Tom Pitts raised an interesting point on his blog the other day. (Go ahead. Read it now. What I have to say will make more sense if you have, and it’s probably better than whatever I’ll come up with.) The gist of Tom’s piece is that writing an alternate history may not be as daunting as he’d thought. Just take actual history and tell it however you want.
(A brief digression. I read Tom's novella Knuckleball over the weekend. I'll have more to say about it when i have some time, but, if you haven't read it, you really ought to.)
This grabbed my attention, as I’m playing with the idea of a Western that will, in essence, be an alternative history. Deadwood is the obvious inspiration, as I plan to set the story where the stagecoaches used to change horses on the run from Cheyenne. There’s a town there—Lusk—named after the rancher who donated the land and laid out the streets.
That was to have been the point of this blog, to show how Tom got me thinking about blending reality and fiction into a Western that would capture some of the spirit of Deadwood without either becoming ensnared by its scope, or ripping it off. (Unsuccessfully, of course. Deadwood will always stand as a unique artistic accomplishment.) I’ve been pushing these ideas around in my mind for weeks now as The Beloved Spouse and I watch all three seasons back-to-back, twice through. I thought a blog post would be a good way to work some things out, and Tom had me inspired.
What happened was less serendipitous. The blog post rambled, taking in more unsettled ground with each paragraph. I’ve had a long couple of weeks and a trying weekend lies ahead. So it goes. In life you have to do a lot of things you don’t fucking want to do. Many times, that’s what the fuck life is: one vile fucking task after another. So this is all I got. Read Tom’s post. It’s better than anything I have in me right now. I’ll be ready to go after scratching a couple of things off my list. Pain or damage don’t end the world, you know. Or despair, or fuckin’ beatings. The world ends when you’re dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man — and give some back.
I’ll do better next week.