I have always loved listening to rock music–especially classic rock. I listen to it all the time, even at work (though of course when I’m at work I keep the volume down so my colleagues don’t think too badly of me.) Right now, in fact, as I begin writing this post, I am cranking John Mellencamp’s Scarecrow album. Classic rock plays a fairly important role in “Green Bay Outsiders”, the second story in the upcoming collection of short stories entitled Three Billy Maddox Stories. (The first story, of course, is the already-completed story, “Billy and Darla“).
A few weeks shy of my sixteenth birthday, I watched someone fall off a cliff. He plummeted several hundred feet to his death. The header image above shows the Hudson Highlands near Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY, the town where I was raised. You’ll notice the beauty of it. Images like these help promote the Hudson Valley as a wonderful place to visit or live.
For me, though, the part of this image that I always focus on (not quite visible here thanks to the blog post title I slapped on top if it) is the sheer face of the cliffs since it was from one such face that I watched the man fall.
I might say that tragedy planted the seeds for my future as a writer. I’m sure that segue sounds crude given the gravity of what I experienced (watching someone die) and the conclusion I drew from it (that I became a writer). And you wouldn’t be entirely wrong.
But it is a sad fact that much of what drives great literary writing is the intensity of emotion that comes from truly horrific events.