Zombie Book Club

Lets talk about Writing | Zombie Book Club Episode 16

August 20, 2023 Zombie Book Club Season 1 Episode 16
Zombie Book Club
Lets talk about Writing | Zombie Book Club Episode 16
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This episode is all about Dan's path as a writer. We're going to take you on a journey that involves new audio equipment, a swampy lawn, and doubling down on mistakes to make even bigger mistakes. Leah even pens a poem about Dan's forthcoming zombie apocalypse novel, so buckle up!

We'll also be exploring my journey to become a writer. My discovery of creative writing in summer school after failing english class, how I used writing in my own teenage rebellion, and how writing is now a way of talking about my traumatic past without actually talking about it. We'll delve into a poignant tale about my mother, who was swindled by a publishing agency, and how this influenced my path as a writer. 

We're going all in with Dan's zombie novel. We'll discuss how my time in the military and my experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have shaped the narrative. We'll examine how I've tried to capture the essence of an invincible enemy and impossible odds. Join me in my dream of writing my zombie novel. My own personal Magnum Opus.

Follow our linktree for social media links, and links to all the places you can find our podcast! https://linktr.ee/zombiebookclub

Speaker 1:

Hey, it's Dan here. I'm sitting here editing the episode and I just wanted to let you know that we're working with some new equipment in this episode and I did my best to correct some of the audio. But there's a lot of like tapping, noises and stuff and if this annoys you, I'm sorry. I already have stuff on the way to correct this, but as I'm sitting here right now, I can't really do anything about it. Hopefully it doesn't bother you too much, because I do really think that this is a pretty good episode and I liked recording it. But if you skip over this one, I Won't hold it against you if the tapping drives you crazy. If you can't make it through this episode because of the tapping, hopefully we'll see you back in the next one. Thanks and on with the show. Welcome to the Zombie Book Club, the only book club where sometimes a book isn't written yet and the writer of the book makes a podcast to talk about the book instead of writing the book.

Speaker 2:

I can hear you in my ears, baby.

Speaker 1:

Hi, I'm Dan. I'm a writer and my job is an endless soul crushing grind, but when I'm not doing that, I'm writing a book that takes place in a zombie apocalypse Wow.

Speaker 2:

Hi Dan. I'm Leah and I am in love with the zombie writer named Dan. In the winter he writes about zombies as fast as he can, for when the snow melts he is no longer free to write about his beloved zombies. He toils and he toils in the hot summer sun while he dumps all the asphalt on to the ground. He gnashes his teeth as he drives 14 hours a day During the zombie apocalypse book. He hopes to one day slay. But soon the ground will freeze and he will be once more free. He will once more be free to write about Scott the mechanic, his favorite zombie. Dan zombies shuffle, dan zombies run, but most of all, when Dan writes about zombies he's having so much fun. But the question I must leave you with a riddle, it may seem is who delights more when Scott bites a child's hand? Is it Scott the zombie or is it really just Dan?

Speaker 1:

I Love your intro, leah, and also I love that Nero was drinking water throughout the entirety of.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I have no idea if that will be there or not, but that was. I wrote that poem in five minutes. That's what you get for having creative writing liner.

Speaker 1:

This is the the writing podcast. We're talking about writing, specifically my writing, but we started with Leah's.

Speaker 2:

And now we know why Dan's the writer and not me.

Speaker 1:

I thought it was great, I think that was a great, great poem that could be a Zombie lean poem a zombie.

Speaker 2:

Oh yes, because we're gonna do a Halloween zombie episode. Yeah, folks, but that's quite a ways away from now.

Speaker 1:

So First things first. We have new audio equipment. We were, we were using like just zoom, like like peasants, I don't know this feels more awkward to actually.

Speaker 2:

You know, it's kind of like when we went from being online buddies yeah, for our years of high school romance on the internet to actually having to look at each other while each other's mouths moved and we were like, what is this? Let's just turn the light off and talk in the dark. That actually happened. Yeah, for us to adjust.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, sometimes it's just easier to turn the lights off, just talk. Yeah, just talk when, when you, when you have a Relationship that blooms out of not being able to use your eyes to know who you're talking to. Sometimes it's nice to go back to that it is, it feels sweet.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the amount of, like, intense eye contact we're making right now, it's very different, but that's not what we're here for. Yeah, we Well, by we I mean Dan did some research and got us a fun little Do-hicky thing so we can sit at the same table.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we have microphones.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, this is our happy 15th birthday. Gift to us. Happy 15th birthday. 15th Well, now six. Is this our 16th birthday? This is our 16th episode. Yeah sweet 16. Well, kinsen year as 15. What, that's what keeps? I thought I was 16 now why?

Speaker 1:

why do girls want Geo Metro hatchbacks for their kinsen year? I don't know, because I don't belong to that culture. Yeah, I mean, I guess maybe the driving age is a different age.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, 16 the sweet 16 is for like other other people. Yeah, I don't know TV shows mostly. Yeah, like when I turn 16, some people from your surprise party.

Speaker 1:

Oh, did they, you did, are you surprised?

Speaker 2:

No.

Speaker 1:

So we have, boy, do we have a story to start off with?

Speaker 2:

that's not about writing no, but it is a story that should be written about.

Speaker 1:

We should be even start. So we live in Vermont. That's a good place to start. Place to start. Yeah, we haven't always lived in Vermont, but we do now, and there's a part of our yard that you don't spend much time in because it's really wet.

Speaker 2:

It's a wet. It's wet and muggy and it's a hill, so all the water is running off from the top. It's not even a hill really, we're on a mountain. Yeah, running from the top of the mountain down to us.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's running down that hill.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and it's rained like literally. I heard that we only had two days in June where it didn't rain. Wow and then six days in July where it didn't rain. Now we're in August and we've had a little bit better luck, but our ground is Extremely waterlogged and we have not been able to mow the lawn because it's been so fucking wet.

Speaker 1:

It's been like a month, yeah and so I was mowing the lawn with our lawn mower, our riding lawn mower, which we, which we have modified to be able to go up and down these hills with agricultural tread tires. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I got stuck. I got really stuck in the bog, like in the part that I had plans, and still have plans, to make a pond, because it Really doesn't need to be lawn, it's so. It's chronically wet. You walk down there, your feet are soaked.

Speaker 1:

It's mostly moss, it's not even grass, yeah. So you know I was like, wow, our little tiny lawn mower that has these upgraded tires Couldn't make it back up this hill. So I think probably the best thing to do is driver and pickup truck down here, mm-hmm, tow out the lawn mower which the truck got stuck.

Speaker 2:

It did, and actually before the truck was stuck. This is very much like the pool Story, which I'm not sure it was episode 14 or 15 that we talked about that, but we talked about it recently. I think it was episode 14. Anyhow, it's very much like the pool where I came out before the truck was down there and I saw the lawn mower Very stuck and Dan trying to get it up and I was like, hey, you want some help? What did you say, dan?

Speaker 1:

No, yeah, I went. I went full hetero and I was like no, we're doing man lawn mower truck stuff.

Speaker 2:

I don't need woman help full hetero man, because I don't think a hetero woman would do that. But yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so I decided back the truck down, which immediately got stuck and it just kept getting worse and worse and worse, and I mean the mud was almost up to the doors, it was really bad.

Speaker 2:

And what was worse was there is like another point where I saw Dan had put the truck back there and that the truck was now stuck. So I came out and I was like Dan, maybe we should take a pause and like think about this and like, maybe, just like, consider some options. And what did you say? Dan, no. And so I thought, okay, this is one of those moments where we could have a screaming match, or I could just accept that he doesn't want my help right now. So I picked number two, and For a minute anyways, and then I watched him try and get this truck out of the mud for five hours with yeah, but I mean for the first, I well, I eventually left because I couldn't watch anymore, but With, like you know, the usual stuff would whatever. And I'm literally seeing these tires Go, yeah, deeper and deeper into the mud and I'm like Dan, it's getting worse. And he was like I've got this, I've got this. So that's what I was, like I need to walk away. I walk away and breathe.

Speaker 1:

I carried out our Like shop floor floor jack. Like these things are not lightweight, they're like 70 pounds and I was just carrying that thing across the yard to jack up the truck and as soon as I started the jack started sinking Wow. So I had to dig out underneath the jack and I had to then Go back across to the other side of the yard and grab a whole bunch of granite like granite pavers or like little Rectangular granite blocks.

Speaker 2:

They're like 12 by 6. Yeah, I 3.

Speaker 1:

I loaded up a wheelbarrow with those and maybe took them up the mountain. Oh my god, I started putting granite pavers underneath the floor, jack. And then I I actually lifted up the truck and started putting granite pavers under the tires and I'm like, oh, I'll just, I'm building a bridge. I can drive out of here, no problem.

Speaker 2:

And where are those trick pavers now? Cuz I, underground, I was gonna say I can't even see them.

Speaker 1:

That's that was. The craziest thing is that there was a point where I was like when are the pavers? It's like quicksand over there and I was. I was at some point digging Beside the tire to like get all the mud away from the tire and I'm hitting rock and I'm like what there's rocks over here? I dig it up, it's the paver. Yeah, push the paver underground To another part of the yard dimension. Yeah, so there was. There was just a breaking point and I just couldn't go anymore and I Realized that there was there's no way I could possibly fix this.

Speaker 2:

This was three hours after I had sent Dana text that said hey, I looked it up and we have triple a and they might cover this. Maybe we should call a question mark. I got no response to the text.

Speaker 1:

Oh, you know, you didn't get my response. No, you sent her a response. Yeah, you know my response was oh god, no, I didn't send it down. Yeah, so we ended up calling triple a and they're like, oh, we're gonna have to get a bigger truck.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, this is not gonna be, this is not count. Yeah that's typical.

Speaker 1:

Triple a situation Like I don't know if you know this, but you're not on a roadside and I'm like, oh, I didn't realize that was the like magical Rule, but apparently it is yeah well it becomes. It becomes less of a toe and more of an off-road recovery. Yeah, that makes sense. So they had to bring out a wrecker, they had to bring out this pulley system that they hooked to a tree, and I mean 24 hours later, with the addition of $500 cash. Yes, they got it out.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I have video evidence of this. So if anyone wants to enjoy, we can, we can share it. I Sure went out both, but I basically went out there. I was like because I said to down, like I love you and I don't think I'm really necessary in this Situation, so I might come out to just watch. And so I went out there, put up a chair, brought my tea out and All of you there were three people doing this and they're like you got any tea for us and I was like, oh shit, I'm an asshole. And I was like, hey, this is my morning entertainment. I paid good money.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, then Leah watched them, heckle, me yes. It was great. Then, when they were done, we went back for the lawnmower. Yeah, they help with the lawnmower, which was very sweet you know it's hilarious about all this is that in the end, we pushed the lawnmower out of the rut that it was stuck in and then just cut a hole in our fence and drove it out.

Speaker 2:

That's a different part of the yard, which is what I should have done in the first place and one of the things I would have recommended if he had just passed, when he, when I said the very first time Dan, do you want some help?

Speaker 1:

Well, you know what I would have said no, I would have said that's a great idea you would have. So I had to give you okay. So today we're gonna talk about writing, now that we got that story out of the way. That heart-wrenching story about man there was. It was a roller coaster. There's a lot of highs, there's a lot of lows.

Speaker 2:

We feel good now, though we can joke about it already, and it literally just got pulled out five hours ago.

Speaker 1:

Enemies.

Speaker 2:

Enemies became friends. Lovers are still lovers. It's touch-and-go. I have a question for you, though, dan, before you get into your writing. Okay, what's the moral of the story? Listen to Leah. She's smart. That's not the moral.

Speaker 1:

The moral of the story is that I should give up way, way before I Want to give up. I Mean I was in the army. I Came from a really poor background. I came from a Situation where I only had myself to depend on and I had no money to correct any of my errors. So I've always had this mindset of like I have to complete everything that I set my mind to, or else it won't get done, and I and I go at it with a Torian stubbornness. Yes, listen to the zombie astrology, infuriating to all around me.

Speaker 2:

Well, I think it's just an example of like I mean, yeah, you've had throughout your whole life, but you don't have to anymore and you also have me, and I'm pretty smart if I say so myself this is a new life for me. But I, I would encourage you to, and folks who have done these things, because we all have these moments Don't think of it as giving up. Thinking of it as taking a pause Before you potentially make it worse, to like really consider all your options. That's, that's the moral of the story for me. I'm gonna put the truck back in the mud.

Speaker 1:

All right, I need to win this battle.

Speaker 2:

I love duking at our marital spats on ours on our podcast, but what's more important and more exciting is that today we're gonna talk about you, dan.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love talking about me and the zombie writer. Yeah, I'm writing a book. I don't know if anybody knows that.

Speaker 2:

I think you've mentioned it a couple times, yeah, yeah what's it about?

Speaker 1:

You know it's a story about people, Scott Friends, friends being being friends. You know the going on Journey, an inward journey oh, there's zombies involved.

Speaker 2:

Bearing the lead there, I see yeah, um, I mean, here's.

Speaker 1:

The thing is that I'm I'm still very this is still very much a work in progress. I don't even know what it's about. To be perfectly honest, I have a lot of interesting things going on that interest me, and I'm just trying to deliver a story that people will enjoy, and it's it's it's hard to it's hard to get there because I don't really have any formal training.

Speaker 2:

No, but you've been working on writing for a really, really long time and I've enjoyed some of your stories that are not appropriate for this podcast. Or are we talking about those? I did not put those in my notes. I'm not saying anything about them.

Speaker 1:

So um, I wrote an outline and it was 12 pages. Oh, good. So, uh, let's just start at the beginning and see where this goes, because this is like a less. This is a more fluid episode today.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

You know I don't really have anything figured out, but I have a lot of stuff to talk about.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm curious. You know, I'm sure there are other writers listening to us, other folks who just love reading and the work of literature, so I think this should be an interesting one, dan, so I'm old.

Speaker 1:

You're not old, compared to some people out there. I'm older he's officially over the hill. I was born in the 80s and I grew up in the 90s and I say that just because that's kind of when I first realized that writing was a thing that somebody could do and you didn't have to be told it was okay to write something Like. You didn't get hired at the writer job. You know Stephen King didn't go to the writer job interview. Be like, I'm a really good writer.

Speaker 2:

Let me write books and like journalism was not a thing you were interested in. I didn't even know what journalism was? I don't think.

Speaker 1:

I think I've watched the news and I just, I'm just like the news. People know the news, they know it and then they tell us so how did you get into writing my mom? So my mom, I don't even know when she wrote it, but it must have been after like 1990, because I remember going to Radio Shack. That was a store that sold radios. Oh wow, radio Shack, let's bring it back. And we bought a word processor. It was a Tandy T2000. We had a 12 inch black and white TV for a monitor. Wow, like this. And it blew my mind because I'm like you hit the buttons and it just comes up on the screen. And had a music program, had an art program, had no mouse, wow. Just keys, just keys for art. I think you could plug in a mouse, but I didn't know what that was.

Speaker 2:

So your mom wrote her book on this Tandy T9000?.

Speaker 1:

Now it's a 9000. Yeah, yeah, she wrote a book. It was called the Light and the Whirlwind and it's kind of. It's kind of a sad story because my mom wrote this book. She wanted to be a writer like her whole life and she was like stay at home, mom, and she's like I'm going to get this computer. This is an investment. I'm going to write a book and this is what I want to do with my life. And she wrote it. And she even wrote a lot of other things like short stories and stuff. She submitted some stuff to Writers Digest and got published. Wow she was in a magazine.

Speaker 2:

Wasn't it Writers Digest? Was Writers Digest, not Readers Digest?

Speaker 1:

I think it was Writers Digest, but they're both owned by the same company. Oh, I didn't know that. So there's Writers Digest and there's Readers Digest Got it, and I think Readers Digest is more popular. But yeah, she got published in that and then found some connections somehow and she was talking to a publishing agency and they're like this is amazing, you're going to be like the next even king. This is going to sell like crazy. People are going to love this book. We need you to give us $6,000.

Speaker 2:

Sounds suspicious.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but it's also like very common practice, especially back then and $6,000 in the 90s.

Speaker 2:

Like, ooh, that's a lot of money.

Speaker 1:

So I do remember my parents having these discussions like whether or not this should be done and so on and so forth. But they decided to take out a loan for $6,000 to publish this book and then she didn't hear from them. She sent the money, she sent the manuscript, she signed the papers and they just ghosted her. And it wasn't until a year later that she finds out that they declared bankruptcy. And since they declared bankruptcy, there's no one to talk to about getting the money back. You're just not getting it back, and I think that really, really crushed her will. She took that as like a sign of like my book is terrible, like these people grifted me, took my money. They were just lying to me the whole time.

Speaker 2:

And that means you want to be a writer.

Speaker 1:

Well, let me know that it was possible to do it. But I knew from that experience that like this is a really hard thing to do. Like there's no, like who knows which one of these people are grifters and which one are the real ones. But I kind of felt like if I was the next Stephen King, I wouldn't be paying them money to publish it, even though that's the common practice is that you front the costs for the publishing of the book. I'm like they should be doing that if they think I'm going to be so successful. But yeah, so that was the first moment when I realized that I could write, and it wouldn't be until, like I was in the fifth grade when I'd write my first story, like first real story that I tried hard on. So I had this idea because I was reading a lot of goosebumps so good and we had a project in school. It was a creative writing project and they're like you get to write a story. I don't even know if they want a scary story, but I wrote one. And because I'd been reading so much goosebumps, I'm like starting to see the patterns, like I'm starting to understand how these stories are kind of put together. So I'm like. So I made the story about a group of friends and one of them's kind of a dork. He wears glasses and he leaves his shit everywhere. Love him. And he's like he's always leaving his stuff everywhere and he's lost his jacket so many times that his mother is like I'm not buying you any more jackets. This is the last one. And also, everybody makes fun of him Like the poor kid. He's like they're like oh, where's your jacket? And he's like I lost it. So they go into the woods and they're playing in the woods and there's a monster in the woods and the zombie no, it's just a monster, it's like it's. It's like a minotaur, almost Okay.

Speaker 2:

I was hoping for like really early zombie days, but cut and paste minotaur, okay.

Speaker 1:

And? And when they're while they're escaping, he leaves his jacket behind. So they escape and he's like I have to go back and get my jacket. Everybody's gonna make fun of me. My mom's not gonna buy me another jacket. I'm gonna freeze, I'm gonna do a catastrophe for a 10 year old. Yeah, I have to go back. So they go back and they find the jacket, and, and, and I think there was another altercation with the monster, but they get away again, okay, and and, and he goes all the way back home and he's he's escaped the monster, they've defeated the evil, and. And then it ends with the monster creeping into his bedroom to get his jacket and he comes in and the kids awake, like watching him come in with a blanket over his nose, like trying to hide, and the monster comes up to his bed and holds out his hand and inside of his hand is the kid's wallet.

Speaker 2:

Oh, what a nice monster.

Speaker 1:

And he said. He said, you should really keep track of these things.

Speaker 2:

Already has a few more.

Speaker 1:

And it had a moral of the story, which was the line that I ended on was uh, be careful, be careful where you leave things, because you never know who will return them. Oh very smart. So I submitted this to my teacher and I didn't hear anything about it. Well, first of all, my mom read it and she loved it and she showed my aunt and my aunt was an English teacher, a high school English teacher.

Speaker 2:

A lot of writerliness in your lineage.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and they thought it was hilarious, they loved it, they thought it was the greatest thing they'd ever read.

Speaker 2:

They thought it should go on the refrigerator.

Speaker 1:

Once it comes back with a grade on it, and so I turned it in and it came back without a grade on it. No grade, no notes, nothing, it just came back to me.

Speaker 2:

I think you should talk about this in therapy as well. This is clearly a really traumatic moment.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, I literally just thought about this as I was writing this, the outline. I'm like, oh my God, this shit happened. But I was a kid so I was afraid that, because I was trying to mimic the goosebumps style, that my teacher thought it was plagiarism and maybe she did, I don't know. I don't know why she didn't grade it, but I never asked her. I honestly, genuinely think that she forgot and it didn't like when my report card came, where everybody else had like six things that they were graded on, I was graded on five things, like it didn't count against me and it didn't count for me, it just wasn't included in my grade.

Speaker 2:

It's very weird.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's super weird and what was your teacher's name?

Speaker 2:

I need to go find her and ask. I don't remember which one that one was you need to hand it back in and say, hey, I need a grade.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I deserve a grade, yeah. So like I kind of lost my confidence in writing after that for like a long time.

Speaker 2:

That's heartbreaking.

Speaker 1:

But later on I would discover that I was really good at faking papers in English. Faking them, yeah, like 10 minutes before it was due.

Speaker 2:

That's not faking it, that's just making it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's making it. Yeah, Well, you got to fake it first and then you make it. Got it? Art of bullshit. My parents got divorced when I was in the sixth grade and took me off of my ADHD medication, so I didn't really do very well at school and that was my fault, because I should have applied myself, as many people with ADHD are told, their entire lives.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that you're the problem.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's not the fact that there was medication a doctor said you needed and you're not taking it anymore. It's you're just not trying.

Speaker 2:

Well, your mom, like just for context, is somebody who's very like, very hippie-esque I would say homestead-y, hippie-esque yeah, not into the. Yeah, not into the the Western Medicines.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and to be fair, it was Ritalin and Ritalin's really bad for you, yeah, but I will say that, like when I was on Ritalin, it was the only time I ever gave a shit about school.

Speaker 2:

So I know you've had other moments with writing like early.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well, so because my parents got divorced, I spent a lot of time in different schools, three different schools, and one thing that was that I did in each of these schools was I because of the way that the book rotation worked for English class, each school assigned the same books that I read in the last school, but it was the first time those kids were reading.

Speaker 2:

That's how you were able to get these papers in.

Speaker 1:

Well.

Speaker 2:

I was also really bored too, because there that is plagiarism. For somebody who is so worried about plagiarism in grade five, I will tell you that you reusing your same papers from the before.

Speaker 1:

Well, I did actually. Oh, I didn't actually do that, but if I was smart I would have kept those papers, especially if I wrote them. Well, yeah, but but because, because I'd already known the books, I'm like I'm not going to read this shit. Yeah, I've read the. I've read the Odyssey like four times.

Speaker 2:

I've never read it once. It's it's all right. Are there zombies in it?

Speaker 1:

There are not. Oh, that I remember disappointment. Do the do Cersei's pigs count? That's kind of like they got transformed into pigs. Anyways, I'm taking a soft track. I was failing English. I had a 56. I was a solid D plus student, but this one that was failing my, my English teacher proposed that I could get a bonus point if I memorized a poem and if it was a two page long poem I could get two points on my final grade.

Speaker 2:

Oh my God, those is she understand. You should not understand your brain. This is going to be easy, okay.

Speaker 1:

And because I'd read read the Odyssey so many times, I knew two facts. One, it's longest shit to. It is an epic poem. It is classified as a poem, it is indeed so. I memorized the first 40 pages of all my God and I recited it in front of class Holy shit, while everybody was reading their books, making sure that I didn't miss a word. Wow.

Speaker 2:

I didn't get the one. I would have hit on you after class. How old were you again this time?

Speaker 1:

I think this was ninth grade, yeah, yeah. So I didn't get 40 extra points on my grade, but I did get a 65. She's like I'm not giving you a 97 in this class and I'm like the rules specifically state. She's like I'm giving you a 65. I'm like fair.

Speaker 2:

You took it, I'll take it.

Speaker 1:

I'll take it. I socked off the whole school season and I'll take this passing grade. Yeah. So my teachers they did not think that I was very smart because I was failing every class.

Speaker 2:

Me and Molly just had ADHD.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and also they one of my teachers I think it was my science teacher she wanted me, she wanted me to be in special ed. So she's not made to the guidance counselor. And the guidance counselor had, so I guess, a psychologist, I don't know who comes to administer IQ tests. Yeah, I don't know. I think I knew at the time because I introduced themselves, but I don't remember that far back. But to their surprise, I tested well into the genius range. So I ended up not going to special ed, even though now that I'm an adult I probably would have benefited from being in that class.

Speaker 2:

You probably would have, because it's not about your intelligence level. It is more about what a specific individual needs. My dad is a special ed teacher and I'm not surprised that a genius also has some challenges. Yeah, that makes sense. Albert Einstein did. Yeah, also I remember being so confused when we started talking because I was in grade nine, you were in grade 10. On ICQ folks, we've not told the story. You're like original online daters right here.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no pictures.

Speaker 2:

No, and no, we were not together since grade nine and grade 10. There's a lot of history, but anyways, I remember thinking you were so fucking smart. The reason I liked you so much was because we would have these really interesting conversations that nobody else was interested in having in my school. And then you'd be telling me that you're getting a D and I was like what the fuck? And it's like somebody who was an obsessive A plus kind of student, like definitely type A for that part of my life. I definitely I did judge you, I'm sorry. Yeah, I was not as evolved of a human as a child.

Speaker 1:

So did everyone else. I'm sorry. Interesting. You mentioned the ICQ days because I mean, I'd always been good at typing, because I did a lot of my homework by typing Right on your Tandy yeah, my Tandy T2000. In fact, in the third grade, instead of handwriting like you have to when you have to do, like you know, writing words, when you're learning what words are like, you had to write a word three times each in cursive and then three times each in print, and then, and some sometimes, you just had to do them alphabetically. I did them on our Tandy. The teacher okayed it. They were like you can just type them if you want, that's fine.

Speaker 2:

As long as you do the homework, you're literally ahead of your time. I'm not sure if they even teach cursive anymore.

Speaker 1:

In 1990, I learned what cut and paste was.

Speaker 2:

Command C, command V. But, more importantly, there was a moment in high school that I know was really key for you, with writing.

Speaker 1:

Well, I was going to say before I get into that, Because we were talking on the internet, an instant messenger. I attribute that to my ability to type.

Speaker 2:

Oh, in a, in a, because because that was, I mean we wrote volumes of books to each other. We did, because we had to get phone cards to talk to each other and they would like run out in like 60 minutes.

Speaker 1:

It's impossible A 60 minute phone call Okay For kids that are listening. You used to have to pay for a long distance, even more so when your girlfriend lives in Canada. Yeah, and you couldn't call her through Skype because that didn't exist yet. No, you couldn't, you couldn't, you couldn't text no, you couldn't.

Speaker 2:

There were no cell, didn't have cell phones, didn't have a cell phone until I was 18.

Speaker 1:

So a 60 minute phone card. I think was like $20.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it was a serious investment. We really liked each other.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and those things run out way faster than you think they will.

Speaker 2:

Yep, so a lot of writing basically. That's really true. I'm also a very fast type of writer. I'm a lot of that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we used to blaze words at each other, but, yes, moving on. What was, what was the thing that you were going?

Speaker 2:

to say the painting, the painting.

Speaker 1:

Oh yes, so 10th grade I failed English because the bonus points for memorizing poems was no longer acceptable as currency on your report card? Damn yeah, mrs Higbee, I think, learned her lesson on that one, and I was very upset to find that I know was responsible for failing English, with no way to make up for that, which was unfortunate, because I'm like, I still remember the Odyssey, so Can you recite it now?

Speaker 2:

It starts with oh that's it. Okay.

Speaker 1:

Like I said, I was in the army.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah.

Speaker 1:

So I failed English and had to go to summer school and a lot of people are like gross summer school. I'll tell you what you sounds horrible, Actually, not as bad as it sounds. Hmm, First of all, the most fun people go to summer school. These are people you can get drugs from.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's probably true.

Speaker 1:

Robert Lampak went to summer school as me. He was from my school. We actually, we actually went all to a different school, conglomerated all of these school systems into one because to make up a whole class. They needed multiple school systems because most people pass.

Speaker 2:

Oh, even for the summer school, I get it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so Robert Lampak. I remember he used to be kind of doughy but in the 10th grade discovered skateboarding and snowboarding.

Speaker 2:

What does this have to do with writing?

Speaker 1:

I'm just telling this story, okay. And he became like an X games guy, you know, like he wanted to do all of the extreme sports. So he convinced us all that he could do a flip, a standing flip. He could do a standing flip on the concrete and we're like, okay, so everybody's out on their smoke break, because that's what summer school is?

Speaker 2:

They let you smoke, oh yeah, we're still okay like smoke outside the doors Maybe not anymore.

Speaker 1:

But, I don't know. We're outside and he's like, okay, I'm going to do it. And he proves to us that he can jump, like his feet can clear a desk. So we're like, okay, you probably do it then. And he goes up and comes down and lands directly on top of his head Okay. And then immediately brushes it off and jumps right back up onto his feet and pretends like nothing happened, never dropped his cigarette and he's just like I'm fine. That is extremely cool. Anyways, that's summer school, and what I liked about summer school and the summer school like, I think, changed my life, because if it weren't for summer school, I wouldn't have rediscovered writing English class during normie school Stupid normies, yeah, the kind that's not during summer was all about book reports, fucking boring book reports, and memorizing what parts of sentence structure is, yeah, which I still don't know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'll be real, your spelling is a little atrocious. I don't know what an adjective is. Yeah, anybody who can notice, I will send you a special surprise if you can notice the thing that is not quite right about our logo that Dan made. All right, keep going. Is there something that right? Just a very small thing.

Speaker 1:

Continue? Very small thing, I just want blank. What am I talking about? Summer?

Speaker 2:

school English class writing changed your life.

Speaker 1:

So in summer school, instead of assigning a book report, the teacher assigned a creative writing project, and one of the exercises to teach us how to write a creative writing project was she showed us a painting called Night Hawks, classic Classic painting Everybody's seen this painting and she told everybody in the class to write a story. And in this story, all you have to do is describe the people. Like just who are these people? Why are they? What are their names? How do they know each other? Do they all come as a group? Are they all strangers? Go, and I'm like easy, everybody. I mean it's clear who these people are. Like, this is a couple, this is a random dude that's working night shift and this is the person beyond the counter Easy, and I didn't think that so many different variations of that, of that scene, could be written and like everybody had a different story and I never considered the fact that the man and the woman that are sitting next to each other might not even know each other. Yeah, they might just be random strangers. They might be coming from completely different parts of town.

Speaker 2:

I'm like I thought that they just came from a party they might be meeting after talking to each other on ICQ for five years.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they could be, except it's like in the 40s. I know I dialed somebody. I've been dialing for years. Do you know how to dial? Just stick your finger in the hole and make tiny circles. Oh that sounds really nice. So I realized that at that point I'm like if I just like have pictures in front of me, or if I think of pictures and try to describe the pictures, I can make a story. And I just started doing that and really enjoying it and I loved just like looking at something and trying to think of all the different ways things could be different. Like I just go out and like I'd see people in a park and then I just try to imagine who these people are and like where they came from, what their stories are.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, your mind is a really wild place, Like I mean, you're a creative Some people have like. My brain is like when are we going to do the laundry? Oh my God, we have to get the roof done. I'm having anxiety about a random encounter I had at work and Dan's like got 800 storylines going on in his head at any given moment. And I am not making that up and I'm like I want to tell you about zombies, yeah Well. So yeah, there was. I remember one moment where we were like sitting on the back porch and you're like wanting to know like the things that I thought about, and I was like, damn it, your brain is so much more fun than mine I have fun in my brain you do.

Speaker 1:

Wrapping up high school, it was my senior year and I like the story and I've told Lea many times, but I'm begging you to sit through this story one more time.

Speaker 2:

Well, it's not for me, it's for the people.

Speaker 1:

But I used to go to this vocational school where I would learn information technology stuff. So I was learning computers because it was the future back then, still is, technically, yeah, I guess. So we're going to lose our jobs. I walk into a place and I'm like I'm a computer man, I know that computers are like, okay, here's minimum wage and also we'll treat you like shit and here's your shitty hours that are gross. But anyways, I have feelings about information technology management. So I went to this. I went to this vocational school that I didn't have to attend high school for like half the day, but then I'd have to like get all of my classes in in the second half of the day, which is kind of how I prefer to do things anyways, because I hated all of like the in between stuff. Like now you go to study hall and I'm like this is a wasted hour. I could be, I could be done with school in four hours if I skipped all this stupid shit in the middle and they messed up my schedule. And every other day I did not have a lunch break because instead they scheduled me for English class. Those assholes and you know I'm a teenager and I am like I have hunger pains by by noon, so they wouldn't fix it. They're like you have to have English or else you can't graduate. So I went to my English teacher and I asked if we could make, if there could be a consideration, if maybe I could take 20 minutes to get lunch and then come to class, right? And she said no, starve, yeah, starve I'm like, but I don't get a lunch break and she's like too bad, come to class, it's more important. So I said to myself I'm gonna take lunch and I will come to class five minutes before the end. Every single day and every single day I skipped English rebel without a car and showed up five minutes before the bell rang and it was almost like rebellion of my own that I would come and I would do all of the work that everybody else was doing the entire hour in about five minutes and then handed it out at the end of the class and just walk out.

Speaker 2:

That is yeah, that'd be infuriating as a teacher.

Speaker 1:

Also as somebody who is trying to get a straight A in English.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, I think like if these are the most rare ones. I was like would we have dated in high school? I don't know if I saw that behavior.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, if you were going for your Regents diploma in my school. What's a Regents diploma?

Speaker 2:

This is an ocean American thing. It's like dog clicky clacking, if you can hear it.

Speaker 1:

The dogs are here. Yes, a Regents diploma was like for like an advanced diploma that had like college credit hours. It looked better if you were applying to colleges to have a Regents diploma instead of a regular diploma.

Speaker 2:

Okay, we have an equivalent, but not worth talking about?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's probably a New York state thing. There was a book report and it was on the book Beowulf.

Speaker 2:

I was really hoping it'd be a pride and prejudice, but okay, oh yeah.

Speaker 1:

Could you imagine? And I had read Beowulf like four times because of previous reasons that I'd mentioned before, you know, skipping Other schools, skipping schools and I'm like, I've read Beowulf so many times. It's such a fucking boring, such a boring fucking story. It's so basic. So I decided and this was 10 minutes before class because I put off the report until then I'm going to write an expletive filled rant, not about Beowulf himself, but based on the book Grendel, which looks at the story of Beowulf from the perspective of the monster.

Speaker 2:

Grendel, there's definitely early monster themes, even if they're not zombie themes.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So I read Grendel and it was pretty great because Grendel is this misunderstood character in this book where it's just a creature in the woods that's just trying to live its life and then Beowulf comes along and kills it and is a total asshole about it. So I wrote this thing and my teacher famously did not give out 100s. She didn't believe in perfection, so the highest grade she would give is a 95. I don't like this teacher, so when she. When she graded these reports she got to me I was fully expecting an F because of all the F words that I used in it. I love that. And she comes up and she gives me a paper with a 100 on it. And she said this was amazing and I wish that everyone would write like this. This had me on the edge of my seat the entire time and I was. I don't you really remember how I wrote it. To be honest, I don't remember anything about it you probably went into like a fugue state.

Speaker 2:

I did, I wrote it.

Speaker 1:

I do remember like being in the zone while writing it and like the words were just going into my fingers as I was like, as I was, like I see Q typing my report, and this also made the other students in the class furious at me and I loved that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I definitely would have hated you more, but I don't know that one where I've been like we need to. I didn't understand what's going on here.

Speaker 1:

I would have found you interesting, I think you know, actually some other students in that class did also feel that way as well. And then the next writing project, they wanted to group up with me to learn my secrets. And then they learned that I didn't have any secrets and they're like wait, so you just winged it. And I'm like yeah, like 10 minutes before class we should do genealogy.

Speaker 2:

There's more writers in your background you don't know about.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, let's find that out.

Speaker 2:

I can attest the Dan is a good writer. I have read a lot of your stuff over the years. I don't really the first thing I read from you in high school, but I know you sent me some things. I send you Bremdl Maybe, I don't know. I mean that's a really long time ago. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I don't know how I could Well, I guess I could have filed. It would have.

Speaker 2:

That would have been an investment of time. Oh, my God.

Speaker 1:

File sharing didn't exist back then. I don't think, I think, no, it could be mad.

Speaker 2:

I remember seeing my first picture of you and it took like forever to download and you had that like frosted tip boy band vibe.

Speaker 1:

I scanned my driver's license because that was the only picture.

Speaker 2:

I mean, we didn't know that there was a word called catfishing yet, but we could have been catfishing each other. So but anyhow I this is. I think it's good that you had early affirmations and that, like you weren't stopped in your tracks because of what happened to your mom and because of that like super fucking weird experience with the doctor, the grade five teacher just didn't grade your paper. That's very odd, especially since everybody else loved it. But what's interesting to me is, like I have a question for you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I know you pretty well Know a lot about your life and all the various like iterations of things that you've done, and I know that you have written like short stories here and there. Some of them we could probably make a lot of money on Amazon with if you were to sell them and others not like that, others just stories that are really good. But I don't really know when you made the choice to write. When you're like I'm actually going to write a book and like in between the I'm going to write a book and this school experience where you got the hundred, like was it just something you kind of casually played with. Like you're like I need to write today and there's monsters in this, maybe there's a zombie or there's a zombie sex scene. I don't know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, the zombies bang, yeah, the. The short answer to that is 14 years ago. The longer version of that is that after high school, I joined the army. Yeah, I joined the army in June of 2001, which means I was in basic training when 9-11 happened. That was a terrible day. Yeah, I, I joined during a time of peace and I graduated during a time of war.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I was the asshole that I was like watching the whole burning building thing being aired live and I was like, oh fuck, dan's going to war. Like that was my first thought.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I remember like family members asking me how I felt about it and like I don't really know how to explain that because it doesn't really change anything. It just means that now, now I'm going to war.

Speaker 2:

So did you write in the military or did you not write? I wrote letters to people, people, not that girlfriend. I wasn't that girlfriend, unfortunately.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Leah and I we've we've been on and off again for like.

Speaker 2:

Since we were 14, 15, I don't know, a really long time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, after basic training was the first time that Leah and I met in New Jersey. Yeah, there's a whole podcast about that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we'll talk about that some other time. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

But that was. That was a very emotionally charged time was scandalous yeah so in the army, that kind of like I just didn't have. I didn't have time, I didn't have autonomy. You know, my time was filled with Marching but you did write letters. Yeah, I wrote home, I wrote to my, my girlfriend, until until Stuff happened. You know, if you've been in the army, you know what I'm talking about. What kind of stuff happened with my girlfriend back home. Yeah, things she might have been doing without you. Yeah, she was in. She was in high school, you know. Yeah, I I think that being in the army and then later being a Civilian contractor for the government, it gave me a lot of fuel to write about, like I didn't have anything to say when I was in high school. That makes sense. I had, I had a will to talk, but nothing to say, which I feel is like the case for most teenagers. And you know from where I, from where I sit now. I feel like if you want to be a good writer, like, have good experiences first.

Speaker 2:

That makes a lot of sense.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, have something to say have something to write about. And my best writing was post, post my travels, yeah, so so for that reason, I don't regret joining the army, because it gave me something to write about, but also Like I don't really want to talk about what happened in the army, for a number of reasons, one of those being that a lot of it's classified, and the other reason being a lot of it's boring. And when I, when I got back from Afghanistan, this was like 2007. I feel like this is like I came back from Afghanistan and I quit my job as a government contractor which is what I was in Afghanistan for and I just I just couldn't anymore. I had a lot of savings, because when you're a government contractor, they pay you a shitload of money.

Speaker 2:

And you can't spend it. You can't spend it in Afghanistan, so I came back.

Speaker 1:

I came back to the States with like 90 grand whole burning a hole in my pocket. Oh yeah, of course, I bought a sports car and I Partied a lot and I drank a lot and I watched a lot of cartoons and an alcoholic haze, did you write? I Not yet, but there is a point and I think it was in 2008 that I just started having these dreams, and I remember one specifically. This is after reading this book that I've talked about before in this podcast, called zombies. It's spelled with an X.

Speaker 2:

X zombies yes.

Speaker 1:

I don't know if the book holds up. But I do remember one thing about it is that they had these zombies that were zombies on a cellular level. Like they had. They had no weakness, didn't matter if you shot them in the head, didn't matter if you ground them in the pulp, they would still try to kill you.

Speaker 2:

Wow, that's not a fun zombie.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I remember just being really compelled by this horrifying idea of this like unstoppable foe, that you were outnumbered by that were just like had no fear as they were coming at you. Which kind of. Now I think back to a lot of my army experiences and it's not that different, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Except for that they're real humans, yeah, not zombies.

Speaker 1:

Well, the zombies were also humans, but well yeah. But, I had this dream and it was in Kandahar. For some reason, we had these, these forward operating bases that were built out of these I forget what the barriers are called. There's these big square blocks, like big Minecraft blocks, filled with dirt, and that's what they build bunkers out of. And I just remember all these zombies coming out of the forest at me, just charging and like if I was just like running up and around the fucking fort, just like just trying to keep the zombies away. It was a stress dream, but when I woke up, I'm like that was stressful and incredible. I love those kinds of dreams. Yeah, stress is a dream.

Speaker 2:

I love those kinds of dreams.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, stress, credible, unstressable, and and you know I've been, I've been consuming a lot of like zombie movies and books and and comics because, like I'm just like chasing this feeling of like that survival moment, this like this moment of panic, as as like you're out, out, out numbered and outgunned and the enemy all around you is invincible, and and what I was, what was available wasn't telling that story for me, it wasn't telling the right story, like even zombies. The book.

Speaker 2:

I just mentioned.

Speaker 1:

Yeah wasn't a perfect zombie movie. It didn't, or isn't a book. It's not a movie, but it didn't. It didn't get every single thing that I was looking for. And then other ones hit some marks that I was looking for and not others. So, like I was, I was chasing these zombie books like for a feeling like like this. It's it's hard to describe and I don't even know if my writing now is getting it. It's like it's hard to define. But I knew then that I wanted to tell this story. So I wrote a short story I shared with my friends, and it took place in a city and it was about this guy that wakes up in a dumpster he has to climb. He has no memory because he apparently fell off of a ladder and hit his head in a dumpster and then woke up, oof, and then and then was the streets were just filled shoulder to shoulder with zombies around that's not a good situation and you know, I'm like I have to write this story. So I did and, um, like I shared it with my friends. On this, on this local motor sports forum, mostly we just talked about cars, so this wasn't a writing forum. This wasn't a zombie forum like here's some zombies. I was like I wrote a story and they're like, okay, and they read it and and one of them liked it so much they drew all of the characters.

Speaker 2:

That's so fucking fun. Yeah, do you still have those? No, I think he kept them, but he showed me. That's so cool.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, so that point was the first version of the book that I'm writing now.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I didn't know that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, my idea for what this book is Is has shifted so much Like pretty much every year I rethink it and I've tried to write it maybe 20 times, and usually I don't get past 20 pages. Yeah, I, because I have ADHD, I'm like I'm like zombie, zombie, zombie, zombie, zombies, zombies. And then I'm like, oh, I want to write a cyberpunk story, I want to write something about vampires. Yeah, I need to grow mushrooms. Yeah, um, there's also a period of my life that I spent learning how to do 3d animation and I was, uh, I was, a youtuber for a little while, and that's that's how I paid my bills. It worked for a little while and then the apocalypse happened and then it stopped working. It's the beginning of the end, yeah, and that led me to like kind of Kind of the chapter where I'm at now, which is I, uh, I decided I had to make a huge change in my life and stop youtube and go to truck driving school A little bit different, yeah, um, you know, if you've ever wondered what happens when a youtuber washes out of youtube, I have an exit plan that works. It's called Switching your job entirely to something where you don't need any experience to do it yeah, three weeks of training and they give you a truck.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, you just you had a mentor or whatever that was handling his hell.

Speaker 1:

Okay, christian, yes, if you're listening. Christian, you're an asshole. You're an asshole and you're not a good teacher.

Speaker 2:

We're okay with one less listener. Well, you know what Christian have the ultimate revenge on christian and just get him to be one of people that's like, brutally mauled by zombies.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, also, I'm gonna send him this podcast. Yeah, he's definitely gonna be mauled by zombies. My story for sure. Uh, we're boss, oh yeah. So I, uh, I got my, my cdl driver's license, and what was great about driving on the open road Was that I had a lot of time to think, yeah and uh, and also I was getting back together with leah. At the time, my whole life was changing and, and leah and I got back together and, uh, I would spend my my home time visiting her in georgia. It was nice, yeah, and when I was on the road, I had a lot of time to think about my zombie story and I, you know, I I like to retreat to this, this story place that I built in my head, this whole world, because, like, there's these characters that are familiar to me and they're going on these adventures and it's like you know it's, it's like the, the walking dead is living inside of my head.

Speaker 2:

It's a different version of it it's yeah, I think it's very different than the walking dead, but you're saying like it's a whole universe of people and Storyline and these people like they feel real in my head, which is like probably schizophrenia.

Speaker 1:

But no, I think. I think all good writers have a small amount of schizophrenia. I don't think we should joke about schizophrenia.

Speaker 2:

I think I don't. I think it's.

Speaker 1:

I think it's similar. I mean, I'll have to do more research about schizophrenia. I don't think it's similar. I think that writing is You've got to have something in you that, like these characters become real, they come almost, become almost personalities that live inside of you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I think that, but I just feel the need to say because I know someone whose mother died from schizophrenia Um, that it is not the same. It's like because you you have been have people in your head as in you have a whole world, but you know that it's not reality, right? That's a very crucial difference. I mean, sometimes I know.

Speaker 1:

Oh god, yeah, yeah. So I mean, that's kind of where I'm at now. And uh, you know, after, after being on the road for a while, um, lee and I didn't want to be apart anymore, so I quit that job and, uh, moved in with Leah yeah down in Georgia, and then she was like we're moving to Vermont.

Speaker 2:

Well, we talked about moving north. That's why I started looking.

Speaker 1:

And uh and I got. I got a job up here in Vermont driving trucks for a, a excavation company, and that's my poem yeah, your poem is kind of outlined. This whole rant a little bit, yeah, but uh, I have the winters off. It's a seasonal job, it's. It's brutal during the summer.

Speaker 2:

Um and summer is actually spring, summer and fall.

Speaker 1:

I'd like it's like from april till the end of november. Summer is eight months now.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we just call it summer. Yeah, I do, I think it's psychologically helps us.

Speaker 1:

Uh, but the. But the winter season, which is about four months, um, I get to relax and cook for Leah and take care of her and also write my book, and it was about two years ago, maybe two half, two and a half. At this point, yeah, I looked at all of these writing projects that I wanted to complete and it was like 15. Oh, my god.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the number of ideas you have versus time in the day is is uh, and I made not helpful.

Speaker 1:

I made the choice like I had to say it out loud that I need to not work on 14 of these and I need to pick one. Yes, or else none of them will see the light of day Ever. They will just live in your brain. They will live in my brain all of them at the same time, thus advancing my mental sickness and Uh, and I'm like I gotta go with the one that I've been trying to write since the very beginning, like way back in 2008, when I had feelings inside of me that could only be expressed Through zombies the desolation of the entire planet and all of society. Uh, replacing all living humans with dead walking zombies.

Speaker 2:

I wonder, if you were in therapy, a part of the emotions wheel you would have to point to. To summarize Happy.

Speaker 1:

How do you feel about everybody being dead and turning into husks of their former selves? Really happy, so happy, yeah, I mean there's, there's a lot to to, really to. Um, there's a lot to look at. Because, like, why do I get those feelings from something that's supposed to be depressing and anxiety filled and scary and like dreary? Like why, when I watch 28 Days Later and it's the beginning of the movie and he's going around yelling hello everywhere and like he goes into the church and yells hello and like three zombies, like whip their heads around and look at them and come stomping up the stairs at them. Why, in those moments, I'm like, yes, I love this, I love this. I wish this was me.

Speaker 2:

I think that you're not alone. There's a bunch of us that are listening to this podcast too. I'm curious if, like, what emotion would you point to? We're going to put this on Instagram or threads? What emotion on the wheel of emotions would you point to when you think about zombies.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, you wake up tomorrow and the zombies are in the streets and everyone's dead. Where are you on the real.

Speaker 2:

I wish to be, like when it's just like alive, primarily alive, because I think that's what you're describing. But it makes me wonder, like and as we talk to more writers who write about zombies, I'll just keep asking them like, why zombies? What does it make you feel? I think that you were kind of pointing at something that's hard to describe.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think deep down there's a story about my life that I want to tell. But I don't want to tell the actual story and I think part of that just becomes is because I don't want people to know my real story. But I want to express the experiences that I've been through through the medium of fiction. I want people to understand what it is that drives me to write and I want them to understand what it feels like to be in some of the circumstances that I was in. But I don't want to do that by just being like the army's hard War is bad.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so the metaphor of the zombie apocalypse is sort of what it is Machine gun goes brap, brap, brap, brap, brap. Yeah, I don't know if you'd be willing to reveal the, the character that you feel is most you in the book.

Speaker 1:

Oh, actually it's a character that I came up with not long ago, teddy the bear.

Speaker 2:

It's like when I tell you that that is an accurate depiction of Dan on so many levels, can you tell me I got a little emotional. I was like you are Teddy the bear in like every, every sense of that, meaning both like super cute, but also super ferocious.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I have this character that I'm, that I'm, I'm still working on it's. It started just as a friend of one of the main characters. And what's what I find interesting as these characters come to life in my mind, is that some people that I thought were main characters are now becoming like side characters, like my main, my main character, who I thought was going to be my, my ride or die main character my. Rick yeah, my Rick of my zombie universe. He's not the main character, he's somebody that shows up every now and then and he's more of like a deus ex machina.

Speaker 2:

That's great, because everybody has a rick in their stories.

Speaker 1:

Let's have some like teddy the bears yeah, because my the, the main character, kind of defeats a lot of the rules that I have for a zombie story. Like I don't think that people that are overly prepared for the zombie apocalypse are very interesting. Characters Agreed. And this guy is a Delta Force operator. So I think it would be a lot more interesting if most of the story we don't know what he's up to. And he pops up every now and then and he's part of the story and we sometimes follow him through the story, but he's he's not the most important character. So, anyways, teddy is a is a a veteran war buddy of this character. That makes a lot of sense and he was injured and and had to leave leave the army. So he went like a different path than my special forces character. So he went into the civilian world and tried to make his way doing that and he's a very different person because of it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm obviously a big fan of teddy the bear. I've got a couple questions for you as we wrap this up, dan. Yeah, the first one is what will you do when you finish writing it? Because it realistically is probably going to take you a couple of years to get this fully finished, unless, like by some miracle, somebody wants to give us thousands of dollars.

Speaker 1:

Give me a hundred, everybody out there listening to us.

Speaker 2:

A secret millionaire.

Speaker 1:

If there's, you know, all that stuff that I said about publisher is at the beginning.

Speaker 2:

Oh, if you're a billionaire, we take it all back.

Speaker 1:

I'll take it back if you want to, if you want to give me an advance on this book. I'm looking for like a hundred grand.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I hate to break it to you, but I think you might get thirty at most.

Speaker 1:

No, I'm not settling for thirty, all right? Oh, what do I do after? Yeah, well, I mean, I see this is a story that can continue.

Speaker 2:

That's exciting.

Speaker 1:

But I don't. I don't want to do what a lot of people do these days and write an incomplete story. A lot of a lot of the stories that I, that I consume now, are meant to be box sets, so like they'll write five books, but book one is not a complete book.

Speaker 2:

Well, that's what I want. To sell the second book, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I know and that's fine. I don't. I don't judge them for it, but I I want to sell something that is a standalone story. You need to buy one book to read one story. Yeah you don't need to buy five books to read one story.

Speaker 2:

But you're going to have. But you, there's still a series sort of inside of you clearly Keep going. That's exciting.

Speaker 1:

That's what I love about like the Walking Dead and, like you know, back back before the Walking Dead, all we really had were zombie movies. Yeah, and those were all one offs, and that was the thing that I hated the most about, like George Romero movies where it's like it's like Don of the Dead was great. What happens to the characters after? Yeah?

Speaker 2:

that's what's hard. Well, I'm excited for that because, like, the dream for us, really, in terms of your, your stream of income, is to like, grow mushrooms yeah, the legal kind, don't you be thinking we would do terrible legal drugs yeah. And also to to write books. I mean, that would be the dream and I hope that we can make that happen one day.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, one day, I have another question for you.

Speaker 2:

So sometimes I don't know if you all have noticed folks who are part of the book club, but Dan likes to kind of harshly critique some of the zombie writers and the books that we read and I think that's fair, like it's an outlet, we're not talking directly to the author and sometimes like it's good to get really real. But I'm just curious, like how do you feel about the potential for a real critique of your book? I will slit their throats.

Speaker 1:

Oh goodness, I don't know. I mean, obviously I don't want somebody to unjustly gut me, but I think I'm just going to read the five star reviews. There we go, so if anybody has anything, negative to say about the book that I complete five years from now. Leave me a five star review, and that's the only way I'll see it. That's smart. That's how you really get me. If you have something scathing to say, leave a five star review.

Speaker 2:

And this brings me to my second last question what is your deepest dream for this book Like? What are you if, like this guy was a little bit? What would you hope?

Speaker 1:

I want people to read it. I want people, I want to hear it like. I want to hear people enjoy it. I want to know that they, that they read what I wrote and that it resonated with them and it was a story that they wanted to hear. You know that, like I, every writer has dreams of, like you know, a JK Rowling fantasy where you become a billionaire off of your shitty wizard school.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, then use it to become a turf, or I think I recently saw a new acronym, which is FART. I forget what it means, though, but I like it better than turf.

Speaker 1:

But you know, realistically I I probably won't even break even on a book like this. I'll probably spend thousands on an audiobook and and thousands promoting it and like the best I can hope for is break even if enough people buy it. But I just want people to enjoy it and if Netflix wants to buy the rights from me, you know I'll take 10 million. I mean, for what is really?

Speaker 2:

good, I know I'm looking at retirement savings and like is this going to mean anything?

Speaker 1:

Also, I'm an executive producer and I have say over all decisions made in the, in the, in the Netflix series not a movie series and I will write all of the future seasons.

Speaker 2:

That's perfect. I'm sure they'll say yes to that. So my last question for you is how many Zeds? Would you rate your book 10.?

Speaker 1:

10 Zeds. Yeah, I mean, as it stands right now, probably nine, but that's just because it's like barely even a rough draft and it's only like the first act. Oh my god, I'm sitting at like a hundred pages, yeah, which is more than I've written for any of my other projects. But the way that, the way that things are going and the way that the story is shaping out in the single space too. You know I'm I'm probably got like 900 more pages to go. Oh my god.

Speaker 2:

I mean, you're going to have to kill some of your darlings. Yeah, I think so.

Speaker 1:

With zombies. Yeah, I mean, that's a great thing about zombie stories is that whenever you're like I don't like this character anymore, you can just kill them.

Speaker 2:

But also, you may have to kill something before they even make it into your book. That's true, yeah, the whole universe can't get into your first. I already have.

Speaker 1:

I've killed so many characters I've I last year I was sitting at 88 pages and then I threw away 60.

Speaker 2:

Oh my god, just because there was a character you're like fuck this character.

Speaker 1:

There's a whole, a whole character group. That's like nope, I mean, I didn't throw it away, they're still there, but I was not interested in what was going on and I'm like this does not tie into my story.

Speaker 2:

I mean, that's what matters is, if you find it really interesting, then somebody will. That's what we were like when we decided this podcast. We were like, well, somebody else probably wants to talk about zombies all day, somebody, so thanks for being one of those people. We love you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I hope you like hearing me talk about my history and writing. I'd like to do episodes like this every now and then, less expositional. In the future. Maybe we'll actually talk about writing. Oh, like the act of writing.

Speaker 2:

The act of writing.

Speaker 1:

Like like how I, how I write what, what inspires me to write, techniques that I use to get ideas and to write better.

Speaker 2:

Well, because of you, I got my rusty, rusty poetry chops out. I wrote you that poem in five minutes. How many zits does it get? No, I'm kidding Ten, ten zits.

Speaker 1:

It's fucking terrible.

Speaker 2:

I can actually write Eleven zits. It was pretty bad, but it was fun to do. I've had it in my head Because it started originally with there once was a zombie named Dan. He'd run as fast as he can and then I'd be like fuck, the tenses don't work, and then I just get stuck there.

Speaker 1:

Like a limerick.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I don't only write rhyming poetry, but for this I felt appropriate. Anyhow, this was fun to learn a little bit more about somebody that I think I know pretty well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I hope people like this episode and if you don't, leave it as a five star review.

Speaker 2:

Perfect. Yeah, we want to hear about how much you hate it with a five star review. Also, we'll post a couple questions on threads and on Instagram because I do want to know about which emotion you would point on the wheel in terms of your thoughts about zombies, and also just really, really excited to hear from the writer community and folks like, whether you are writing just because you love to write or you are a published author, you're still a writer either way. I love the writing community on what your writing story is and if any of you out there are also writing zombie stuff some people I know are. So I think we're ready to finish up. So I think the biggest thing is to just remind you all that you have homework, which I wish we could find a better word than homework. Yeah, you've got a cool book that you're going to read as part of the book. Read the book, read it. Don't do what I do for my other book club, which is download the book five days before the book club date and realize that the audio person who read this book out loud is the most boring fucking human on the planet, and I don't think I can finish it now. Don't do that. But we're going to be talking about the Girl with All the Gifts by MR Carey for our 20th episode.

Speaker 1:

Which I actually really liked the audio book of this they are encouraging. Yeah, I forget what the word is that they use to describe this type of audio book, but they incorporated like mood, music and sound effects into it, so it sounds more engaging. Yeah, I liked it. I liked it a lot. I'm like when it's 10 years from now, when it's time for me to make an audio book, I'm definitely doing that.

Speaker 2:

I can always read I do voiceovers. Hey, if you ever want a voiceover, you can pay me to do it. Yeah, $100,000. One of my side gigs. That's only not $100,000. But regardless, I'm glad to hear that it's actually going to come out, I think, if I'm doing my math right which is questionable, because Dan got D's and everything and I might have gotten a D once in English or not English math and cried really fucking hard about it, but I think it's going to be October 15th, so you've got time, whatever day today is when you're listening to this. As long as it's before October 15th, you've got time to read it, and I'm excited too, because Dan is actually really loving this one. I think it might be an ode to the author a little bit.

Speaker 1:

I've already finished it and I think it's really great. Yeah, I've finished it and read the sequel already.

Speaker 2:

That says a lot. That says a lot and maybe you've already read it. Let us know if you've already read it, but don't. Well, you know it don't spoil it for us, but you could tell us how many zeds you'd give it? And in the meantime, don't forget to subscribe, rate and review wherever you listen to podcasts. If you leave us a zombie tip with five stars, survival tip, anything, we usually read it on air because that's really fun for us. And don't forget to find us on threads on Instagram, anything else I missed.

Speaker 1:

We're on threads Dan's on threads.

Speaker 2:

Oh, and if you're one of the lovely people who said hello to us in a DM and it takes us two weeks to respond, just remember that we have full-time jobs and Dan has like two full-time jobs.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's the equivalent of two full-time jobs.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so we love hearing from you and we may take more time than we'd like in this summer quote unquote summer season to respond.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, also, we might be digging our truck out of the money in our backyard.

Speaker 2:

It's not broken and it's out. I'm just happy. Yeah, and now there's more evidence than we would not do well in the apocalypse.

Speaker 1:

I mean, we got it out.

Speaker 2:

With money.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, not survival skills. That money is a survival skill In the apocalypse.

Speaker 2:

How long will money matter, though it depends on what money is made of. Do you see how impossible we are to even end this episode? We just like dual ADHD hosts.

Speaker 1:

That's it. That's the end. Is it the end? Oh no.

Speaker 2:

I don't want to go.

Speaker 1:

Goodbye everyone. No, don't get bit Okay or get bit, then bite somebody.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay, either way yeah, bye, bye.

New Equipment and a Stuck Truck
The Journey of Writing
Writing Journey and Childhood Trauma
Childhood School Experiences and Writing Abilities
Long-Distance Relationships and Summer School Writing
Strangers and High School Rebel Stories
Exploring the Zombie Story Concept
Emotions and Dreams in Zombie Book
Discussing Writing, Dreams, and Zombie Stories
Threads on Instagram and Survival Skills