Starting From Zero is a story that was over twenty-five years in the making. It started when I was walking through a university gym at American University in Washington, DC back in 1987. I saw this young lady who was FINE!!! Not being shy I approached her and started talking. She was cool and friendly. Now we're in a gym. During the conversation she asked if I worked out. Now I'm looking at this fine ass woman who was hitting on all cylinders. She had a beautiful face, breasts, flat stomach, phat ass, and shapely legs. Damn she was FINE!!! So when she asked if I worked out, I did what most red-blooded heterosexual men would have done in that situation. I told the requisite lie. I said, "yeah I work out. I just haven't been in the gym in awhile." She then responded with something that would become a personal philosophy for me. She said, "That's okay, you just have to start from zero." Starting from zero has been a personal philosophy of mine ever since.
Sometimes a person needs to cut their losses and simply start over. I've been a person who, for the most part, has been quick to forgive. I've been quick to get over things. It's been rare that I've held grudges. I've haven't been perfect in this but because of my philosophy of "Starting From Zero" I have less emotional baggage than the average person. There are people out there in their 50's who are holding on to things that happened to them as teenagers. Quite frankly it's something minor in many cases. Of course people face major trauma but in life you can't allow anything to hold you back. Okay somebody did you wrong. Holding on to the pain ain't hurting that other person. It is hurting you though. That other person might not even remember you enough to realize they hurt you. But you holding on to it killing yourself. My thing is let that shit go and start from zero. I have to say it has worked for me.
Now in 1993 the writing bug really bit me, so I started writing a short novel and some several short stories. It was in 1995 I decided to write a major novel. Only thing I didn't know what I wanted to write about. Then in November 1995 it hit me to write something based on my philosophy of starting from zero. Now at first I wasn't sure how I wanted to present this type of story. Too me the whole angle of someone being a substance abuser, or getting out of jail, was worn out. I wanted to show someone needing to start from zero because of life circumstance that on the surface seemed ordinary.
Steve Walters in "Starting From Zero" isn't a drug user, he hasn't been to jail. Steve didn't grow up in a poor environment. He's from an upper-middle class background. He grew up as Theo Huxtable. Adversity doesn't discriminate though. It hits the rich and the poor, Black and white, religious and atheist. As one reads through the novel and journeys with Steve as he goes on his downward spiral the reader gets glimpses of why Steve is the way he is. Just to be clear Steve is not a sympathetic character. He's a self-absorbed, arrogant, asshole. When I first started writing the draft I let a few brutally honest female friends read the book. They didn't like the character at first. But once they finished reading they had tears in their eyes. I would say why but you have to get the book to find out.
Now I started writing "Starting From Zero" during a major winter storm in January 1996. I was stuck at my grandmother's so I had nothing to do but start writing the book on the computer at her house. I finished the book sometime in 1997 but didn't publish it. At the same time I was writing the novel, I wrote a pamphlet called "Finding a Good Man." That little pamphlet took me in a different direction as I was invited to appear on a public access TV show to talk about relationships. This would lead me writing "Nice Guys and Players" and "Sexual Chemistry." So instead of publishing "Starting From Zero" I was pushing the relationship books which has helped many people. My first writing love, though has always been fiction.
Fast forward to the summer of 2013. I pulled out a hard copy of the draft of "Starting From Zero." I read it over and decided to publish the manuscript. At first I thought about editing the book to reflect current times but then I said naw I leave it in the nineties. So other than a few minor story edits the book is a reflection of the late nineties.
So what is "Starting From Zero" ultimately about. It's about evolution. It's about learning life's lessons in order to grow into a better person. It's about facing oneself in the mirror. It's about realizing that no matter what happens to us in life we can always start from zero.