Disintegrating Heroes

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about disintegrating heroes and their journey towards redemption in a broken world. Reversing ourselves in order to move forward. I realize this seems to be an uneven phrase, or maybe even a contradictory one because a hero is by definition someone who is a savior, strong maybe, someone who builds up rather than tears down. But that’s just the thing–I only know my characters through the reverse process, tearing themselves down to their most base and primal parts, as I only know myself that very same way. This is not to cite changes to character to improve upon a person, but rather living in the past crimes of others in order to fortify the skin of a strong self. I is the only matter that matters and everything else is an element of plot.

More specifically, I’ve spent February splashing around in the cute ideals of loyalty, trust, honor and respect as they pertain to a disintegrating hero’s faculty of peers, a system of idealistic tempers rigged to explode. This is my next novel, still in the pre-writing stages, this rigged temper ready to explode, yet again rooted in the dark shadows of family crimes and crime within the family, pugilistic abuse, a bad network of childhood friends, the ill-shaped notions of every kind of love, and the toxic bonds that tie it all together.

Moreover, I’ve become obsessed with the shift and change of something called truth, an absolute that is anything but. Normal people, I think, never think past the point that we writers are hired scribes of behavior, weighing fact in emotion to find fiction; or working in reverse–subtracting emotion from fiction to find truth. As writers, we see through the smoke screens with absolute clarity. It’s our job to remain both dramatic and cold in order to explore the true nature of things, flawlessly and unapologetically.

Either the former musing makes sense, or Robert Smith from The Cure says it better:

So it’s all come back round to breaking apart again
Breaking apart like I’m made up of glass again
Making it up behind my back again
Holding my breath for the fear of sleep again
Holding it up behind my head again
Cut in deep to the heart of the bone again
Round and round and round
And it’s coming apart again
Over and over and over

(From “Disintegration”)

Keep on.

JRA

About J. R. Angelella

J. R. Angelella is the author of the popular debut novel ZOMBIE: A NOVEL (Soho Press) and a contributing author to the murder-mystery anthology WHO DONE IT? (Soho Teen), benefiting the nonprofit organization 826NYC. His short fiction has appeared in numerous journals, including Sou’wester, JMWW, The Collagist, Literary Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal and The Nervous Breakdown. His short story “Sauce” won the 2012 Short Story Contest held by The Coachella Review. He received a BA in English Literature from Ithaca College and an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College. He taught creative writing at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York City and currently teaches professional writing at the University of Maryland at College Park. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, the writer Kate Angelella.
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