You’ve been there. Chances are, you’ve been there today. Scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (heck, even CNN), your senses have been assaulted with click-bait inviting you open a “news story” with a headline that goes something like this: “He thought he was on his way to propose to the love of his life, but when the hearse in front of him slammed on its brakes and the casket flew out the back, you won’t believe what he saw.” Or switch on the TV during the evening news, and risk being assaulted by the crime of the moment: a mass shooting, a serial child rapist brought to justice, a terror attack at a concert.
It’s all just too much. In the words of kids these days, sometimes “I just can’t even.”
We have landed smack-dab in the middle of a society that revels in the lurid details of the most heinous tragedies the world has seen this side of the Roman Empire. Tragedy is the pornography of the masses.
And what’s worse? We seem to own it. Maybe it’s because it has become so pervasive in our world that we feel we have no choice but to wade into the dark tidal basin of disaster and let the swirling waters of the cesspool of the darkest side of humanity wash over us.
But I have another theory why we feel the need to indulge our consumption of the “worst of the worst of the worst.” By allowing ourselves the guilty pleasure of reading or viewing stories that parade the most blatant examples of humanity’s most despicable depravity, we anesthetize ourselves to our own wickedness.
Sensationalism fatigue serves to convince us that our version of moral bankruptcy is somehow more palatable and less foul than the rancid human horrors to which we expose ourselves.
The Seeds of Devastation
I don’t personally know any serial child molesters. Or, perhaps the better way to say it is this: I don’t personally believe I know any serial child molesters. I mean, who knows these days, right? In spite of the fact that I don’t have someone to interview, I can say with some certainty that in nearly every case, a child molester did not wake up one day and say, “You know what sounds like a good idea? Raping children.”
No, I would submit that it starts something like this. Once upon a time, an adult with some idle time on their hands starts looking at porn on the internet. Not child porn, mind you; something more pedestrian. But over time, as the viewing of the more “mundane” pornographic images becomes routine, the person in question begins to explore more “exotic” forms of pornography. And as months pass, their tastes become more bizarre. Given long enough, they venture into the deplorable territory of child pornography.
Left unchecked, the constant consumption of child pornography likely sparks desires that go beyond just viewing on images and videos on a screen.
It never starts big. It always starts small. That’s how our enemy works. Typically, the devil never convinces someone to murder by whispering “Hey, go murder that guy over there.” It starts with disdain, moves on to hatred, and over long periods of time fantasizing about killing someone, those thoughts can manifest as something more visceral and less virtual.
Satan is incredibly patient; he plays the “long con.” His strategy is relentless, and his methods are viciously tactical. Much like a tsunami begins its life as a small ripple in the deepest part of the ocean long before it smashes into the shoreline and devastates entire cities, the most horrific sins start as the tiniest temptations.
Zephyr is Your Human Disaster Story
This book I wrote, Zephyr, is a book that begins with a situation that pushes the titular character to “fib” to his wife. He loses his job, he can’t bear to tell her…so he doesn’t. He toys with the idea of telling Dina (his wife) multiple times, but can always rationalize withholding the truth.
Seem innocent? Maybe that’s because he isn’t curled up in the fetal position on some public restroom floor with a needle hanging out of his arm after a night of selling his body as a gay prostitute in order to make money for smack. No, he’s just a liar.
But consider this: deception is an essential skill for the worst of the worst. Every serial killer, child molester, chronic rapist…you name it…they all have to be able to lie.
Enter my novel, Zephyr. Zephyr Hopkins is a peculiar combination of the familiar and the bizarre. Familiar because we can all identify with him. He experiences the fear of letting his family down and makes poor decisions as a result. We’ve all done that. But his compounded poor choices lead him down a road of ever-growing darkness. Where does it lead? I won’t tell you specifically (read the book, for crying out loud), but suffice it to say he ends up in situations he couldn’t have imagined at the outset of the novel.
Zephyr Hopkins is an archetype of my depravity and yours. We are flawed and messy and capable of the most horrific evil, but only after taking step after step and choice after choice that leads from the seemingly innocent to complete devastation.
I love writing fiction, and my primary goal is to entertain the reader. But this book is more than just the fantastic conjurings of my imagination during quiet moments (when I can find them). It is a cautionary tale that stars you and me and every person that has ever lived.
So, sit down and read the book. Find yourself in the chapters, the pages, the words, and even the spaces in between. You’re in there, I promise you.
And maybe, just maybe, the echoes of Zephyr’s plight will give you reason to pause before making a choice that could be the first stop down a long and lonely road.
Buy your copy of Zephyr now at:
FOR A LIMITED TIME, if you purchase a copy directly from me, half of the proceeds go to CrossRidge Church’s summer mission trips to Panama and Montreal. And, as an added bonus, if the book sells 1,000 copies between May 18 and June 17, you will get to see me in some fabulous LuLaRoe dresses as a pose for a Facebook photoshoot (and if the book sells 5,000 copies, I’ll get on a shopping trip to Wal-Mart in one of those outfits and post it using Facebook live).
See more details here: