A few months ago, I put together a brief analysis of my major creative works, focusing on the way they reflected what was going on in my life at the time.
Since then, Undad has appeared rather suddenly on the scene, and I would be remiss if I didn’t try to understand why, even with so many other projects on the go, I feel compelled to see this one through.
Undad – 2014
2014 was not a good year for me. The depression with which I had been struggling on and off for several years was amplified significantly by a series of writing-related setbacks and a sudden significant increase in workload caused by the arrival of my third child. My ongoing wrestle with depression is something that, for whatever reason, I am really struggling to share with friends and family. I don’t want to burden them, I don’t want to risk rejection, I don’t even want to face whatever it is lurking inside me, whatever it is… reaching out for help is beyond me at the moment.
It’s almost exactly what Brett Buckley is going through.
For the last eight months or so, I have been wrestling with a depression that manifested itself as despondency, helplessness and frustrated outbursts. A depression severe enough to tank my motivation to write, alienate me from my kids, and threaten my marriage. In a very real sense, I felt there was a monster inside me, taking me over, making me do things that I ordinarily would never do.
Undad channels this feeling in a strong way. Brett Buckley has unexpectedly turned undead, and finds himself drawn inexorably to the consumption of life, despite deeply held vegetarian beliefs. He is so disgusted by his weakness, so repulsed by his monster, that he finds himself unable to unburden himself to family. Undad is the first project I have attempted since my decline, and delves deeply into my experiences of depression to present the zombie genre in an entirely new way.
Brett’s condition (he’s dead inside, haha #clevermetaphor(notreally)) has created this rift between the man he is and the man he wants to be, and is driving a deep wedge between himself and his family. He tries to distance himself from them, to protect them from himself, but that obviously is a path doomed to failure, because in his heart, he doesn’t actually want to lose them. He seeks solace and answers in medicine, psychiatry and religion, but they all lead to dead ends.
In the end, Brett will realise that there is no one out in the world that can help him. He will have no choice but to seek remedy and redemption at home. He fears they will flee from the monster he has become, that they will despise his weakness. This is what rock-bottom feels like.
The Undad Kickstarter campaign is live now, and runs until December 15.