Inside The Mind of a Writer: Real Life Experiences That Shaped My Art

I’ve always had an existential view on life and that view permeates through much of my writing. I loved Camus’ “The Stranger,” just as I was an addict to the AMC series, “Mad Men,” about as existential as you can get. And this often brutal but honest philosophy came to me early when I was just eight years old.

At the time, my mother worked in a cookie factory, and one of her co-workers offered to pick up her, my younger sister and I for a Saturday romp to Seaside Heights on the Jersey Shore. How I looked forward to that day. So that morning, with sand pails and shovels and blankets and beach chairs in tow, we trotted down to the pre-designated spot where Mom’s friend would swing by and pick us up.

Only she never came.

After an hour of our futilely waiting and me counting cars as they whizzed by, Mom forced us to face reality and turned us right around for home.

What I learned that day I never forgot and has, rightly or wrongly, guided me throughout my life: never put your faith in other people; always rely first and foremost on yourself; and always, always have a Plan B.

That philosophy has never failed me, and is the DNA behind many of my characters, floundering through life, surrounded by users and abusers, with only themselves to depend on.

Next: My Life as a Hirsute Man