My dreams are mental. Last night I went into a supermarket and squeezed a donkey to see if he was fresh. I woke up laughing once because I was doing stand-up in a room full of women and I made up a joke in my sleep. It was so funny it woke me up and I still remember the joke. Writing Books takes imagination and some level of an ability to communicate the strangest of thoughts, as well as finding the monkey and riding him to the moon.
We are connected and separated as primates to apes and monkeys by the thinnest of margins. Taking just these three groups, human, ape and monkey, we are like strange relatives. We humans are the academics in the trio. We are like the branch of the family where everyone is a doctor or a lawyer, everyone has a posh accent and we all live in the best house. As writers, we are stiff and constrained by rules of grammar and societal conditioning. We need to loosen up a little.
The apes would make lousy writers. They are the cousins who went to the ‘Tech’ rather than university, if indeed they ever got past second level education at all. They are solid, introspective, a little arrogant alphas who would slap you if you looked at their girlfriend. They talk about writing, but for the most part couldn’t really be arsed.
Monkeys? Now they are an altogether different kettle of fish. Monkeys talk about writing too but unlike the apes, some of whom get around to it, monkeys don’t write. They never sit still. Monkeys are furtive, insecure fidgets who are always nervous of each other, outsiders and if they do sit down, they still have to rummage through the nearest other monkey to see what they can find. They are the cousins you are never quite sure whether you should invite to your daughter’s wedding. You just know they are going to turn up half-cut and start singing, say something inappropriate to the new in-laws and at least one of them will pee in the flowerpot outside the door.
But you know what; you also know that without them the party won’t happen. They’ll be the first ones up on the dance floor, dragging even the most bored looking cuttlefish up with them. They will end up singing Tom Jones songs and organising an oops-up-side-your-head chain dance or a rock-the-boat floor show. Because of them, people will say, “Jaysus that was a great night.”
Us poor humans need a bit of monkey to make that journey just a little bit more fun sometimes. Darkly Wood is my ride on a monkey. I am on book two now and I am still enjoying the ride. There is a deep dark heart of fear in the book; it is a love story, a terrifying journey of discovery and a bit of a thrill ride. It is a strange book in many ways, exploring a path that not many writers venture down I think. I have my inner monkey to thank and always I allowed him access all areas. I found him early on, strapped a saddle on his back and rode him to the moon. That’s how you have fun when you write.
If you want to have fun when you write, grab a saddle and look to the trees. If you want to see what I mean or to get a taste of experience through reading, go pick up Darkly Wood…
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Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
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