October 11, 2012

Yuma SAR pilot writes, publishes novel

Story by Cpl. Sean Dennison
Desert Warrior Staff

Sometimes when Marines find themselves with downtime, they play video games.

When Capt. Shaheed Shabazz, a Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron UH-1N Huey pilot, found himself with some spare time, he wrote a book.

“I was on my first boat deployment in 2009,” he said. “The theme of someone getting the ultimate revenge just popped into my head, and I decided I had all the time in the world to write for seven months.”

Inconsolable, Shabazz’debut novel, is the relentlessly violent saga of a reformed meth addict who thinks he’s finally managed to break even in life. That is until he receives photos of a mutilated body and realizes a dark secret from his past will soon plunge him and those close to him into a nightmare from which there is no awakening.

“I started writing with just the basic theme of psychological revenge, not just physical, but something smart,” Shabazz said.

Though now a novelist, Shabazz’ influences aren’t necessarily what one would expect of a writer.

“My influences are more films than novels,” he said. “I honestly haven’t read that many novels in my life.”

The authors he has read are immediately apparent in Inconsolable.

“Some of the people are Stephen King and Robert R. McCammon,” Shabazz said. “For movies, there’s Se7en, some of the Coen brothers, and there’s a little bit of Saw in there.”

Vengeance is a huge theme for Inconsolable, but the novel also explores the domination of the human spirit in the face of abject horror.

“Revenge and forgiveness are the main themes,” said Shabazz. “They’re so polarized, and it’s a good life lesson for people to learn how to forgive and what it means to forgive.”

“The revenge part?” he added with a smile. “That’s just fun to write about. Everybody has those feelings where they want to get revenge against someone in their life. It’s relatable to everyone.”

The Chaparral, N.M., native began writing in childhood, and at age 10 Shabazz decided it was something he would be serious about.

“I wrote for my school newspaper in middle school,” he said. “Mainly, it was just short stories for school when I started.”

His passion followed him to college, where he majored in journalism and mass communications. However, Shabazz didn’t think he would write a novel until his deployment, which he described as “the perfect opportunity to write.”

“I always made excuses, but there were no excuses left,” he added.

Shabazz’ zest for life, and general restlessness, is also what prompted him to become a Marine.

“I wanted to join the military specifically to fly and Hueys were just the opportunity to do a lot of different things,” he said. “I get bored easily if I do the same thing every day. Hueys present a lot of different missions.”

However, while he’s served his country faithfully, his calling is in the world of film.

“I wrote that book film-style, like as a movie,” he said. “I started writing film scripts after that.”

“That’s what I’m going to do,” he said with a smile. “Make movies. That’s the only reason I’m getting out of the Marine Corps, so I can pursue that.”

Until then, Shabazz keeps himself busy flying over Yuma’s ranges.

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