by Mitchell Brown, Reporter
After many trajectory shifts in his life, Jack Chase found a career path that is working out — as a published author. His most recent book “Unusual Tales” was released in November. It is a collection of five short stories. Three are his earliest works that were published via Kindle as short stories, including his first published work “Johnny James.”
Getting to the point where Chase is at now was a long and winding process. It didn’t happen overnight. He had an interest in writing dating back to the first grade. He liked the motion of writing, but he said he was not able to put a story together.
Chase’s story itself is an unusual tale. He grew up in Odessa, Mo. a small town with a population of little over 5,000 residents. He describes the town as “boring.”
“There’s very limited stuff do, especially during the summer,” Chase said. “Whenever I was more sophisticated and more mature about myself, it just was a drag. You’re walking from here to there, getting to a destination, and I remember seeing nothing that appealed to me.”
Chase added the lack of appeal in Odessa is why he thought he was supposed to move to Warrensburg, and he did so in 2007. He was working in fiberglass manufacturing and the company he was working for moved from Odessa to Warrensburg, so did Chase. Two years later he was laid off from his job, and he then enrolled at the University of Central Missouri.
Around this time he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a communication disorder on the higher functioning end of the Autism spectrum marked by difficulties concerning communication and socialization.
“I consider it ironic that I have a communication disorder, yet I’m a writer,” Chase said.
He said it is easier for him to express feelings and ideas in writing than verbally in front of people. Like many college students, Chase found himself swimming in multiple streams. He was a theatre major, but he was more interested in movies. While still pursuing his major in theatre, Chase took classes in video production and editing, with the aim of someday becoming a director.
Chase said he didn’t know exactly where the passion for directing came from.
“Watching Spielberg, talking about how he made ‘Jaws,’ how he made ‘Indiana Jones,’ it captivated me. I was hypnotized,” Chase declared.
Another life change was on the horizon for Chase. After four years in college, he would encounter an obstacle. Being resentful over having to take required general education credits that aren’t directly related to one’s major is a common college frustration. Most students find a way to make it through, but Chase refused to play the gen ed game. He had no interest in taking the required math and science courses at UCM.
“I had planned to graduate, but it was an iffy thing. I didn’t know if I would actually do it,” Chase said.
“I went to talk to the person who handles the requirements for graduating, and I said I have a mental disorder that hinders my learning, could we modify what you expect from me for graduation, and she said no. You will need to follow it like everybody else,” Chase said. “Next day, I dropped out.”
“Whenever I said OK, I’m leaving, I knew what my brain could tolerate in terms of learning, and I knew what it could not tolerate in terms of learning,” Chase explained.
He said he felt comfortable with his decision to leave after he was told the requirements couldn’t be altered for him. “I wasn’t hurt,” Chase said.
In 2013, Chase said goodbye to college, and 2015 would bring about another shift in his life. On a trip to Kansas City, Mo., he caught up with a friend from his school days who was a writer. They engaged in story telling exercises. When arriving back in Warrensburg, Chase abandoned video work and editing and approached writing with a determined zeal. He said he writes every day, and in 2016 his first novel “Child of Darkness” was published.
“’Child of Darkness’ is about a murderer who is re-incarnated into a child,” Chase said. “I had this idea in 2005. It took 10 years for me to write it.”
Chase said immaturity was why it took so long to turn the idea into an actual story.
“I had the creativity, but I didn’t have the discipline to sit down and write it,” he said.
Chase sites Stephen King as an inspiration, but he also stresses his own originality.
“I don’t like to mimic too much of what other writers do,” Chase said. “I always try to add some type of twist, but it would be my own style of twist.”
Chase explained he starts with thinking up a plot twist and then builds a story around the plot twist – which seems to shadow the unorthodox developments in his personal life.
“It all follows an odd pattern,” Chase admitted.
“It was all a learning process. A writer would take English courses, that was the wrong road for me,” Chase said. “My mind needed to absorb information through a certain way. Since I learned through picture, it had to be movies.”
Chase has declared the world of a writer to be his final creative destination.
“This will be my lifetime,” Chase declared.
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