At the age of ten, my father slapped me. I was camping out with neighborhood friends in our backyard. It was cold. We had no fire. Just a tent. No sleeping bags. I went inside at 2 a.m. to get a blanket. I drug it across a table and shattered some nice things. My father came running into the living room. He slapped me for the noise, for waking him, for breaking expensive things. I went outside. Tears running down my face. My friends wanted to know what had happened. I told them. They laughed and nicknamed me “Slap.”
I combined Slap with vox to create writing that shocks, that moves, that makes extremes face one another, creating a voice of pain, of hurt, of tears, of coming together with the pain in ways to articulate the voice of the downtrodden, the abused, the hurting, the weak, the lost, the damned, the forgotten. As Faulkner once said, May we never write only stories of the glands, but of the heart in conflict with itself.
I’ve also written stories under the pseudonym: Robert Lavender, which is my middle name.