The End of the Beginning
Today is the day. I mean, it is THE day. January 21, 2014. The day my debut novel, The Scar Boys, is officially published and on sale.
They — whoever the heck “they” are — say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. As I look back on this journey, I’m sort of mystified that I’ve made it to this point.
This project began as nearly one hundred pages of notes, written in the late 1980s, on my time playing guitar in the punk-pop band, Woofing Cookies. I had no idea what to do with those notes, but I knew I needed to do something. The experience of touring with a band while still in my teens was something special. I felt compelled to figure out how to tell that story.
I no longer have those notes, nor do I have copies of the essays, short stories, and screenplays I wrote based on those notes. They were fun projects, but none were good enough to keep. That’s because it wasn’t my story I was trying to tell. It was the story of every kid who has ever found confidence, friends, and happiness playing music.
It wasn’t until sometime in 2006 — yes, 2006! — after a conversation with a friend at a baseball game that I started to write what would become The Scar Boys. These are the first few paragraphs from the very first draft:
The pilot weaves a slalom course through the early April thunderheads bearing down on Iowa. Yesterday it was the California Coast, verdant hills of the fading rainy season to the east, the deceptively inviting Pacific to the west.
Or some shit like that.
I can’t figure out if I’m supposed to write the way I talk, write the way I think, or try to write with some style; write like a writer and not like a confessor. I don’t have a fucking clue. I just know I need to get this all down on paper.
Not one of those sentences made it into the final draft, or even the third draft. Harry never gets on an airplane. In fact, the Harry in the above passage is a forty-something man on his way to a reunion of his band, The Scar Boys. All of that, thankfully, went out the window at some point. Or more likely, went out the window a little bit at a time.
Many, many people gave me feedback and advice along the path of this journey, and I am indebted to all of them. They helped shape my thoughts about this story, and in some cases, the story itself. Yes, this journey did begin with a single step, and in the end covered many more than a thousand steps.
And every time I looked up, the whole village was walking beside me.
How cool is that?