Saturday, October 15, 2011

After Lights Out

I'm going to write a series of short story essays. Kind of an author's notes for the stories found in my short story collection.

The first story is 'After Lights Out.'

Set in a private boys school, this story explores the issues of discipline and the generation gap that exists between adolescents and the senior teachers. My family went to boarding school. My brother was a senior when I started at Nelson College. It was very Lord of The Flies. I could write an entire book about it - but it might end up banned. I only went to boarding school for one year. After that my parents decided to move me and my older sister back to a co-ed school in the city we had moved to from the farm I grew up on.

Violence is common in boarding schools. Angry young men in a strict hierarchical system it's quite Darwinian. I broke another kid's leg in a fight. 

Because it's fiction I take the story of After Lights Out to a different level. I like the idea of insanity from the madman's point of view. I think there is a definite sense of clarity in irrational acts. It goes beyond justification - the truly crazy are doing exactly what they know to be right. It's an evangelical state of mind. Everything becomes black and white and the consequences are irrelevant - because the absolute knowledge that you are right.

So we are treated to a clear descent into madness, or senility or is it just the kind of discipline that the youth of today really need? It's the complete calmness of the protagonist that is the unsettling element.

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