“How Awful Goodness Is”: Novel Writing from Unseen Places

One of my favorite lines in The Crow is when Eric (Brandon Lee) has T-Bird (David Patrick Kelly) duct taped to the drivers seat of his car, as its filled with explosives and aimed at a pier leading toward a harbor.  T-Bird can’t believe Eric has come back to life as The Crow and as he struggles through whimpers he says, “Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is.”

The Crow T BirdMy life is a book, a novel, a place like yours, like everyone’s, where stories are always unfolding.  I’ve said this before.  I write from life experiences.  I write what I know and my work life, like my real life, is what I know.

As you read through my posts you come to understand my novel, Uncle Called Him Spider, was born out of work experiences I had at a previous employer.  Sometimes you walk into a situation and you can’t believe how movie like or novel like the circumstances are.  “It’s like I’m living in a book right now,” I’ve said to myself in these circumstances, and experienced awful actions of supposedly good people.  It can easily make you loose faith in humanity, but ultimately you gain a “realist” perspective of the human condition.  We survive by any and all creative means.  Sometimes survival is a gruesome display of selfishness and greed.

“Redemption is something you have to fight for in a very personal, down-dirty way. Some of our characters lose that, some stray from that, and some regain it.”
― Joss Whedon

Then come in the writers, artists, musicians, painters, sculptors, poets.  We are tasked to be humanity’s lens.  We are the eyes and we bare witness.  I have seen greedy ladder-climbers step on the metaphoric dead bodies of coworkers to gain a few more dollars, to gain a little more prestige, to hold down the heads of their enemies.  And somehow they can look in the mirror and not see the reflection of evil.  Call it a schism, call it psychosis, call it cognitive dissonance.  But these individuals will go to their graves in complete denial about all the damage they’ve done to others.

We artists are prescribed to do certain things with our talents:  to give voice to the voiceless, to equalize a system, to expose the cold, hard truth.  Ultimately, we want to make things fair for everyone, as idealistic as that may sound.  So through our realist lens we weaponize idealism to take back humanity for the disadvantaged.

In it all, we must maintain our own humanity and not become the thing we despise the most.  But is that possible?  In redemption, do we become demons?  Does taking back humanity require the work of reptiles consuming reptiles?  Cannibalism in the metaphoric sense?  But ultimately can we sit by and do nothing, can we watch the powerless be harassed and tormented by the powerful?  Do we have a choice in the matter?  At some point, as writers and artists, do we all become demons?

Support a Native owned Etsy shop, Allies United, where I offer unique merch for allies of social justice movements, like MMIW, Native Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter. Take a look inside my Etsy shop here: etsy.com/shop/AlliesUnited.

(Image is from movie The Crow and borrowed from Cinemagogue) 


    1. Thank you. The title lends to the thematics of the novel and the main character, Dean’s, position in the novel. I’ll be making connection of Kiowa culture and the spider in the novel. It has to do with a cosmology to it as well, with the spider weaving the web of community, like our connection to the cosmos. There’s a lot going on there, but I’ll also make modern culture connections as well, with regard to the treatment of and types of interactions modern Natives have with people trying to coerce us out of our resources (an age old motif that still occurs). But the spider will be a signal to the theme of the novel: Native leaders making space for Native values.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you again.


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