File this one under, “FILMS THAT I RENTED AS A CHILD AND THAT SEEPED INTO MY SUBCONSCIOUS ONLY TO HAUNT ME YEARS LATER.” And I can’t even remember much about this film other than a kick-butt protagonist, a genetically modified army, and an evil scientist. Without watching the trailer again, I don’t even know if I’m right about ANY of those elements. But that poster is enough. The title is amazing. And my foggy memory of this film is enough. And the fact that I wrote Domo ArigaDIE!!! under the distant influence of this film–that, too, is enough.
I remember years ago a professor friend of mine said that “creative misinterpretations” of books, ideas, or art can be valuable. Something novel and mind-blowing can come from the simplest misinterpretation of a thing. Maybe my memory of some of these older films, though probably not faithful to their plots, somehow bleed out on the page in a compelling way (hopefully), and in doing so, transform (read: misinterpret) B-grade art into something higher like “B+-grade art.” I’m not sure. Probably never will be. At least it’s meaningful to me.
Domo ArigaDIE!!! came to me in fragments with certain overarching themes weaved in. Remembering Japan and heightening Japan kicked things off: friends, the cities, the food, the language. Not holding back kept things going. Battles that meant something. Twists and turns. Space. Regret. These are the tools I pulled from my toolbox when writing that book. But maybe every book we write is composed of all little things that have stuck with us through the years. Maybe it’s us trying to make sense of what we experienced. Maybe that all changes when we imagine things from the protagonist’s point of view, when we fall into the story and disappear for a little while. I don’t recall having much control over the story. It made itself fit together the way it did. For better or worse.
I’d like to believe that people are capable of superhuman acts. I enjoy the idea of heroes and villains in confrontation with each other. Recently, I’ve been thinking about slashers and horror films. I’m preparing for a new book. In this stage of thought, where the book is yet to be written, the idea of slasher films is so pure. It’s like a mythology to me. A template to live through. I want to become a part of that mythology and write a book that rivals the best slashers out there. But those are films. I want to translate those films into books. Is there an audience for that? It doesn’t matter. Is it fashionable? It doesn’t matter. What matters is expressing what you need to express while you can. That’s also how ArigaDIE!!! felt when I was writing it. This book meant something to me and there is a life bundled between its pages. My life. Alodia’s life.
And that makes it all worthwhile.