The idea for Caught grew out of a lore about ’70s drug culture in Newfoundland that I’d heard all my life, stories about pot-smuggling that were tinged with a kind of awe at the sheer audacity and drive of the young men involved. Part gossip, part fact, part tall-tale or dream, these stories were full of mythic quest, innocence and innocence lost. Bravado.
I was also enamored with the idea of loosely following the adventures of Homer’s Ulysses, so there are modern day sirens and shipwrecks, sea monsters and even a Cyclops. I was interested in the notion of adventure — the idea of setting out of the high seas, of being unafraid. Or overcoming mountains of fear, just for the fun of it, for the experience, for treasures of one sort or another.
The older I get the more conservative this country seems to become. The ’70s, in retrospect, seem like much wilder, unfettered times. I wanted my hero to embody that kind of gusto, the sort of mythic zeal of youth; I wanted him to be bursting with ardour.
I was coming-of-age in the ’70s myself, younger than the characters of this novel, but just old enough to be able to perceive a glimmer of the errant excitement. The ’70s will probably always seem like a moment of transformation to me.
And now, in the era of children’s play dates, and surveillance cameras in every corner and crevice, from high school hallways to Google Earth, the growth of the prison industry, economic collapse, the cutting to tatters of the social safety net — considering all of that — it seems wildness has been draining out of the world at a dizzying rate, just as if somebody pulled a plug in a big bathtub.
The boys in my novel are driven by a radical impulse to just plain go for it.
Watch for more guest posts from Lisa throughout the month of June.