Outlaw Vern is someone you've probably never heard of before and probably never will again. He's the creator of an elaborate website at http://www.geocities.com/outlawvern , but that's not even the beginning of what's interesting about him. You see, Outlaw Vern is a person whose life was destroyed by drugs and alcohol and stupid choices he made when he was a kid, and he's trying to pick up the pieces by channeling his emotions into his writing. His life's story might not even be true, as many people make up elaborate false identities about themselves on the internet. But his writings are out there for all of us to read and enjoy, and that at least is a great positive.
If you can say nothing else about Outlaw Vern, you can say that he has an entertaining, off-the-wall, politically incorrect writing style. He has a bit of a gift for writing engrossing train of thought style rants, mostly revolving around his favorite subject, movies and the film industry. His words are often lathered with expletives, filling his pages with the type of language that would make my mother blush, but underneath it he has a sense of purpose that brings it all together. He is a great example of a writer who is a diamond in the rough.
He has a special love for the 1988 Bruce Willis film Die Hard, which he considers to be the perfect morality play in an action setting. He enjoys poetry, and occasionally hacks out a rough-edged piece of his own from time to time. He's not afraid to literally rip a film to shreds, nor is he afraid to blatantly shill for films that he likes, like Die Hard and Fight Club.
He also has the ability to surprise you, which is the best gift a writer can have, in my opinion. He'll write things like his essay on what it means to be a man and suddenly you'll realize that underneath all of the bizarre graphics, rough language, and hard tales, there really is a living, breathing, thinking person. That right there is the gift of a good writer and the magic of the internet.
Vern has had a rough life, filled with drugs, alcohol, and crime. He realized he was on an extremely dangerous path and he also realized that he'd never be able to change his life if he didn't find a new channel for his pent-up energy. So he found writing, and found the internet where he could share the writing.
I've bumped into this guy time and time again on the internet. I found him originally on Usenet a few years ago when he was just starting to turn things around, his rants pouring out like a river all over various film related newsgroups. He announced his website and I followed him onto the web, where he's been publishing for better than two years. I've emailed him a few times and talked with him on instant messenger. He's a person that I likely would have never spoken to or met had it not been for the internet, and his ability to change his life around and find something that he loves and simply follow the muse has brightened my life.
Outlaw Vern is one of millions of people out there on the internet, but he's using it to entertain others and help straighten out his life. He's an ordinary guy, like millions of others; nothing more, nothing less. And that alone earns my attention and respect.