I have always written.
As a small child, I imagined that everyone’s life was a book. This notion probably came from pieces of Western religious teachings strained through the filter of popular music. Or from Santa Claus.
Regardless of how I arrived at the conclusion, it settled into my mind where it could, and it changed to fit my immature neural pathways. There wasn’t one great book that contained all lives, but a different book for each individual. Necessarily, that meant that each of us appeared in other books. It was a vast series of stories that intertwined, and if a particular plot left hanging in one account intrigued the reader, more pieces of the whole were contained elsewhere.
Critically for my later interests, as a child’s conception these were picture books.
I may have only held this belief in the written life for a matter of hours, but the image had staying power and influenced my thinking about story-telling for years to come.
What I believe now is that this fueled my urge to write. If I wrote, I would have control of my life. As I grew older in an increasingly unpredictable environment, control of any kind became essential. That’s beside the current point, however.
The point is that I write. I’ve written comics, poems, songs, articles, strips, and the obligatory unpublished novel; but my first love is the essay, particularly in anecdotal form. I devoured collections of Dave Barry and Mark Twain (and more recently of David Sedaris). My tapes of Bill Cosby’s autobiographical material wore out long before I could acquire digital copies. The craft of turning a random event into an entertaining story involves a delicate mixture of truth and embellishment. It’s a process that applies a filter to reality in order to show it more clearly to an audience that lacks the context to see it directly.
This site, then, contains the truth. Not truth in an objective, scientific sense but in a narrative sense. My truth — varnished, embellished, and amplified to make it easier to discern.
Thank you for reading.
Sean, the Atomic Zombie
PS. If you’re curious about the whole “Atomic Zombie” motif, it’s from a song I wrote about growing up just at the end of the Cold War. Called “Teenage Atomic Zombie”, it is simply a list of true statements about my teenage years, devoid of any explanation or context. It was cathartic to make it, and it was the first song of mine that people seemed to actually like. The idea for this blog came from the song, so…
Btw, the song can be heard for free at the store for my one-nerd band, The Spider Bombs.