Wednesday, August 3, 2016

ON THE WRITING OF ONLY BONES, AND ALL THE BROKEN BONES AND BLOOD AND AMPHETAMINE THAT CAME BEFORE IT

by Daniel Vlasaty

I get into a lot of accidents. It comes with riding a bike in Chicago.

It’s all part of it.

There’s a scar on the back of my hand from the last time I was hit by a car while my bike. I was doored. This lady was getting out of her car and she flung her door open and it clipped me. I went over my handlebars.

There’s another scar on my ankle and one on my ass/hip. From the same accident.

The lady just slowly closed her door and drove away.

It was raining that day and I was already late for work.

I’ve broken two of my fingers and dislocated my elbow. There’s a scar on the back of my head where the hair won’t grow back. And my knees are jacked from riding fixed gear for years and years.

There have been bruises and blood and my bike has been broken into pieces.

Someone rear ended me once and I went over the car and my bike went under it.

I’ve gotten into fist fights with people on the road and I’ve had things thrown at me from car windows. I’ve been honked at and screamed at and this one time a guy leaned out his car’s window and tried to shove me off my bike.

I’ve been chased by the cops and almost hit by a bus and countless taxis and ubers and scooters and just about anything and everything else with wheels on the road.

What I mean to say is that I fucking love riding my bike.

:::::

ONLY BONES is something that I bled over. This book almost killed me, literally, in more than one way.

There’s a lot of me in the main character, Daniel. We share more than just a first name. We also share a love of bikes and drugs. It’s sometimes hard to tell which of these two things I love more. Even though I don’t use anymore.

I’m still a drug addict. It’s something I’ll always be.

It’s a love that will never fully go away. I know this. It’s just something I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life.

Most likely.

But biking, man. There’s just something about it.

There’s something crazy and amazing and beautiful about riding your bike through rush hour traffic in Chicago. It’s a rush.

It’s a game.

You’ve got to be smart and you’ve got to be confident. Or else you’re fucking dead.

When I think about it, it kind of makes sense. My love for both of these things. They kind of go hand-in-hand.

There’s the rush and the speed and the adrenaline.

There’s always trying to do more and go faster and never stop.

It’s the same hustle with both of these.

:::::

I’ve been riding a bike for years. Ever since my wife and I moved back up to the city.

But the drugs came first.

I’m not going to get into too many details but let’s just say that years and years ago one thing lead to another and I ended up with a prescription pad in my possession.

It wasn’t long before I was a full-blown addict.

But none of this matters. Not anymore.

It’s time to move forward and forget about the past.

:::::
   
The idea for the book came to me when I would spend most of my time just riding around the city. Back when I was still trying to hide my addiction from my wife. She was just my girlfriend at the time and I was out of work and doing nothing good or important with my life.

This was years ago. Years before I actually sat down to write the thing.

I tried to write it back then but it came out a mess. I think I was too young at the time. Too new to my addiction.

It would take years and countless failed attempts to get clean before I could write this story.

I figured out that I had to first get clean before I could ever write about using.

:::::

The actual writing of ONLY BONES was a weird experience.

Digging through my past and all the drugs and the pain and the struggle. It did two things: it made me want to use and it made me sad.

I felt that itch, that urge, that took me so long to learn to fight and ignore. It came crawling back to me. And more than once I found myself out on the street with money in my pocket and a hunger burning deep in my gut.

It was hard, man. Let me tell you. It was so hard.

It would have been so easy to just go. To just give in.

But I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.

I told myself never again.

I’ve got things going on now. I’m two years clean (as of July 5, 2016). I’ve got a wife and a good job and friends and family that love and support me.

And I’ve got a kid on the way now, too.

So I can’t fuck around anymore.

I won’t.

I wrote ONLY BONES to move on. Maybe not consciously. Not at first at least.

I just sat down to write it and every little piece of me came out with it.




Only Bones by Daniel Vlasaty is available at Amazon.

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