Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sick Thoughts By Good People

Hey there. I know most of these blogs have had something to do about writing so far, and so does this one, but trust me, as soon as another idea comes to my mind, I'll use that.

This topic is close to my "Violence and Art" post, but it's my attempt to dive a little deeper into the relationship between the writer and what they write.

Have you ever read something that seemed a little twisted and wondered what the fuck was going through the writer's head when they wrote it? Maybe there was some sick death scene where the killer had a little bit too much fun with the dead body, or maybe something happened to a small child and it left you frustrated. Is the author sick in the head for coming up with this sickness or is there some other force at work?

I, for one, like to believe that there is something else behind it. I'll use an example from my own writing. If you are one of the fortunate few who have read my novel, "Last Rites: Divine Intervention" or if you checked out the free preview of the first few chapters (located at, you would be aware of the scene where a peasant from Dwendleheim who is selling wares pertaining to the dark spirit, Ithotep, gets jumped by some of the locals. There is a sufficient beating that follows and when the peasant is unable to stand one of the assaulters urinates on him leaving him in a pool of blood and urine. Where did this crazy idea come from?

Well, the beating alone would of sufficed if my mission was to show the peasant selling evil artifacts wasn't going to be tolerated in the city. That wasn't my mission. For the story to work, this peasant had to be driven to suicide with a ritual dagger and for this he needed to be filled with rage. While the beating may of frustrated him, it wouldn't drive him to such a terrible deed, but if he wasn't beaten and "humiliated" it would drive the character towards a desire for vengeance.

These crazy scenes are, or at least should be, what moves the story along. If a villian does some terrible deed, it motivates the reader into wanting to see the destruction of this evil. In this world we live in where the news is crazier than fiction, it takes some pretty crazy shit to get peoples attention, and to hold it.

When Marilyn Manson first appeared on the music scene he relied heavily on the shock value of his content and stageshow to gain listeners. Now, if you've been paying attention to the land of music you may remember an individual named Alice Cooper. He did some crazy shit, like tearing the heads off plastic dolls, hanging himself or even a mock beheading. This enraged parents at the time and excited the youth. As time passed, these events seemed more dull, so by the time Manson came along, he really had to step it up to some sick shit to get the same effect.

Writers of the horror or any violent genres are much like Manson, where to achieve the same effect as the predecssors, the level of violence, fear, or general craziness needs to be upped. It doesn't mean these newer artists are any crazier than the previous ones, but they are simply trying to keep a genre alive and fresh with new material.

If anything, the newfound craziness is the readers fault for raising the expectation levels. (hehe)

I'm going to wrap this up with a summary of a conversation I had with a friend. He thought I was a dark person because of my poetry and my writing, so naturally I had to explain things so he didn't think I was sacrificing a goat to Satan when he left my house.

There are some people out there who are a little lost in the darkness and they seem to have trouble finding their way back to the light. Their amusement comes from dark, gory and sinister material because it gives them something to relate to. As I was working on "Divine Intervention" I came up with the idea of serving up a tasty dish to these people with hopes of giving a more positive message in the end. The audience I was aiming for wouldn't pick up a book about rainbows and butterflies to see the message in the end, but if I could (and did) write something dark enough, I could get their attention, and use the book as a means of communication to these people. Am I trying to save the world? Fuck no. BUT, if one person reads my book and gains a new perspective, then I guess I did something right.

I've always summed up my writing as a mission to find, "the light in the darkness" and it has rubbed off into my day-to-day life. Even in the darkest moments of life there is a glimmer of light somewhere waiting to be found. It may mean that sometimes I have to walk a thin line between good and evil, but one could think of it as an undercover agent in disguise to get information they seek.

I think it's necessary to look behind the initial crazy act and look deeper into the purpose that is behind it. This may seem like an obvious statement, but trust me, some people need to hear it.

Til next time;

"May you find the light in your darkness."

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