‘Wow, this is grim’ by Armel Dagorn
I have this thing. It’s not like a problem or anything, but it’s definitely a thing. When I write a story, I more often than not end up with something radically different from what I had in mind when I started writing it, or fiddled with the idea in my mind prior to that. And I don’t mean it in any kind of self-aggrandising ‘we writers are but vessels at the mercy of the muse’s whim’.
I start many of my writing projects thinking this is going to be a funny story. Half the time, I’m right (or so I hope). Very often though, it turns out much more serious than I ever thought it would be. That’s what happened with ‘Some Justice’. I had this character in mind, some kind of a comics-style hobo vigilante, some deluded guy who lived in his Ferrari, something vague, but definitely leaning towards the slapstick end of the spectrum. I suppose I should have seen it coming – what was I thinking?
As soon as I started writing I realised there would not be much untainted fun in this story. How did you end up living in a Ferrari? Of course, silly me, he had to have gone through a fair amount of losing to get there. The man had had a very different life not long before. The local hoodlums were his son’s age, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that the mood darkened fast on his nights’ rounds.
Once again life and its realities had caught up with me and my plans of perfect little comedies. My anti-hero, who I had first imagined to be too outrageously so to let the story veer into the dark side, had turned out to be human.
While mourning the loss of a hilarious modern superhero tale, I was delighted ‘Some Justice’ allowed me to have a shot at a ‘recession times story’. This is tough territory: you don’t want to fall into bad household drama and contrived social relevance, but there is too much material in our troubled times (sob) to let it all lie fallow. It would seem almost wasteful, with so many badly run-down neighbourhoods, so many so-called ‘ghost estates’ at hand, to set our dystopias in decors made up from scratch.
 Usually, I see it. It has happened more than once though that I’d given someone a story to read, only to be surprised by their comments on its bleakness. Once, an editor rejected a story, saying he liked the writing but that overall it was a bit too dark for him. Up to then I’d thought of that story as a bit of a joyous romp.
Copyright © Armel Dagorn, 2015
Armel Dagorn is now back in his native France after living in Ireland for seven years. His writing has appeared in magazines such as The Stinging Fly, Tin House online, Southword, The Penny Dreadful and Popshot. He has a little place at armeldagorn.wordpress.com
Banner image: Copyright © Jo Mazelis, 2015
‘Some Justice’ can be read in Issue One of The Lonely Crowd, which can be bought here.