Thursday, July 17, 2008

And Now Introducing..."The Other Side of Glory"

This week I have embarked on a familiar path on a new journey. I have made up my mind to begin writing my second novel, which I have selected from the many first chapters I have written for multiple potential novels over the years. The story is one that I began writing in 2002, only (like Proud Souls before it) to be discarded after eighteen chapters and one year of work. I didn't like, not my writing style at the time nor where or how the story should be written with regards to point-of-view. I struggled at first with writing the story in First Person--but knowing the story is so close to personal experiences despite being fiction--I felt too many people would assume the novel was autobiographical. That and I didn't want people to look at me weird. I tried writing it in Third Person but couldn't determine who would be telling the story--as in which character. In the end it was a chance conversation with a very good friend of mine by the name of Manny Loya that I discovered (or rather, the story discovered me) the means to open the novel I will entitle: "The Other Side of Glory."

The Other Side of Glory" is my tribute to the time, sacrifices, friendships, dreams and realities of my younger days and my time in the US Marines. Unfortunately, for those of you Hoo-Rah! hard charging Devil Dogs out there or warmongers who appreciate a good military tale, this probably won't be the story for you. I am sticking to my traditional means of writing fiction, using my own flare for enticing an audience, focusing on the struggles of the human condition as I attempt to transform characters as they take the stage in their archetypal roles to create a coming-of-age story of the essence of Good versus Evil.

In my attempt to write this second novel, I must be honest when I say (and every aspiring writer out there should adhere to this warning) it isn't easy nor does the personal satisfaction always outweigh the emotional costs of drawing stories with words. Already in this week I have written an opening Prologue, and on the first night after writing it, I have dreamt the scenes, realizing what was missing in the opening pages. In that initial dream I was introduced (more thoroughly) to the introductory characters, still uncertain how much of a significance they will play. As I have said before, my stories develop in time, as do the characters, and in time--as I succumb to the faint whispers of their voices within my head--they introduce more of themselves and in revealing their secrets and sins, the story becomes more and more complete.

I am going to try something different with this novel. I am going to journal my experiences--mostly the emotional aspect of creating the characters, storyline, plot, etc--in my blog as part of enhancing the experience for the readers. I feel you can get to know me more as a writer, if you know what I am thinking while writing my next book, and perhaps learn to appreciate the completed novel more, when you understand the complexity and emotional turmoil some of us undergo as we (as I am so fond of saying...) draw our stories with words.

So, today I would like to share a (draft) portion of the Prologue to my second novel: "The Other Side of Glory."

I hope you stay with me during the course of this experience, from draft, to thought, to idea, to completed manuscript and ultimately published novel. I think it will be a great experience for all of us and if anything, prove just how crazy I am.

"The Other Side of Glory"

Ask an old man who has spent his years providing a means for his family under the Texas sun to describe the summer heat and he might say it feels as hot as Hell. Ask a State Correctional Officer in the Huntsville prison system and they might say Hell is the place they work, where they clock-in and clock-out in efforts to support a family who will only become disenchanted with them in time, because of the severity by which the emotional turmoil takes its toll on prison workers. Ask a young Marine who has served his country abroad during nonetheless—“peacetime”—and he might say Hell is the emotional state by which men struggle to survive as the natural human instinct to destroy and the condition by which he has been trained wrestles with the notion that he is meant for greater things and somehow he was destined to be the light upon a hill. A beacon of salvation for all humanity. Even still he might say, it is the psychological struggle of the lion borne in each of them, shaken from their bowels, dusted and set loose for all anarchy and rage, only to be caged in spite of the Light they were meant to represent, guardians of peace and justice in an unjust world—the keepers of the very gates of Heaven themselves; He and his brothers might say they were men destined still by the right of their actions to defend a Heaven that will not have them, but instead banish them to the confines of Hell to wage war with the legions of Satan’s army for all eternity.

Somehow that prison guard, that husband and father and yes, even the lowly Marine can at different times all be correct in their interpretations of Hell. It isn’t the existence or the beauty and wonder of Heaven that separates them; on the contrary, their internal faith is the mortar by which they are bound. And sadly, it is the part of their true existence rarely seen or understood because of the external belief and acknowledgement of Hell that seems to pour from their souls.

If you had the chance to ask the man they called Pops, he would have said as passionately as any poet, that Hell was a fictional realm created to scare children, referenced by every religion known under the stars to give balance to their amazing heavens they have portrayed in fantasy, fairy-tale and faith; but in reality, it was a psychological world created within the minds of those who lost their humanity and whose names were scratched from all eternity because of the mishaps created by the demons within the minds of man.; the same demons that drive a husband and father away from his children. It is an ever-present life-force which can drive a man insane, suffocating him and tormenting him to the point where all reality becomes a dream and in an instance, all life passes before his eyes and every story ends the same—behind bars, locked-up and stored away forever—lost to the soul of the world in long corridors of space and in time, altogether forgotten.

And into that same long corridor of the forgotten came two prison guards—one old and one young—escorting between them the State’s newest inmate. He walked with his head down, careful not to make eye contact with any of the other inmates he passed along the way. It was late, so most of the prisoners were in bed, pretending to sleep and others were just beginning their long night of battle with the demons of their minds.

~Bobby Ozuna
Texas Writer & Author
"Drawing Stories...With Words"

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