Michael Chiaroscuro (The Seeker) : While writing this character, I had to constantly keep in mind that he was dying. I had to keep in mind the gray hair, the gray eyes, the extreme depth of the observations on all characters. I had to keep in mind that he is the narrarator, not me. This character is fictional, although I constantly get the old, "Hey, Seeker," from close friends who have read my work. As mentioned before in a previous blog, I conjured up the name based on my own name, Michael. Also, in the fictional realm, Michael Chiaroscuro(shades of Gray...I'll get back to that) is presented by "The Muse" the task of writing a novel that will define his own generation, knowing he has a deadline to complete it. Hence, Michael...one who is like God. Chiaroscuro-the shades of Gray. The alias, 'Seeker,' Is exactly what the main character(narrarator) is doing. Seeking America. I had come up with the alias while in a park in San Francisco. I'd usually sit with homeless people, help them with loose change when I could and even when I really couldn't. I learned a lot from these people, especially this particular person who I found feeding seagulls. I sat and spoke to him, telling him about my novel and what not. He asked me the point of my novel and I instantly responded,
"I'm seeking truth."
"Your a seeker of truth," he said while tossing another pinch of bread to a flock of pigeons, the sun framing his face like a saint.
The Big Pharmer: The big Pharmer really isn't a character, he is a symbolic representation of the wrongs I've witnessed caused my Big Pharma corporations who--in my opinion--hand out hard narcotics like folks hand out candy every year on Octerber 31st. Through my personal experiences and observations done while bouncing around the country, I found this to be one of the biggest epidemics in America. I've watched scripted drugs ruin people very close to me, which caused me, out of spite, to make the Big Pharma the main antagonist in my novel.
It would take me two days to explain all my characters in great detail. So instead, I'm going to tell about the trilogy, especially the first of the three that I had recently posted on my blog. When writing the original manuscript, I took the main characters names and highlighted them blue. This was a form of symbolism I used--in an abstract way-- to highlight the major influence Facebook(Bookface ;) has on society in this highly advanced and constantly progressing digital age. It wasn't until after I published the book that I looked it over and realized....Shit! I'm missing something. That's when I included the 'Like' system with the number of likes included. I thought it was very original and yes, I slapped myself on the back and in a very conceited manner said,
While formatting the trilogy, I spent sixteen hours a day burying my nose in all the 1500 + notes I had written in order to perfectly...harmonize my characters. Shredded pieces of looseleaf- even toilet paper when yes, I got an idea in what I consider the least inspiring of places. The recently released novel was like....like an intro. to the characters. I didn't want Chapters, instead I wanted to work with subplots, each subplot a full representation of epidemics occuring in the States revealed through real-life characters that anyone could relate to. Hence-Stables....Each stable a subplot, each subplot a character, each character a mirror image of the epidemic enshrouding them. Then, I had another idea. Why not give them all the same, 'peril' that they all are going to battle with. Like placing a dome over the characters world, forcing them all to interact. That's when I came up with Umbra.
I can't give myself full credit for what I consider the ingenious idea of the moon obscuring the sun, causing a world of complete darkness, which is also an allegory. Think about it....
No. A friend of mine who had gone over my very first manuscript had mailed me the edited/printed copy and one of the first things I read was...."Really think about what Umbra is...." Then, like magic, it appeared. Bless your soul for the inspiration...buddy ;)The most difficult part of the trilogy was threading together all the characters, timing out perfectly when they would arrive and where they would meet. When the entire U.S. is your setting, trust me...it can drive you to drink. Gulp.
The Muse: The dee-jay from W.W.J.D.102.3 The Station in the Sky. The Muse is God, I just decided, in the end, this would limit demographics mainly by referring to a deity. W.W.J.D. was an idea from a bracelet I found in my room. What Would Jesus Do. 102.3 came from my fav. local radiostation. A classic rock station in Erie, PA I rock out to on the daily. I wanted to be clever with this character... I guess we can call him a character although he never really appears other than in the very beginning of the novel. I was reading a lot of Jung at the time and thought...Hm...synchronicity...Fuck yes! He communicates with the characters through the airwaves in a time of complete darkness. I had fun with this.
The second part of the trilogy, which will be available next month, is action packed and gritty right down to the bone. I didn't watch TV for two years, mainly because I feel it prevents me from coming up with original ideas, characters, Ect. I did/do a ton of reading, 2-3 novels a week, mostly for inspiration, but also so I could develop a style unlike the rest. And, I must pat myself on the shoulder once again folks....
The format for this novel is not only completely unpredictable, it is...well....
Brilliant in its own way, I suppose. It is cinematic at points, but I also tried my best to pluck strings where, in more cases than not, I AWED myself--which has never happened before. I'm not going to say anymore. Actions speak louder than words as we all know best. Best wishes to all. B-E-Z.
-Michael J. Milano
Thursday, January 12, 2012
The most difficult part of being a writer-or any sort of artist-is when you can't seem to find anyone who believes in you the way in which you believe in yourself. If you're not Stephen King, Stepanie Myers, or Snookie(WTF), than the odds are you can relate. If so, you know how nerve-racking it is to have to work a full-time job when all it is that you really wish/long to be doing is doing what it is you love...WRITING. If you're still on the level with me, you are also familiar with having to pay bills, scraping just to scrape the surface only to get by, and not having enough ching to invest in your hard-worked...OBSESSION. When embraced by friends that I haven't seen in 'new-moons-gone-old' They'll frequently ask how I'm doing, how's the fam, followed by congratulating me on my recently released novel. Then-they pop the question. "How are the book sales going?" I utterly detest this question, but always unconciously flash that dimple-dotted, pip-pip cheerio face I learned to master while serving tables for four full years. I usually respond with a question and that question goes something like, "Have you finished reading your copy?" If they respond with a 'yes' I instantly become oober excited/grateful and begin telling them of my own personal experiences related to my writing process and how I go about coming up with my ideas and all that other crazy creative shit that comes out of my head. However-if I receive a 'no' I'm quick-draw-quick to tell them(politely)that I'd rather not discuss my royalties whether good, bad, or ogre fucking ugly. Getting off subject, which I- a non-linear fiction writer-sometimes tends to do every here and then NOW. Through this five year process of putting the pen to the pad and the eyes on the 'look-out' I'm come to notice that there is a form of free-flow, feather-afloat freedom that encompasses the art of literature; however abstract and unappreciated it can often be. Most aspiring writers trying to break into the mainstream are most often times faced with depracating, Debbie-did-and-still-does-do-doubled-up-doses-of-downers-like-Dilaudid-like-dragging-like-dumbell-like-deadweight-like-drawl-like question-that-drags- liiiiiiiiike.... 1.) What if you only sell a handful of copies and are never rightfully recognized? What if you end up being one of those...oh...what's the word...Posthumus...I think..you know... You know a little something about those times when your bar buds are out barreling down beers while keeping cool like cowboys smoking Marlboro's and blowing smoke rings in smokeless-free bars while your at home, locked behind a door, penning your thoughts that have yet to only make you pennies. You coin aloud and then pessimistically pen the term, 'penny thoughts'. They knock while saying, "Come out of your cave you fuckin' half-dead, hibernating hermit. Come out and live a little. Get some inspiration. Don't you know that writing is nothing but a hobby, not a j-o-b. Don't get it twisted, son. Are you seriously being serious or are you again being...surreal. GEt Real!" *The clowns can come to town, but my days of going to the circus are out-#'d....son *** My all-time biggest personal pet peeve is when someone rather close to me, such as fam or the type of really close friend who legitimately deserves to be addressed as bro without having to submit to the trend of trying to sound hip or rad or wicked/hella/ultra cool. Call me sensitive- but it hurts most when they comment or opine about my writing when they don't even have the slightest clue to what my book(s) are even about. Sometimes I consider....Nah.... I'll go head and call myself out on my own BS.... Three times on the daily I feel compelled to pack the bare necessities(laptop on top of the list) and just leave all commitments and travel America-this time by foot-jotting down the sights I see, the emotions I feel, the everlasting experiences I encounter and best of all, the good people I meet along the way. But truth be told with honor, your honor. A writer's life is lonely and introspective...I'm rambling. Whether writer, stripper, filmmaker, trucker, or underground tattoo artist who tattoos the taboos of life, we all want to be appreciated for our long labored talents. I too understand that that there comes a time in life when we feel like saying. "fuck it," I can't go any further and I just can't take any more of this...rejection. I like to view these tough times as...well...a refining process. A process that strengthens us, molds us into that better somebody that we strive so hard to be. Hope is the only answer I can come up with and it is hope that I hold taut to while still maintaining a persistant routine that will inevitably make me better at what I love doing...WRITING.