"Guys, it's okay! He just wanted his machete back!"

Or, more appropriately, I want my machete back. And by machete, I mean my writing mojo.

To recap where the hell I've been since my last communique: I sold stuff. I moved. I got a new job. I'm still seeking another one because...well, that would be telling, but it should be utterly obvious.

So, where am I now? Sunny Scottsdale, Arizona. (No, they didn't make a whole new town and call it "Sunny Scottsdale," because that would be redundant.) And just why is Scottsdale so famous or infamous in My Life So Far (TM)?

Let's take a trip back to...I want to say 1997. I was eighteen. That should be right. If it's not, I'll just lie and call it right anyway. Way back in the burgeoning days of the Internet, I followed some fandoms. (Still do, but nowhere near as rabidly.) One of those fandoms was Friday the 13th: The Series. (No, nothing at all to do with the slasher films. Where do people get these questions?) Another was Forever Knight. And right around then, I became involved in still another one: The X-Files. Hoo boy.

Of course, saying I was a fan wasn't enough back then, oh no; in the days of the AOhelL message boards, I felt compelled to follow the lead of others and write my own stories set in those TV universes. Up to when my parents bought me my first computer (1995--stop laughing!), I mostly wrote stories with a good ol' pen and paper, and maybe I'd do something like use an electric typewriter. The personal computer was my first excuse to go totally apeshit and write as much as I wanted without having to actually commit to paper. Saving word processor files was my salvation! And quickly I drafted two short fiction stories set in the Friday the 13th universe. (Don't bother looking for them online. Although you stand an excellent chance of finding them, they aren't representative at all of the writer I've become, and are best forgotten.)

Then I took things a step further. More comfortable in my developing talents, I wrote a Forever Knight short fiction piece. Then I wrote a novella-length Friday the 13th story. (Again, I'd rather you didn't look them up.)

Unsatisfied and possessing even loftier ambitions, I then wondered what it would be like for my favorite characters from two television shows to meet up. Such was the basis for my longest work to that date, a crossover between Friday the 13th and Forever Knight. Thirty chapters. Not bad, right?

Of course, the cliche goes that one thing leads to another, and with the pressures put on me by some of the fanfic establishment, I determined that my next story would be yet another crossover. But not just any crossover, oh no.

I remember looking on the AOL boards and seeing that someone labeled Friday the 13th a blatant rip-off of The X-Files. Nevermind that the former show had aired 71 episodes between 1987 and 1990, a full three years before the latter even hit the air! Well, I would show them. I'd come up with the biggest and best crossover event yet: Friday the 13th meets The X-Files!

In early 1997 I began to write the story. A few chapters fluttered about. The characters met in chapter one, and then quickly parted ways. I introduced a new team of private detectives who were much closer in relation to the "bad guys" of my story. Maybe they were rip-offs of Mulder and Scully, and maybe the woman didn't have to be a redhead too, but c'est la vie. And then the chapters started to pile up. Maybe twenty chapters. And a certain panic set in, because I didn't know where the goddamn thing was heading! (Years later, I had a knowing laugh when watching the film, Wonder Boys, where Michael Douglas' character Grady Tripp finds himself writing the follow-up to his smash first novel, and the page count is in the thousands because he doesn't know where the goddamn thing is heading!)

Then, the story goes, I went on vacation.

To Scottsdale.

And while I was here, well, the final pieces of the story just sort of clicked into place.

True, it took another 36 chapters beyond the twenty I'd written to that point, but I included another character from The X-Files that served as an excellent catalyst, a real reason to spin the narrative in another direction. Alex Krycek was that character. He fit in so perfectly to the story I was telling, about snakes and regeneration (with Alex having just had his arm amputated during season four), it would have been criminal to not include him in the proceedings! And so, I busily wrote several chapters of the story on my uncle's computer and e-mailed them back to myself at home. The story picked up, and it all neatly dovetailed up to the point where I wrote those magical words: THE END. (I later added a question mark, but you get the idea.)

So, you can see why I've wanted to come back here, to Scottsdale, to the sun, to the land where my creativity seems to heighten. (Or maybe it's all in my head?) The only other place where my creativity surged, in direction if not in page count, was State College, PA, where I took some fiction writing classes. But the weather there is horrid at best...

Here I am. I'm in Scottsdale, and I'm prepping for some writing. I've come back to the blogosphere to re-acquaint myself with my craft. I may even chew some bubble gum. Failing that, I guess I could always kick some ass.

But, he says, what I really want to do is write...

...and for God's sake, let's get something of consequence done in the next, oh, 34 days.(*)


* You who really know me, know the significance of 34 days from today.

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