There’s a friend of mine at work who fancies himself an intellectual. He’s an okay enough guy, but he likes to point out certain things about my reading and viewing habits. He’s sees me reading Stephen King, and he says “I didn’t know you liked trash.” I lend him Brian Keene’s Fear of Gravity. He returns it with a “I don’t really like shallow writers.” I ask him to tape an episode of Carnivale (like I can afford HBO), and he returns the tape by saying “Tried to watch it. Wasn’t impressed.”
So one day he asks me what I write.
I tell him.
“Don’t you want to do something more?”
I’m not an intellectual. One look at my bookshelf, stocked floor to ceiling with an assortment of graphic novels and horror stories, will tell you that I’m not an intellectual. I’ve done my time in the trenches. I’ve read the classics, and I’ve appreciated them. I don’t want to write the Great American Novel, though. I want to write a novel that makes your skin crawl, that makes you have bad dreams. I finished Jack Ketchum’s novel Off Season last week, and I had nightmares every night I read it and a few nights after. That’s an affecting novel.
My hat’s off to those that want to write literary novels in this day and age. They’ve picked a difficult road. All writers have, and I’m content to let the literary walk proud in the sunshine. Me? I’ll be over here…
…Where it’s dark.