Shawn Gamez graduated from KU with a degree in professional writing in Fall 2010. After graduating he worked for globalgrind.com, in New York City, as the Music and Culture Editor where he worked as an intern before graduating.
However, like many , he wanted to do something more than cover music and culture.
“I’ve always had an overactive imanination and when I was a child the imaginative things I saw tended to be monsters,” Gamez said in an email to The Keystone.
The idea of The Insides of Monsters began with Gamez writing about events he attended. Rather than give a straightforward account of what he saw, he would write down what his “mind was actually seeing or hearing.”
He says after beginning covering these events he wanted to make his stories into a book that was a mix of personal stories and essays on imagination but with an overall story arc.
“I knew I wouldn’t be able to write while I was sitting at home doing writing work for other people. I had to be travelling, interacting with strangers and figuring out why my mind didn’t want to let go of all its fantasies,” Gamez said.
He started hitch hiking down to Fla. to his grandmother’s house, the person he credits with the growth of his imagination. After that he says he wanted to stop in all of the cities that he’s always wanted to visit.
“Alaska was the final goal, but I got waylaid by injuries and sickness,” Gamez said.
He mentioned that he never used craigslist or couchsurfing.com to find rides or places to sleep, which attributed to the injuries and sickness Gamez felt during his travels.
“I was hitch hiking for five months and slept inside for 12 days,” Gamez explained. Gamez had to save money to go on the trip. He said that he budgeted himself to around $35 a week.
“I would spend a little more for the days I spent in major cities. I wanted to taste the beers and cuisines of the cities I had not experienced.”
Gamez said that his diet throughout the five-month trip consisted mostly of Granola bars, apples, bananas and beer.
He said that most nights he found comfortable places outside to sleep, including under a castle in a miniature golf course.
The stories that came from his interactions with people and he’s not short of stories to write about.
“There was a homeless woman in New Orleans that said she was the second Anti-Christ because she stopped the first one from being born,” Gamez wrote.
After five months of traveling, Gamez said that he just returned to the area after hitching a ride with a truck driver who had a doctorate in history.
The book, which will be called The Insides of Monsters, is almost completely finished according to Gamez.
Excerpts of his book can be found on theinsidesofmonsters.wordpress.com.
By Dan Clark