“In the Pit of Marrow” (An Inside Look at Keith Deininger’s MARROW’S PIT)

(The estimated reading time for this is 2 minutes)

“In the Pit of Marrow” © 2014 by Keith Deininger.  All rights reserved.

Have you ever stopped for a moment, looked up, and thought to yourself: What the fuck am I reading?

Well, that happens to me all the time with my writing. What the fuck am I writing? Where does this shit come from? 

Marrow’s Pit is like that.

People keep asking me how I am able to write about things I don’t fully understand.

“How can you not know what’s behind the crimson curtain in The New Flesh? How can you not know the true purpose of the Machine in Marrow’s Pit?”

“I don’t know,” I tell them. “I really don’t.”

“But they’re your ideas! Just make them up!”

Ah, but it’s not that simple. These ideas, for me, are like complex puzzles; they’re a part of something larger, a mysterious mythos that I haven’t quite come to grips with yet.

Some might say I’m being lazy, but that’s really not the case. Writing for me is about discovering possibilities. It’s about unearthing things buried, and sometimes, once the dirt is scraped away, we’re left with some questions answered, but others raised. Stephen King has compared the act of writing to an excavation. He said, “Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world.” I really like how that sounds.

The Machine, the setting in Marrow’s Pit, came out of an old notebook from 2001, an idea from those hazy, early days, whose inception is lost to me now. The Machine is a strange, complex structure of tunnels, hissing engines, and sealed windows that look out on the perpetually stormy sky of the Maelstrom. No one ever leaves the Machine, and there are no longer any people who understand its purpose; they simply keep it running, each individual doing his or her part to feed something larger, something that only blind faith can assure them is positive.

But what happens when we blindly follow? What happens when we accept without question the structures into which we are thrust? I can’t imagine a life without questions, without wonderment of the possibilities. Reality cannot be distilled into a simple mixture of truths. Those who claim they can do so are lying to you and probably themselves. Humanity is faced every day with truths larger than it is capable of fully understanding.

But Marrow’s Pit is not really about the Machine. It is about Ballard, and his very human weaknesses. It is about his relationships and his struggle for understanding. It is about mismanaged love. It is about individual struggle. It is a nightmare. It is about when it all goes bad, the rotten runoff.

Marrow’s Pit is like that.

And who is Marrow? Well, he’s a figure who has been skulking about in my imagination for some time. He appears briefly in The New Flesh, and he is likely to appear again.

All I can say is that I wish you all the best of luck with this one. It’s a fast-paced descent into horror. It’s a nightmare. Welcome to Marrow’s Pit.

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