Jason Hubbard Derr joins the blog to write about challenging another writer (who just happens to be the son of the Stephen King) to the death. When Chris Fisher asked me to do a blog post to help promote my story – "Live Nude Girls" – in the latest issue of Relief my mind jumped to several immediate possibilities. I felt I could talk on a range of topics like:
- The writing life
- How when someone like Neil Gaiman, fantasy author extraordinaire, goes on about not believing in God and then writes stories populated by Gods and uses them as a metaphor to explore human life and the human condition I immediately being to believe that his atheism is not at all what he thinks it is.
- On the nature of being a MA graduate with an MA in theology and most of a BA in creative writing but no job what-so-ever so if you want to hire me to do some freelance writing work please contact me.
In life – as both a human being and as a writer (not all human beings are writers, it’s a much longer process for us) it is important to have a nemesis. If possible one should indicate their nemesis in writing and make several public declarations of the relationship. I should point out that having a Grown-Up-Professional nemesis relationship and, say, a Deep-Wish-For-Harm-To-Fall-On-the-Guy-Who-Made-your-Life-Torture-In-Grades-4-And-5 are much different things.
I am sure that you have already begun to ask yourself: why be the nemesis of Mr. Hill. Because he is Stephen King’s son and had publishing connections from the earliest glimmer of a desire to publish? Is it because in ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ he took what could have been a clichéd King-esq horror novel and instead – through a truly unique lead character – gave us a story that was as much about growing old and taking stock of our lives as it was about past sin? Or is it because he is doing what I want to do with life – writing comics and books (the comic I created but was not allowed to write? Apparently it’s coming out soon!)?
Yes. It’s that one!
But I won’t belabor the point – part of the fun of having a secret nemesis is that you get to keep your funhouse mirror life justifications to yourself in, say, a journal or in mad midnight ramblings.
In the end I feel Joe Hill would be a good nemesis because he seems like a nice guy – that as he ridicules your work he may actually say something nice about it. And I feel he may not agree with my weird pre-Acclaim Valiant Comic book fascination but he would get it.
So, Mr. Hill I want to do what you do: write stories of wonder that plumb the depths of humanity. And I’m a few years behind you. But I will catch up. And, oh lets say in 10 years, I want to challenge you to a Duel-to-the-Death on the top of the empire state building.
But before that – can we get a beer? Maybe poke around a used bookstore and would you autograph my copy of ‘Heart-Shaped Box’?
Jason Hubbard Derr is a theologian, author and independent scholar living in Vancouver, BC with his lovely new bride. Jason is a contributor to PopTheoloy.com, has been invited to submit to an academic journal and will soon see his MA thesis published. He has most of a BA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University and and all of a MA in Theology from the Vancouver School of Theology. Jason's story "Live Nude Girls" can be found in Relief Issue 3.2.