Sometimes, writers hit a wall. It happens to the best of us. I won’t call it “writer’s block”. This frightening tale is an urban legend used to scare young and developing storytellers. Anyone with a work ethic can find a way to put words on a computer screen. Maybe what a person writes is bad, but it can always be rewritten. There’s no such thing as not being able to write at all.
However, at some point, a writer comes to a point where the Well of Imagination from The Mystical Realm of Creative Ideas becomes The Poisoned Waters of a BP Oil Pipeline (See, what I did there? Creative and political!).
What does a writer do in those instances? Everyone has their own way to knock out the cobwebs. Some writers go for a walk. Some writers play video games. Some writers get roaring drunk, and fornicate with the local women (or men).
For me, I like to delve into the weird and strange of local legends. I love studying how an actual event (who knows what really happened) evolved into a legendary scary story told around the campfire.
I would argue it’s this process that helped me develop into a published writer. As someone who didn’t major in English (I had a minor for awhile then dropped it, a story for another time), I’ve trained myself how to be a decent writer and storyteller. My only mentors are either dead (Charles Williams), or people I’ve never met (Stephen King). I never had the benefit of a formal creative writing class.
Living in the Midwest gave (and continues to give) me fertile ground for this sort of rough instruction. The weirdness of my home not only fueled my imagination, but also helped me learn how to write stories that scare people. Ignorant will find this picture of the Midwest a bit hard to swallow. Some view the Rustbelt as boring and not worthy of consideration when it comes to writing.
I’ve been in a bit of a writing rut. It’s not writer’s block, but more like a log jam of ideas. Nothing is shaking loose. I’ve decided to take a bit of a trip this weekend to northwestern Michigan (I live in South Bend) and investigate the story of the Michigan Dogman.
What (or who?) is the Michigan Dogman? What is its story? Why has it become such a living legend in the state shaped like a glove? I’m going to ask you to discover the answers to those questions along with me. Don’t Google it. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to show how this legend and story developed into a modern day scary story.
On Friday, I’m going to take a trip into the wilds of northwestern Michigan, Dogman territory, and see what I can discover for myself.
Who knows, maybe I’ll see the Dogman himself. Or herself. This begs the question, how does one be politically correct in referring to the creature? Dogperson? Dogofdifferinglifechoices? Ah, maybe I’ll figure that out too.
So, follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to get all the latest. Oh, and buy my book, 3 Gates of the Dead from Open Road Media. It’s 1.99 all through the month of October. The sequel, the Dark Bride, comes out April 22.