by: K.M. Douglas
Publication: FriesenPress (Nov. 20, 2013)
Length: 98 pages
Length: 98 pages
The year is 2019. The Watchers maintain a state of constant surveillance: guns are outlawed, media is censored, and unmanned drones patrol the skies.
Derrion Parsing is a high school senior and the son of an ex-Army Ranger. Unlike his classmates, he has access to information from the time before the Invisible War, when the government shut down the Internet, reformatting into a propaganda tool. When Derrion attempts to use this information as part of a school project, he awakens to his worst nightmare.
Do Whatever the Voice in Your Head Tells You, Ignore the Other One
by K. M. Douglas
It has always been my dream to be a novelist. The art of writing is the one art that I feel completely at home with. Since I was a child, I have enjoyed writing short stories, and during the turbulent teenage years I took to writing poetry as a form of release and self-therapy. In college, I began to take my writing more seriously, and began to learn about the process of becoming a published author. This was in 1995.
I have always liked to juxtapose the music industry and the writing industry. In music, there have always been hugely popular artists that reached levels of national and international fame in their teens and early twenties. These artists regularly found their strongest voice in their twenties. After that, many popular musicians no longer were at the forefront of their art, or else did not continue to put out new and inspired work. For writers, however, it is much more common for a writer to publish their best work over the age of forty or fifty than it is for them to do so in their twenties.
I had to overcome the self-imposed pressures of comparing myself as a writer with the successful musicians that I looked up to at the time. Once I was able to do that and accept the fact that great works of literature were often written by people older than my parents, I set the goal for myself to have my first novel published by the age of 36, the age that Jack Kerouac published The Town and the City. On the Road did not come out for another seven years after that.
So at that point, in 1995 or 1996, I knew that I was not going to jump right in and publish a serious work of literature. I was self-aware enough to know that I did not possess the maturity at that point to achieve the quality of finished product that I would demand of myself. I always knew that it was important to gain life experiences that could be applied to my writing, as well as allow myself the time to fully develop my writing style, which of course is an ever-evolving process.
Okay,so now that I have all the background established on the writing side of things, I’ll go back to the beginning where I mentioned that in college I began to learn more about the process of becoming a published author and how the publishing business worked, and I will tell you this: I could not have been less excited about participating in that world. To me, the beauty of the art is the writing and reading of it, not the business side of it, and I dreaded the things I was going to have to do to become a published author. And then a funny thing happened: the Internet.
By the time I turned 36 and my novel was complete (it came out a month after my 37th birthday), the world of ebooks and self-publishing had already revolutionized book publishing and distribution. I could not have been more relieved and inspired by the idea that I could independently release my first novel and have the potential to reach the same number of readers as any major publisher’s books. Not only that, but I have the ability to interact directly with the readers on any number of online platforms.
What’s the moral of this story? Do whatever the voice in your head tells you, ignore the other one. As an artist, the only thing you are required to do is to be true to your art, which is the same thing as being true to yourself. Had I focused on trying to write what I thought would be accepted by publishers in the future, I would have never embraced the freedom to create exactly what I wanted to share with the world. I would not have developed the voice that is just now beginning to speak to readers, the voice that I intend to keep developing for years and years to come.
K. M. Douglas grew up in Northeast Ohio and studied creative writing at The Ohio State University. He lives in Rainier, Washington with his wife, cat and two dogs. In the Place Where There is No Darkness is his first novel.