SHORT STORY: A Lover and A Fighter

SHORT STORY: A Lover and A Fighter

A lover and a fighter. That’s all a man is.

Our world gets destroyed all the time.

Shattered by our choices, the choices of others, or things completely out of our control.

As I drove my car down the broken, empty road, I realized the truth. As a man, I am fueled and driven by only two impulses. The need to love, to build a family, and the need to fight for something.

That one day a year ago, the love I had for so many years was gone. Shattered by so many choices and things outside our control. I thought I would be with her for the rest of my life. I knew what kind of ring she wanted. But as hard as we fought for each other it wasn’t enough. Our love had died. Like our world is now, I was broken and fighting to mend into something that resembled myself.

All I could do then was fight. Not wanton, hateful conflict, or violence for its own sake. I needed to fight for something, some cause, something meaningful. But I had nothing to fight for. I had no hobbies, no passions, I felt no fire inside me though I knew I wanted one. I had been one half of a whole, but she was gone. Now I was just alive.

Memories are your enemy.

As it would happen, the world was really destroyed not long after. It didn’t take long. I’m not exactly sure how it happened. Supposedly The oceans died and crops everywhere failed and food suddenly became a precious resource. In a few months the whole world tore itself apart in hunger. Civilization in all its majesty undone by the most primal of impulses: feed.

I had my cause to fight. It wasn’t a complicated one, but it made me feel alive. I woke up every day with purpose. I was empty no more. I fought to survive, to protect the people around me. They were good people. I only knew one of them before the end of civilization–My neighbor, Keith. He always wore the same hat both before the world ended and after. Black baseball cap with the Red Sox logo. At least he’s consistent. Pretty funny too. He’s a glue guy. Keeps smiles on the faces of everyone when we’re venturing forth under the hot sun, into unknown territory hoping to find friendly faces instead of hateful ones.

These are the kind of thoughts that make me reach for my AR-15 propped up against the driver’s side door just to feel the smooth metal body, just to know it’s there. I don’t like firing it. I don’t like that it is a part of my life. But knowing its there to keep me alive, so that I can use it to keep the others alive when necessary, that’s a feeling I can’t be without.

I had fired it too many times two days ago. We lost Angela in the fighting. Only ten feet from the truck. God, it’s the kind of thing that will drive you crazy.

I don’t know why they opened fire on us, even. Not like we have any food. Not like we wanted to fight them. Unless they wanted us for food. If so, then Angela… No, I can’t think about that. That way lies madness. Only thing we have is what’s in front of us.

But of all the things I’ve seen, there’s one thing I can’t shake. One memory that will not escape me. If it is even a memory, or some ghost of my mind. At this point, I don’t even know anymore. We were passing through this refugee town. We didn’t even stop. We’ve seen them before. Groups of starving people, no will left to fight and nowhere to go. They roam in packs and scavenge for food like old world hunter-gatherers. We drove through the crowd of people who rose to clamor at our truck, but were smart enough not to step in front. Most survivors didn’t think twice of running over someone in their way.

I looked out the driver’s side window and in the crowd I swear I saw her face. I think it was her. It looked like her. Tired, but steely eyed and surviving. At the time I thought it was just someone that looked like her. I didn’t even stop the truck. How could I? But I think… I think it was her. I think I saw the recognition in her eyes when she saw me. But she made no move. She just stared.

We drove on. We still drive on. Every day I feel the urge to turn around and go back. I want to find her. But there is no going back.

Memories are my enemy.

Lover and a fighter. That’s all I am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longview

Longview

Ah, what a classic jam. Sounds like childhood.

If you could picture yourself on the timeline of your life, and you could climb up a great tower and take a longview in all directions, what might you see?

  • Backwards, we can see the path we’ve taken here. Messy, bending, rife with good times and bad. Hopefully more bad than good. This way lies madness. A short look back might bring a smile and some warm thoughts. But the longer you look the more obsessed you become with the choices you made.

 

  • To the left and right, we see what could have been. The places and people we might have gone and met, some catastrophic, some fantastic, some wildly different then what we know now, but probably many that are just different incarnations of our own life. This is a matter of curiosity, of warnings and possibilities, but still it only serves us to consider our choices now.

 

  • Ahead, we strain to see forward, but the fog, the great fog clouds what we can see. We think we see shapes and possibilities, we make guesses as to what is and plan what paths we might take through the fog, but we cannot see clearly no matter how much we try. Still, this is the direction we must face moving forward, pushing blindly into the fog and trusting our reactions and instincts to find one of many right ways on.

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I’ve lived most of my life thinking little of the future, enjoying the present and trusting in myself. I’m blessed to be able to do this, and it is by in large a good thing. But there is a caveat. It is vital, I believe, to be proactive in the present, and to imagine the kind of future-present we hope to have. And to be unrelenting in our pursuit of whatever it is. Our imagination is a weapon used for or against ourselves, and we must use it to envision the truly good and valuable things we want and purse them.

It’s easy to imagine all the things that can go wrong, all the reasons not to do something. But through our imagination of what can be is where we can achieve all great things.

Our lives are some small percent the perception of the present moment around us, and a huge percent all the things we imagine about ourselves; the stories we tell ourselves about our past and our future and what could have been.

Your thoughts can be a weapon used for or against you. Don’t let them cut you so deep you can’t push on. Longviews can be necessary, but don’t linger there too long. There’s plenty more to be enjoyed and done right now.

 

-Evan

 

Passion.

Passion.

What makes a book great?

What makes anything great, really?

There’s a lot of different reasons, with varying degrees of validity. Books, for example, are good when the writing skill comes through in the prose, the storycrafting elements are well executed, and the content of the story is tantalizing, thought provoking, draws you in and makes you actively wonder what will happen next.

But ultimately, what really makes a book, or anything, great, is the passion you can feel in it.

 

Passion is visible, feel-able, through solid wall and open sky from miles away. And I don’t mean specifically romantic passion. Sure, it can be that too, but in this case I mean the internal passion that is not self-serving. It’s not about wanting. It’s about that which means so much that you feel compelled to share it because you don’t know what else to do.

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You can tell the difference between a well-written book and a well-written book that comes from a fire inside the writer. A book that the writer felt in his or her blood, one that screamed in his or her mind to come out, one that grips the heart of the reader in its fist–That book leaves the reader shaken in the best way, thinking about their life and what they love. And hopefully, it ignites passion in those readers.

Passion can be a limited resource. A precious gem, something that can be poured out and take shape, or can wane and be lost, formless and ethereal. It can be given, inspired, which is an act of love and beauty.

Passion is one of the greatest things in life. It’s dangerous, it can be scary, it can consume us in its immolating fire and trigger fear of loss or failure. But still, it is worth it. Passion can take so many forms, and should never be taken for granted, should be hunted and treasured and fought for.

Sometimes I’m writing a story, and I know it’s good, but something feels missing. And I have to step back, and take some time. What was it that burned inside me so much that I took the years to write this series? What was that which boiled my blood and kept me up at night, that surged adrenaline through me just at the thought of the reader taking in the words? That is what I want. That’s what I must continue to write.

That’s the way I want to keep trying to live.

Evan

Fellow Author Shoutout-Craig Martelle

Fellow Author Shoutout-Craig Martelle

Just chatted with my fellow author buddy Craig Martelle today. He started publishing books around the same time I did last year. We started chatting as fellow burgeoning authors and I could tell he was a pretty cool guy.

What I didn’t know, is that he was a writing machine.

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I published two books last year. Pretty good for my standards and writing speeds.

Craig published 20 since then. TWENTY!? I am in awe. Seriously, that is incredible. Want to make a name for yourself self publishing? This is how you do it kids. You write. and write. and write. and write. and write more.

I won’t lie. I’m jealous of that production! Congrats Craig that’s awesome. I’m my dreams I’m that prolific 😀

-Evan Pickering

 

My Guest Post ApocalypticFiction.com “Our Own Destroyed World”

My Guest Post ApocalypticFiction.com “Our Own Destroyed World”

Our Own Destroyed World

Doesn’t it feel like the end of the world sometimes?

For us, I mean. For us as individuals in our own lives. The longer we live, the probability that we make some catastrophically bad choice for ourselves will eventually reach 100%…

Click below to read more!

http://apocalypticfiction.com/guest-post-from-evan-t-pickering-author-of-hood/

We get to live.

We get to live.

These are turbulent times for many of us. Regardless of which side of the election you’ve been on, it has been a tiring process. I’ve been thinking about life, the greater experience, what it means to be on opposite sides, whether we are ever ‘enemies’ or only just people on opposite sides of a divide.

I got to sit and talk about life, and philosophy, and existence with my lifelong friend Eastin today after class. It was something I think I sorely needed–I think we can all stand to take some time, and talk about all that is, all that could be, all that might or might not be true. There’s so much to be grateful for, there’s so much to question and to contemplate.

Let’s not forget that. Let’s not forget to put down the phones and turn off the screens and talk, not contentiously, not to ‘win’, but just talk.

It is of fundamental human importance.

Here was a thought I had today:

We get to live; express ourselves; chase dreams and love people; fight and make peace and keep searching for something in this wild world. What could possibly be more beautiful than that?

I love you all.

Evan

Anticipation.

Anticipation.

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So in case you haven’t heard my barrage of tweets and posts, here’s a giant banner to tell you Tomorrow is the release of WHISKEY.

I don’t even know how to put it into words. Like an emotion sandwich. Anticipation is a magical and terrible thing.

From a totally primal sense, it’s strange to think about the idea of knowing what’s about to happen. Not that we know exactly, but we know generally. It’s a survival tool. Millions of years of evolution.

Now we tend to use it for other things. Excitement as you count down the days until you get to see someone you love again. Dread for fear of some oncoming work. The tantalizing ghost-taste of the food your about to eat as you wait for the server to bring it to you.

In my case, I’m using it to dream up a perfect scenario where BOOK 2 is beloved by all and the series becomes huge, simultaneously while imagining a scenario where no one gives a damn and people think it’s meh and I’m back to the drawing board. Like Schroedinger’s cat, both are true at once right now.

But there aren’t two absolute outcomes.

I think I know what the most likely outcome is.

A good portion of those who read HOOD will read WHISKEY. People will largely love it and be excited for BOOK 3, and some will hate it or find it meh, but overall I will now have two books under my belt and more people will be more interested in the series since it isn’t as much as a ‘promise of future books.’ In short, I’m bettering my career.

I believe in my own writing. I believe in my ability to learn and grow. I believe that the risks I took in my stories are going to be something readers really love–Especially when they see where the story is going.

This is the story I’ve been wanting to tell for years. I take an incredible amount of pride and joy in telling it, and how much people have enjoyed it or hated it so far.

So anticipation is going to do its thing. My mind is going to wonder and wander and try to conjure up the future. But I don’t know what’s gonna happen, nobody knows what’s going to happen. That’s what is awesome about the future.

So as the hours count down, I’m going to enjoy this feeling, and just embrace whatever comes.

Have a good tomorrow peeps, now and always.

Evan Pickering

Six more days.

Six more days.

It’s creeping up now. The day of WHISKEY’s release.

The anticipation of things to come is always thrilling, isn’t it? It’s the unknown, the unpredictable power of uncertainty as it drives us through our lives.

I can’t wait.

I’d really love for life to calm down a bit to let me unwind. Grad school needs to chill the fuck out.

But despite the whirring stress gyro in my head, I try to take the time and pull it all apart at the seams. I think about all the stuff I’m grateful for, all the good things in my life and all the stress kind of just melts away.

It also makes working on stuff way easier when you’re relaxed. Workin’ on shit when you’re stressed is like washing Tabasco sauce out of your eyes with battery acid. Don’t do it.

oh and before I ramble too much:

HOOD is on sale for 0.99$! Get your copy now for a damn good post-apoc adventure that will make you feel all the feels!

and also, Sign up for my mailing list for updates, promos and sales about my books!

Happy Friday peeps. I have it on good authority that Monday is gone forever.

-Evan

Book 2 is Live on Amazon for pre-order!!!

Book 2 is Live on Amazon for pre-order!!!

BOOM.

It’s finally here.

WHISKEY, Book 2 of the American Rebirth Series is now live for Pre-order on Amazon. I can scarcely believe it.

I’m still working on some final editing, so I have the release date set to OCT 27th as of right now. If I get it sooner, I’ll move it up, if i need more time I’ll move it back a little bit.

But this is the home stretch. It’s been about 9 months (insert pregnancy joke here) since HOOD was released, and this baby is finally just about done.

I’m extremely excited. I can’t wait for people to read it. I might just leap out of my bedroom window with pure joy once it’s released. I’ll try to remember not to.

and remember…

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Love and bleary eyes,

Evan Pickering

August Book 2 Update!

August Book 2 Update!

So July has came and went. Damn that was fast.

So, where am I in progress of WHISKEY, BOOK 2 of the American Rebirth Series?

WORD COUNT: 58,000

Good news: The draft is almost done. It looks like the book will end up being around 70K+ words. I should have it done by this month! That in and of itself is a pretty awesome feeling. It took me three years to write the first draft for HOOD. It’ll take me about 3 months for WHISKEY.

Bad news: I only wrote 28,000 words in July. To give myself a break, I have been going through some pretty strenuous crap in my life. So there is that. But reality is, I fell short of my 2,000 words/day goal by a pretty sizeable margin, and I wrote less than I did in June.

I’m starting to think that word-count-hitting is a poor motivator. Aside from feeling satisfied that I hit my goals, it’s still mostly just a weight around my neck. Truth is I write most prolifically when I get in a flow and/or get really excited about the scene I’m writing.

I think I’d be better off just focusing on what gets me most excited about whatever current scene I’m writing. Last night I churned out 2,300 words pretty easily, because I really felt in the groove and felt excited about all the little details.

Anyway, I’m still trying to figure out optimal writing/motivation goals for full-time writing. As of right now, I’m just going to set the goal of having the manuscript done by August 15th. In the meantime I’m going to try and figure out something that makes the day-to-day writing pressure not… well… feel like pressure, lol.

Can’t wait to get it done and published already. I’m really pretty damn proud of how much I’ve written this summer so far.

-Evan Pickering