In honor of the release of “The Shadows” from earlier this week- and also my first eBook to become available for purchase on Amazon- I decided to take this time to discuss some interesting facts about it. I will go in on how I came up with the idea for it, some influences for it, and other little details regarding it too. SPOILER ALERT for those who haven’t read it, as I will obviously be making references to it. So therefore, if you haven’t read “The Shadows” yet, read it first and then come back and read this.
I first wrote “The Shadows” over a year ago, in March 2013. The idea came about while I was strolling around my college campus one day. The sun was setting and the sky was glowing brightly from it. I was near where the old administration building used to be- before it got imploded last summer- and I made out the silhouettes of people sitting near there on benches, some of whom were talking amongst each other. The appearance of the silhouettes against the brightly lit sky in the background made for an interesting appearance to my eyes, and from there the wheels started spinning in my head. I began to imagine the silhouettes not being people at all, but instead, shadows. What would they talk about, and why at sunset of all times in the day?
From that, one thing led to another, and eventually, I came up with the concept of the shadows being spirits of the sun and how a council of them would meet at the end of each day and discuss their observations of humanity.
I have two influences for “The Shadows;” one of them being Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. I’m a huge fan of his work, having grown up watching a bunch of his films, and like many fans, my favorite film by him is Spirited Away. I really wanted to tell a story that involved spirits, and I found this short story to be a great way of doing so. Besides, when doing a little research on shadows prior to writing, I had actually read how some denominations of Christianity view shadows as the presence of God. So in a sense, I guess I was kind of closer to the truth in that regard than I would like to admit.
The other influence would have to be Native American folklore. Let me just say that I don’t know of too many Native American folktales to really pinpoint a primary influence of such, but I would like to think that the general vibe of some of the stories that I do know helped shape “The Shadows.” It has other effects on the story as well, such as the fact that it’s a council that’s meeting, there’s a Chieftain in charge, and that they refer to LGBT couples as “people of two spirits.”
Usage of Portuguese Language
Notice how there were some words that I used that were not in English at all, such as docente, ele and ela (in regards to the prophets). Those words are Portuguese; docente translating out to be “instructor” and ele and ela meaning “he” and “she” respectably. I’ve always had an interest in different languages- even if I may not be the best person at learning and speaking them- and I really wanted to incorporate that into this story. It just seemed appropriate to do so. (Side note: You’ll actually see more of that in AMW, but more on that later.)
I chose Portuguese specifically because 1. I am of Portuguese descent and I figured it would be a nice way to honor that part of my heritage and 2. I find Portuguese to be a generally beautiful language that I wish I knew more of. Therefore, that’s why I incorporated that in.
Irony of Release after the Isle Vista shooting
I couldn’t help but think of how painfully ironic it was to release “The Shadows” within days after the shooting in Santa Barbara, especially since one of the shadows talks about how they played witness to a shooting. Obviously I never would have expected for another massacre to have happened right before I released this. I wrote this story over a year ago, so no one could have seen this coming. However, in a weird twisted way, it makes my intentions stand out even more. I wrote “The Shadows” partly as a way to call out on the stupid stuff that keeps happening in society nowadays that no one seems to bother to do anything about, and unfortunately, shootings are one of those cases.
What I Hope for People to Take from Reading “The Shadows”
It’s not in the matter of sounding preachy, for many of these lessons I’m still learning myself as a young individual, but I hope that people learn to “see with eyes of reasoning” the way the Chieftain does by the end of the story. People have a tendency to scapegoat specific demographics based on the actions of certain individuals, and that is something that has happened time after time throughout history. Yes, we must acknowledge those of the wrongdoings, but we must also just as much shine a light on those who are doing good in this imperfect world of ours, as the Old Mother implies.
I also hope that by acknowledging the bad stuff in society today, we can take a step forward in the right direction, to make and improve for a better future ahead. I’m sure that would make the Sun Spirits very proud indeed.
The Shadows is now available for download on Amazon. Click here to purchase it today!