Where does the inspiration come from?
As any writer can attest, the creation of stories comes from many sources. It can be the unique mix of fantasy and skewered memories for some, and a hell of a lot of research for others.
My publishers at Driven Press noted one such description which popped up in two of my books and inquired on it. It was an old high school memory which found itself woven into the back story of one of my characters. When they asked me I offered this explanation: when I was in high school and struggling with my identity and that daunting process of Coming Out, there was a place that made it easier. In my rustic hometown there was a spot where kids my age would go to party, drink beer and socialize. It was a desolate area and well off the beaten track. At one time it had actually been a true cemetery, and aptly known by the youth in my town, as the ‘Indian Graveyard’.
Many of its residents were in fact early Native Americans, dating back over a hundred years by the rough cut stone markers weathered over time. It was a place where we drank, where we boasted on our futures around a bonfire and escaped the trials of adolescence. Many a virtue was lost in those backwoods. Most in back seat tangoes with burgeoning sexualities risking their first tentative steps. Where nothing wasn’t above the gamble and the young people felt themselves invincible. It was also a place where inebriated kids were picked up by police as they weaved their vehicles home to beat a strict curfew.
I went there to be by myself more than to socialize. I felt terribly dissimilar and isolated from my peers, and all because of a growing understanding I was different than my peers because I was gay and very much alone. One autumn evening while watching a group of revelers down beers around a blazing campfire, the conversation turned abruptly and someone asked me directly if I was a fag. Being over-imbued my own self; I left the fire to sit in a car and listen to the rock & roll blasting from its speakers.
I hadn’t said the words aloud by then and the prospect of outing my life was a bigger jeopardy than one might understand. I turned to see a face of someone I wasn’t all that close too, knocking on the passenger window and saying, “Don’t worry about it Rodd. Nobody here cares if you’re gay or not, we’re just all your friends.”
I didn’t believe him. I feared the worst. Awful possibilities and scenarios danced in my head. I would be tortured, ostracized, bullied beyond imagination. I had seen what that kind of news had done to others before and wiping a stray tear I turned expecting to see my friend, but instead saw a long line forming behind him. A string of people all stood there as if they were waiting to sit on Santa’s lap. They wanted to offer me kind words of support and understanding while all I could do was sit there with astonishment and a slack jaw. Words failed me at that moment in time, and even now I find it difficult to admit. But it was only the beginning of a very different life for me and a place like the Indian Graveyard which had once only held death and isolation, became something very different and new after that…just as I did.