“Woo-hoo! Did you see that? She killed out there tonight,” praising a performance at a concert.
Close to three years ago, as I was right in the middle of writing the third installment of “World of Deadheads” series of paranormal humor novels ﬁlled with fun-loving ghosts, my niece was killed trying to save a young boy from abuse. I ﬁrst saw her when she was about six months old and knew by the glint in her eyes she would be a handful. Indeed, she was a pistol. I called her my Wild Child and it’s most likely not a secret among the other nieces and nephews that she was my favorite. On the way home from the funeral I decided she had to become a character in the book, salty language and all.
I remember when my maternal grandmother died. In an adjoining room of the funeral home an aunt cracked jokes. In the main room, relatives were appalled at what they viewed as crass behavior. In reality, it was how she processed her emotions.
Obviously, considering most of my ﬁction is about dead people, the majority of them funny, my view of death is that it’s simply a different form of life. The writer’s group I belong to joke when introduc- ing me: “He writes dead people.” I typically follow that up with, “Yes, but they’re funny dead people.”
In the midst of dealing with the killing of 17 students and faculty when a kid opened ﬁre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida, a group of local Las Vegas writers were putting the ﬁnishing touches on Vegas Strong: A Charity Anthology to commemorate the Route 91 Festival horror. But we wanted to offer stories of hope and life rather than sadness, grief, and loss. It’s a collection of stories about Las Vegas which have nothing to do with the tragedy itself. Each one is about a spot in the valley the author ﬁnds unusually beautiful, or a fond memory of a particular experience.
Paul Atreides is a theatre critic and columnist for EatMoreArtVegas.com, and contributor to Desert Companion, a Nevada NPR/PBS publication. The “World of Deadheads,” Book 3, Nathan’s Clan of Deadheads, is the latest in his paranormal humor series; all three are available through Amazon. Current works in progress include Of Monsters and Men (working title), a novel about domestic violence, and Sins of the Fathers, a drama for the stage.
Visit his website: www.paul-atreides.com
Follow him on Twitter: @atreides_paul