The hardest thing about being an artist is to still remain motivated when there's no one patting you on the back. The thing about friends is they always pat you on the back whether you deserve patting or a kick in the butt. In my life I have had one friend like that. The lessons I learned from him have guided my life.
Our friendship was marred by numerous misunderstandings and rivalries, because he was my best friend's dad, and I got put through the ringer because they had all the stuff and all I had was me. My family was not respected. I went to learn from a person who didn't respect my family because my family didn't deserve respect.
My family was a mess of passive-aggressive, bullshit accolades, sexual improprieties, constant fighting, poor barrier structure for individual growth and accountability, but brilliant repartee and great parties full of incredible minds to learn from. It was a much more stimulating place intellectually than the staid security of my friend's house. I was fortunate to be able to straddle both. The instability of a system can make it a wonderful forum for ad hoc adaptability. That's me, the master of ad hoc adaptability. I had to be.
My friend gave me stability, or as much as was possible. He gave me a foundation. He made me a warrior when my family is mostly quislings. Not my Mom. She's a warrior, and I'm now proud to call her my friend. No one had it easy in my family.
You know when people are stealing from you, right? You know when you see the connections happening, but you're stuck because is what you know proof? Do you have to catch them in the act? Different people will tell you different things. So I know my work, my writing has been stolen and yesterday on NPR I hear the premise for some new young adult novel by some Nigerian woman from Harvard, and it's a complete rip off of Marko, turned into a woman, a black woman, taken to some, mythical, African kingdom to tell her tale, not because it makes sense, but because the audience that can be most easily manipulated by these messages is a black audience, and it's all done so politically correctly for a young-adult audience who are eager for heroes who look like them, but behave like the white men who really were the heroes of the past.
They weren't black people, not in western culture, our historical culture, whether you like it or not. There was no black Hamilton and no reason for one to be created except to cater to childish notions of fairness. Hamilton's story is fine for someone of any color. If we're going to be colorblind, why not just tell the truth? Or women. No. They couldn't be Alexander the great and let's not rewrite history to give people a false perspective. Let's show an accurate portrait of history and learn from it. Let's not have the hero be something they couldn't be just because it pleases some fantasy notion of groups that feel history has betrayed them. Men are the great warriors because war was created by men to test manly strength. Yes, women can shoot a gun, an arrow, a cannon, a missile, but in hand-to-hand combat, in raw savagery, we men have you licked. It's how we're wired. How our hormones drive us, for now.
Let's not be concerned with rewriting history. Let's write the future. You want a great woman hero, write the story of Catherine the Great and let her have her thing for horses, if it's found to be true, because what I've learned is that some women just need that kind of action. Let's not just be colorblind, let's be gender blind, and sex blind in our pursuit of historical truth. Let's be language blind and use the real words like nigger, and fuck, and shit, the real words people use in their daily lives to express things they have raw emotion about. Let's grow up and do raw, not dumb down and be dull for Disney.
So I went on my Facebook page where I'm writing my novel, Making Noyes, and I put there the chapter from 1994 where I learn about my magic hands, a trait all of the short Noyes throughout history, men and women, have shared. It just wrote itself and reads beautifully, a perfect intro into the madness I grew up in. A madness I have grown to love as a place to explore my history honestly and with fiction displays of magic, a magic that I have in spades thanks to a friend.