One of the best parts of being a writer is possessing the power of re-writes; wielding the ability to fix the story, to change the beginning, middle or end to suit whatever outcome we want.
Of course, that power only goes so far in real life.
When I was working on the first draft of my novel, Hope Quest book 1: Blackbird, I wrote with my favourite band, Linkin Park, playing in the background. Their frontman, Chester Bennington, was my inspiration for my antagonist, Blackbird, frontman for Meteoric Rise and Hope Quest’s brother. The themes of LP’s songlist made their way into much of the storyline. I watched their videos on Youtube over and over, trying to get a sense of my character and I eventually began to think of Chester and Blackbird (Lennon) as being one and the same.
As I wrote more of the book and developed more of Lennon’s character, I began to feel as connected to him as I had with Chester’s music for most of my youth.
Lennon’s philosophy in the book was a nihilistic one that went hand in hand with Linkin Park’s song In the End in which Chester sang passionately of how “I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end it doesn’t even matter.”
When he took his life on July 20th, 2017, those lyrics became painfully raw and real to me and I felt as though not only had I lost one of my favourite voices, but I had lost a big part of my book as well.
For months I could neither listen to Chester sing or work on Lennon’s story.
When I finally came back to it, I struggled with Lennon’s character, with continuing the story the way I had originally intended it to go.
I had to re-write it.
I changed the ending, I changed Lennon’s fate in order to honor Chester because without him there wouldn’t have been a Lennon and there wouldn’t have been a Hope Quest.
This week, I went and got the tattoo I’d been thinking about for the last two years to honor Chester and all that he meant to me, my life, my book.
A blackbird flies off with the portion of Linkin Park’s logo that the band removed after Chester’s death and I had the title of one of my favourite LP song’s In The End added beside it.
But I did a re-write.
If I could have re-written Chester’s story in real life, I would have in a heartbeat, but all I could do and all I have done is re-write the lyrics to my favourite song, because in the end, it does matter – the things we do, the things we say, the things we create, the way we love each other, honor each other.
Everything we do and everything we leave behind – it matters.
In the end, it all matters.