Been working my way through Nicholas Parisi’s extensive bio on Rod Serling and have to say, been getting re-inspired by Serling’s committed approach to story-telling. It’s a lot more than just the Twilight Zone! Parisi goes deeply into Serling’s formative years, particularly his brutal experiences as a paratrooper in WWII, coming home to the find his family’s home in Binghamton NY sold, his father dead, the anchors in his life gone. Themes that would appear over and over again in his writing. It also gives the most extensive coverage of his entire catalog of work, even touching on unpublished ones.
What’s refreshing is Serling’s commitment to quality story-telling, to creating stories with some kind of meaningful message and not going with the status quo. Like a lot of fiction writers, Serling had a big impact on my own formative years as a kid. Re-visiting him now as an adult – and trying to make a career now as a writer myself – going through his themes has helped me come to terms with my own past, doubts and struggles. And more importantly, how critical it is to find and maintain a moral compass in chaotic times – and the price of losing it.
It’s well worth the read. I was fortunate enough to hear Nicholas give a talk about his book and what he went through to research it, which nothing short of impressive. Pick up a copy here.