn in Carter's ear. "That doesn't mean I want an audience. I'm cleaning up the streets, kid. I'm gonna stuff as many people like me into a car as I can and then drive it straight to hell. Just 'cause I'm laughing doesn't mean it's fun."
This was one of the first things I wrote when I was trying to find my own personal style. I hadn't thought about writing YA yet. I was actually thinking I'd write some horror. I had a story about a Cupid that murders everyone unlucky enough to fall in love on February 13th, one about a phone psychic who predicts the end of the world, and a really bad one about small town doctor who learns that protect her pregnant patient she'll have to practice placentophagy. But this story, about the clown, was the last and silliest thing I ever wrote in my attempt to be a horror writer. The concept is that all clowns are inherently evil except for Stitches, who chooses to fight his evil nature and kill other clowns instead. Aside from the writing just being bad, it represents for me, a turning point. A signpost in my writing journey that I can look at and say, "What was I thinking!"
I turned to YA after this and wrote two and a half pretty bad books before finally finding my voice and writing The Deathday Letter. I think it's important to be able to look back and see how far we've come as writers. I have this philosophy about life. I may not be happy about all the stuff I've done in my life, I may be embarrassed about some of it, but it all led me to this moment. So I don't regret any of it. I feel the same way about this story. It's bad, it's silly, but it got me to here, and here is awesome.
So next up is the Sovereign of Silly, Cole. Check out her blog tomorrow for more silliness. Have a great holiday season!