So, I watched Magnolia earlier, I really forgot its complete brilliance and beauty. It’s a long movie that doesn’t feel long, basically a series of interconnected stories, themes like, the past repeats itself, mistakes and regrets aren’t unique to the individual. It’s a fast movie in that the cuts between stories are quick, it doesn’t linger on one character’s life for too long. There’s also a lot of camera movement, not shaky Cloverfield camera, just lots of panning, zooming. The cuts and the camera give Magnolia a very fast-paced frenetic feeling, even though its thirty minutes shy of three hours long. It’s also a movie about really fucked up people, people dying physically, emotionally, people whose stories do and don’t work out. I was watching with a friend and she asked, “Are people really like that?” I didn’t feel like putting down the words, I just eyebrowed a “yes.” There’s a scene with Philip Seymour Hoffman, he’s a Hospice nurse trying to track down this dying fellow’s estranged son, trying to fulfill a final request. His son, played by Tom Cruise, turns out to be a pretty famous, pretty vile, motivational speaker, teaching loser guys how to have lots of sex with lots of women. So, Seymour Hoffman’s on the phone talking to one of Cruise’s underlings and says something to the affect, I know this is something like a scene from some movie, but I think movies have scenes like this because this actually happens. I mean, that’s so much of why we go to movies, because we identify with what we see, or we want to do or be what we see. I answered my friend with a “yes” because my experiences have been so much like the characters we were watching. Depression, loneliness, addiction, loss, regret, I know those experiences, felt them, feel them, been drowning in them. Yes, people really are “like that.”
Magnolia’s soundtrack is another reason I love it so much, Aimee Mann contributed most of the songs, specifically written for the movie. One particularly unusual, very moving scene, cuts to each character singing Wise Up. My favorite line, “You’re sure there’s a cure, and you have finally found it. You think one drink will shrink you ’till you’re underground and living down, but it’s not going to stop, it’s not going to stop, it’s not going to stop ’till you wise up.” It’s very surreal, but the scene totally works. It hit me really hard, I broke-down, sobbing. I breakdown quietly, nobody ever notices. Almost nobody. Listening to Aimee’s lyrics, crying, it reminded me of something.
It was four years ago, I was with Sara, my girlfriend then, kind of. We’d broken up, but started finding each other again toward the end of shooting our This American Life episode. So, she wanted us to go see a Chris Isaak concert, and I just wanted to go anywhere with her. The trach was still a little fresh back then, I’d still get nervous going out sometimes, so I’d have wine or brandy before getting into the car. Not the best way to cope, but it worked awhile. I didn’t want to not take her, I didn’t want to be weird and nervous, I just needed the crutch to get there. It wore off and I realized I was okay because I was with Sara, everything was always okay with Sara. So, we’re leaving the concert, which was great, we’re walking back to the car under a summer night-sky. I look up at the stars, bright beautiful stars. I didn’t want to be anyplace else, just right there, under those stars, with Sara. As we’re walking she takes my hand and out of nowhere starts singing Aimee’s You Do, off the Magnolia soundtrack. And you do, you do, you do, you really do… I never thought I could love her any more, but holding her hand, listening to her sing under those stars, I did, and I felt so completely loved. I quit the pre-outting drinks after that night. I didn’t need them, and we went so many more places together. We held each other and sang so many more times. Losing her hurt so much.
I never thought I could find again what I felt with Sara, but I did, so intensely, so beautiful, but that’s gone too. Losing Monica hurts so Goddamn fucking much. I don’t know how to be okay.2 comments
So, I just noticed the blog had 13 categories, which I decided couldn’t be good. It’s just not a savory number, 13, nothing good ever came of it. The horror fiction-sphere cannot be wrong. Example, one of my favorite movies is 1408, a movie about an “evil fucking room,” a hotel room. The rest of the hotel was fine, people loved the pillow mints, great amenities, it was just that one room, 1408, it killed people. Well, 1+4+0+8= 13. It’s just not a number to have around. To fix this issue, I’ve trashed a category. Turtle Erotica is no more, on account of the fact that aside from the one story, I doubt I’ll ever write about turtles having sex ever again. It’s just not in the cards.
12 categories, much safer.2 comments
You wake to lips on your neck, gently caressing, searching. Cold fingers on your chest, sliding toward your shoulders, pinning you down.
Her long dark hair’s in your face, tiny curls tickling your nose, her tongue wrapped around yours.
She’s already naked, already wet for you, from you. Her breasts, her body, pressed hard against you, her legs hugging your waist.
She’s going to take you inside her, she’ll hold you there, deeply. You’ll come deep in her, sooner rather than later, whether you want to or not. She’s taken you past the place of choice.
You can’t breathe, or speak. Her teeth tore into your throat, ripped out your tongue.
You’re inside her and she’s soaking wet, wet with your blood.
You’ve never been with a woman like her, nor will you ever be again.6 comments
So, Rigor Amortis launched today, the collection of zombie erotica and romance flash fiction which contains one of my stories. It’s a really good collection, stories ranging from sweet to sexy, disturbing to terrifying. Rigor Amortis mixes horror and love, death and sex, it bends genre barriers until they break, creating unexpectedly wonderful stories. If this sounds interesting, pick up a copy on Amazon. I’d love to get some feedback on my tale sex and the undead.2 comments
So, the trailer for Rigor Amortis is live and eating brains! In case you missed it, Rigor Amortis is an anthology of flash fiction, tales of zombie romance and erotica, and it includes one of my stories. One might see “zombie erotica” and be a little taken aback, but trust me, zombies and sex are like chocolate and peanut butter, they just work. I can’t really explain why they work, they just do. You could buy the book for yourself and find out, that’s what I’d do.
Rigor Amortis comes out this Friday…No comments
To me, the song is about a woman and her lover, and their intense connection to each other. My favorite line goes…
“When you call out my name in rapture, I volunteer my soul for murder. I wish this moment here forever…”
When you give yourself to someone, your skin against theirs, and you genuinely feel something deep for that person, that’s kind of the pact. You give your soul to that person, and they can do what they will with it, keep it or destroy it. This pact can go both ways, but not always, Still, the moment that pact is formed, it’s like magic, and you wish you could stay in that moment forever. At least, that’s what I take from the song.No comments
She leans over and kisses you, and it’s like lightning. You close your eyes and fall into her, or she falls into you, or maybe you’re falling into each other. You close your eyes, her lips touching yours, and the world doesn’t go black, you’re not wrapped in darkness. You’re wrapped in light, white blinding light, complete, and radiant, and so right now. You’re enveloped in this radiance, totally fucking lost in it. Her lips wrap around yours, yours wrap around hers, and with every touch the light gets hotter, even more total. Your lips brush her cheek, her neck, she grabs at your hair, pulls harder with every kiss.
Electricity flies through her and into you, burning away all the fear and loneliness that’s been enfolded around your heart for so very long. Every nerve in your body is alive and screaming. The current from her touch runs down your spine to the tips of your toes, and for this series of perfect moments you know what it’s like to feel truly happy, truly in love.
You’ll fall asleep holding her close, dazed from feeling what it’s like to be struck by lightningNo comments
To me, the song is about how artists practice their craft in spite of criticism, scrutiny, and the pain one feels from being struck by such weapons. People who are passionate about their craft, whether it’s visual art, or music, or writing, they feel a drive to share what they create, to put it out there for anyone to take in. Sharing such creation opens one up to not only praise, but also harsh words and deep criticism. It can be painful for one to have what they create knocked and dismissed, spoken badly of, but that drive to create and share outweighs any feelings of pain that come from practicing one’s craft with absolute honesty. Creation for the sake of creation, whether anyone likes it or not. Alanis writes songs that make people uncomfortable, some just flat out don’t like her, and that dislike hurts, but she simply can’t not write those songs. She can’t not be herself and create with complete honesty.
Whenever I write about depression, or suicide, or sex, or derision toward God, fictionally or otherwise, it is likely to upset someone (especially people close to me). Honesty in writing, particularly when it comes to personal subjects, isn’t always welcome, but this is what I do and I can’t not do it. No matter how much I hate any personal fallout the things I write can cause, this is my craft and I can’t not practice it.
Really, I have something deep inside me, something that pushes me to do things no matter what. I can’t not do things like, tell a woman how completely I love her, even though she might not love me back, or look into her eyes and tell her how much I want to kiss her, to take off all her clothes for the first time. I can’t not travel and experience things, even though something could go astonishingly wrong with the machines, and hoses, and tubes that keep me breathing. I almost died going to a movie last December, but I can’t not go, and do, and be. I do things because I can’t not.2 comments
So, I recently finished reading Choke by Chuck Palahniuk and it totally reminded me again how brilliantly Palahniuk can write. Though, it being one of his earlier works, I also worry that his best stuff is behind him. Palahniuk has an amazing knack for creating complete lunatic, fuck up, low-life characters who are still likable and relatable. At least, I find them relatable. Choke’s protag is Victor Mancini, a sex-addicted liar who may or may not be the Second Coming of Christ. Victor’s a med-school dropout working as an indentured servant at an historical theme park. His mother’s a senile social anarchist who spent most of his childhood in and out of prison, kidnapping him from various foster homes. If Victor’s not busy having sex with women from sex addicts anonymous, he’s pretending to choke at local restaurants. His saviors befriend him, hear his troubles, they send him money. Victor needs the money, indentured servant, sex addict, med-school dropouts don’t pull down enough to keep their moms in high-end nursing facilities. Victor also likes the idea that he gives people a story to tell, that he creates heroes one meal at a time. At the nursing home, the demented old women mistake Victor for men who wronged them in the past and he cops to every sin from incest to dog murder. It’s much easier for Victor to be someone else, with each confession providing closure until senility reopens the wounds. Victor’s best friend, Denny, another sex addict, collects rocks for every-day he doesn’t masturbate. He says he wants his life to about something rather than be about not doing something one day at a time. Still, the rocks are just a fix for a fix.
Palahniuk likes to write certain themes into every novel, like, losing everything to truly appreciate anything, or how hitting absolute rock bottom simply means there’s nothing left to fear, both of which I love. He also writes a great deal about things being just a fix for a fix. One addiction to fix another. Denny and the rocks. Victor taking responsibility for so many sins just to feel needed. I really understand such themes and I feel better knowing that other people have that same understanding. I think about the idea of a fix for a fix quite a lot, ever since the hole in my throat and and the tube in my stomach. The trache fixes my breathing and takes away my voice leaving thoughts and worries to fill my head until I can’t sleep, until I miss every drug I ever had. Brandy to slow everything down. Reading, watching movies, writing as much as possible so the brandy doesn’t feel necessary. Amazingly hot soup, astonishingly hot coffee, fantastically cold cereal go into my feeding tube because eating has become more about sensation than taste. The oral pleasure of sweet cocoa replaced by the sensual pleasure of heat from steamed soy milk as it passes through a tube to my stomach, to my chest, to my face. Fixes for fixes. Palahniuk’s writing, especially in Choke, Survivor and Invisible Monsters is so spot on as to make things that I think about more clear and less frightening. I feel less alone.
Definitely read Choke, it’s darkly hilarious and quite provocative.6 comments