Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
I’ve been thinking a lot about my reasons for writing Forest Life. This is appropriate as I will soon release it to the world. I was up last night considering the metamorphosis that my life has undergone since I began writing the book. The idea for the book began while I was living alone in a cabin, on Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee. My brain had begun to crack so I embarked on an existential exile into the woods. My heart was broken and I needed to find a way to sustain the will to continue living.
Even after all this time, I still don’t know how to live. There are moments here and there when I understand some of the things that I need to live. I need good friendship. I need to write and I need quiet emptiness. Unfortunately, I still spend too much time thinking about things that make my brain bleed. Sometimes I just think so much that my brain will shut itself down in a futile attempt at self-preservation. I haven’t been able to transcend my frustration and anger for society and its inability to match up with my ideals. My ideals being peaceful coexistence and productive progress. Some people reconcile this sadness by telling themselves that God’s gonna come back and fix things up real nice. I want to believe nice things like restorative theology, but I just can’t. I am understanding of those who subscribe to comforting narratives. I’d rather not see the world as cruel and chaotic, but I digress. Hence, my attempts to understand how I should live in a world that doesn’t make sense.
Although Forest Life is almost entirely fictional, the frustration and struggle of the lead character often mirrors my own irreconcilable sadness and confusion. Existence is a strange thing. It was on a cabin porch in the Tennessee dusk, nearly three years when I realized that my experience was a universal dilemma for conscious freethinkers. And so as the sky grew salty and the winds picked up, the rain began to fall through a halo sunrise and I found my story – the story of Emmett.
Once more I’ve removed myself from the debilitating mess that we call society. I’m currently working on a new manuscript in a farmhouse, in the woods of the great Midwest. The grass is dead brown and the earth is rough. Wildlife roams freely, uninhibited by humans. I’ve spent the last couple mornings fishing alone off a pond in the hills of the Daniel Boone forest. I much prefer the quiet still of the wild. In the wild I’m free to create and sigh and smirk without interruption. There’s no one around to keep score and I find myself less inclined to drink, attempting to alleviate the sorrow I feel in my observation. It’s nice to know that I’ve made some progress since my Forest Life journey began over three years ago.
When I was alone in that cabin in the forgotten town, I had several spiritual experiences. I began to understand myself. I confronted my mistakes. I lamented several self-inflicted tragedies. I struggled to forgive myself and I struggled to accept the memories that I cannot change. Even now, I’m still working these things out. I’m still angry at myself for lying compulsively and inflicting upon myself, the very suffering that compelled me to lie. I’m still angry at myself for letting the loss of loved ones contribute to my future suffering, a suffering that would have been deterred if not for my own fear. Naturally, the character in Forest Life is often struggling with self-deprecation and regret. Alas! There’s so much to work through and so much forgive. There’s a whole lifetime of paradox to rationalize and stories to tell. This is one of the themes in Forest Life. How do we find a purpose that death does not destroy? In a sense, writing Forest Life was an attempt at a solution to this very problem. My purpose is to write about the ruins of my memory and to give meaning to the experience.
When I started writing Forest Life, I was suicidal and drunk because I had lost someone I love to a tragedy. Afterward, my question was this: why love when death and suffering are inevitable? I won’t reveal my solution to this problem, but I do present it in the pages of the book. These are only a few of the issues I grapple with in the story and I hope that you’ll read the story and consciously address your own uncertainty and fear.
Thanks everyone. You can pre-order the book here. I’ve worked hard on this story and it would mean the world to me if you picked it up.