In Gonzo Journalism, the journalist joins hir narrative as a participant. The golden rule of remaining “objective” and “outside” of the reporting is completely violated. Likewise, the Gonzo Novelist must live hir material to find the narrative and then create it for the world’s consumption. In both versions of Gonzo, the prime directive for the writer is to jump into the middle of Life and experience it for all its worth (be a tantric, not an ascetic) because only those who Live can really Write. Those who hide from Life might come up with some interesting fantasy work but it will not be grounded in anything resembling Life because Life doesn’t take place just in mom’s basement.
Real writer’s get into a fight with Life. Often times, that fight can give back more than bargained for. The experiences are never in vain. All experiences are filed under Future Writing Material. That which doesn’t kill you makes you a better Writer. Like the old UFO song says, “I am the Writer and I’m the news. You mess with me, man, you know you’re going to lose.”
It’s talent plus EXPERIENCES in Life that leads to concocting writing that resonates at the level of a universal. I got it into my head very early in this pursuit that in order for me to be able to really write about something, I had to first experience it directly, live it in my body and mind. That’s the only way to really understand something and then write about it with any authority at all.
Since my chosen genre from birth has been action-adventure and seeing how a large slice of the character populations in these kinds of stories come from a soldiering background – it would be a smooth move to enter the world of soldiers by becoming a soldier. I made this life altering decision back in the 1980s. I was a 3rd Bat Ranger in the Iran-Contra era, during the Reagan presidency. My pursuit of genuine knowledge of this life path almost defused and neutralized the original intent: to live and then to write about it. So be careful what you Live for. Don’t let it absorb the original intent.
Over the course of my 20 year infiltration of the U.S. Army I have been a Ranger Regiment infantryman and RTO, jumped out of an air frame over 100 times, been to sniper school, got rejected by Special Forces, got accepted by Special Forces, reported to Ft. Bragg to start my SF training in the pipeline on September 19th, 2001, served 18 months at the Pentagon in the Army Operations Center after graduating SFQC, did stints as an instructor, went to war with the best ODA in the Guard, saw the world, interacted with foreign militaries in foreign lands, and generally took any assignment that allowed me to see another perspective on the huge universe of experience that is being a soldier in the U.S. Army. I NEVER took an assignment just because it was part of proper “career” progression. Remember, I wasn’t there for career points. I was there for experience points – experiences that would be invaluable when I finally sat back down behind the desk and returned to my proper orbit – that of the Gonzo Novelist.
So, if you aren’t willing to shout at the Devil, don’t aim for being a Gonzo writer. If I hadn’t gone on the Quest I’ve been on since the 1980s, I wouldn’t be the writer I am today, with the Area 51 storehouse of secrets and knowledge I’ve squirreled away to cook on a slow simmer in preparation for my Main Event.
GREEN MAJIK is the ultimate result of my fanatical quest to live soldiering to the ultimate pinnacles so that I could write soldiers flawlessly on paper. I think I’ve achieved the objective.