Friday, June 16, 2017

All You Have To Do Is Bleed: Part 2 #OurAuthorGang

All You Have To Do Is Bleed: Part 2


Joe Bonadonna

In 1996 I formulated a 5-year plan: I would go back to writing screenplays instead of prose. If nothing came of it, I'd go back to writing prose again. So in five years I wrote five more screenplays: two eventually grew into published novels, and two became published novellas. I even joined the Chicago Screenwriter's Network, and became a board member for a few years. But although I had placed high in some screenplay competitions, and had some luck in actually getting rejection letters and phone calls, I never sold one of those screenplays. During this period, I moved back home to help my parents, who were both not in the best of health. My Dad passed away from cancer in 1999, at the age of 80. I was not in the hospital room when he passed: I had stepped out to grab a sandwich, leaving him with my Cousin Carmella, his older brother's daughter; she was holding his hand when he died. A few days earlier I had finished my fourth screenplay, and was planning to start another. But the death of my Dad, my best friend, took the wind out of my sails and really tore me apart, and I started to lose heart once again.

Now, my Mom had been very ill for an even longer time, and was getting worse every day. After Dad passed away, I became her caregiver. She was 4 years older than Dad, and although her physical health was bad, she nevertheless retained her sharp wit until the very end. She became totally disabled in 2000 and there was no other option for me but to put her in a nursing home, something I will regret, grieve over, and apologize for until I draw my last breath. On Saint Patrick's Day, 2001, she succumbed to pneumonia. Being half-Irish, I'm sure she planned it that way. Her last words to me were, “I wish your father would come and take this pain away.” I guess he did, because she passed not long after that, while I was holding her hand. I now understand why my Dad waited to die until after I had left his room. He knew I would have to watch my Mom die, knew that I would be holding her hand when she quietly slipped away, and he didn't want me to have to go through that twice. I think he prepared me for the next eighteen months following his death. After my Mom died, I finished my final screenplay, basically “phoning it in.” My heart was no longer into it. I had lost my parents, lost just about everything I cherished. My world was turned upside down.

A year later, in 2001, I sold their house and moved into a condo. I didn't write another word for seven years. It was like someone had turned off a switch in my head. I lost interest and had no more desire to write anyway. All I did was read and watch films.

So let's jump forward to 2008.

I was watching The Maltese Falcon, Kiss Me Deadly, Night and the City, and other film noir movies one night when that "switch" was suddenly, unexpectedly turned back on. I had an idea how to revise an old character and, after reading a lot of Raymond Chandler, knew exactly how I would tell these stories: in first person, in my own voice.

That character was Dorgo the Dowser.

You can read more about my character in my article for Black Gate e-zine, Dorgo the Dowser and Me, at:

My own blog site, The Dowser's Delusions and Creepy Hollow Illusions can be found at: