So here is what happens after a long absence. Happens every time. After not getting any writing done for about three weeks, I sit down to scribble something out, and nothing goes as planned. Happens every time. I think there may be something psychological there like I subconsciously know that the next bit isn't ready. I may be determined to write it. I may think I know how it should go. I know how I want it to go, but the dark recesses of my soul know otherwise. And, I don't get any writing done.
Finally, I got the all-clear or something. I don't even know the all-clear has been sounded. All I know is that I am fed-up with my lack of progress and I am determined to get through it even though the hour may now be long past midnight as it was in this case. I was determined.
So I start writing. You may remember the scene. I think I talked about it the last time I actually had something to say in this journal about progress on the prequel to The Magic Flute. I was going to condense the two or three dialogue scenes between Tahrl and Armada into one. Strangely enough, this meant I had no ground to condense. They had a tendency to repeat themselves over those talks.
I knew what I wanted to go into the condensed scene. The points I wanted to hit. The things I wanted them to think or feel by the time it was over.
Of course, none of this happened. The writing took-off into totally unexplored territory. It is a bit of really freaky writing. I remember sitting there way past midnight with pen scratching across paper and thinking that this could not be happening. This was horrible. This was not what I wanted to happen. How was I supposed to get them out of this?
Well, I hadn't a clue, but I kept going. I have long since learned that the worst thing I can do is try and wrestle control back over the situation. It would only lead to more lock-up with nothing getting accomplished.
So that is what I tell myself. After a prolonged pause where nothing is getting done and words finally appear that bear no resemblance to what I wanted, I tell myself that I must have just been working through it subconsciously. I don't actually buy this theory, but it saves me from slitting my wrists. Writing sucks, did you know that?
Anyway, my point being that surprising and unexpected things are happening, yet again. The work is delayed, and I really hope I finish some day so that I can get on to the next project that is being so whiny and bitchy because I am neglected it.
A while back, I heard an interview with Margaret Atwood, and she said something that I thought was very interesting. She said that after about her third novel that the book reviews started to have less and less to do with the book and more and more to do with her. It was as if something really strange was happening. Almost as if the books no longer mattered. As if what was really being reviewed was the author. The book no longer mattered. It was little more than an extension of the author and could tell us nothing on its own. It was no longer a matter of whether or not there was a good book worth reading. The reviews slowly became whether or not the author was a good person, and the book simply helped illuminate this fact.
And, I realized that I had noticed this, too. I mean I'm not talking about myself here. I mean I've tried to get people to review my book and failed at it miserably. I'm just no good at this sort of thing. Anyway, not my point.
I don't understand critics. I don't try to understand critics or reviewers or whatever you want to call them. I mean what is ten critics at the bottom of the ocean with lead weights wrapped around their tongues and toenails? A good start. So understand my position on this from the get-go. I don't care for them. They are about as useful as editors, which is a subject I will not go on-and-on about here.
Let's just say I don't understand why they stop reviewing the book or movie or whatever. I mean I really want to know something about the book or whatever. I'm not overly concerned about whether or not the author has a soul as reflected in their latest pile of pigs-wallow. I want to know a little something about the situation of the book or flick, and I want to know if the reviewer thinks it is cool or if it sucks.
I read a review of A.I. Artificial Intelligence a while back, and it was just appalling. The review was devoted to what an evil awful person Steven Spielberg was. It went on and on about how Spielberg is a crass commercial sell-out with no soul who eats art for breakfast and poops out garbage thinking it'll sell a few bucks. I mean ick. Please forgive me for paraphrasing. I can't remember if this is exactly how the review ran, but I am certainly not interested in going and digging it out from whatever hole I dumped it in just so I can get the wording right. My point is that the review had absolutely nothing to do with the movie and everything to do with bashing the director. I think there was maybe one paragraph out of the whole thing that even referred to the actual movie. The rest was just so awful that I needed a shower after reading it.
I really don't understand why people do that kind of thing. I mean I do understand. I suspect there is a little jealousy going-on, and I have noticed that it seems to be cool and hip to beat on Spielberg. Probably because he is rich. It's that human trait, I guess. If you're unhappy and you see someone who is happy, don't you just want to punch him in the nose? Make him unhappy? That'll just cheer you right-up, right?
Oh, and for the record, I personally thought A.I. Artificial Intelligence was boring as hell.
As for the man Steven Spielberg himself, I would like to refer you to a previous journal entry in which I talked about Ed Wood. Did you read that one? Well, anyway, the point being that I really hope everyone involved in making the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence enjoyed the process and that they are proud of the final flick. I mean, sure, it's depressing when everybody rags on your movie, but I still hope they had a good time making it.
I like something I once heard Roger Ebert say. Yes, the same Roger Ebert I made fun of in the Ed Wood journal entry. He was talking specifically about movies, but this applies to all sorts of films and flicks. It wasn't even an original thought. He mentioned who said it first. Anyway, I'm not going to try and remember exactly what he said. I'm going for what I took away from it. You can go into a flick with all the preconceived notions that you want. All the baggage that you want. All the expectations. You can have an opinion of whether or not you are going to enjoy something before you have actually seen it. But, the thing of it is you still have to sit through it. And, be prepared to accept something. Be prepared to enjoy or hate it based on the actual experience and not whatever-the-hell you thought of the damn pony show before you got there.
Which all seems to be a roundabout way of saying that I finally watched Men in Black 2 the other night. It's okay. I mean it's not a great movie. In fact, it's not really even a good movie. As a matter of fact, it sucks, but on the plus side, it went by really fast. I laughed at a couple of the jokes. The plot didn't make much sense, but then I don't think it was supposed to. I got the distinct impression that the movie was little more than an excuse to trot out bits people liked from the first flick. Actually, I got the impression that the movie knew it was a light-hearted romp and wasn't even going to try to be anything else so shut-the-hell-up and have fun.
So the movie was fun and utterly forgettable just like an episode of Hercules or Xena. However, I did have one really big problem with the damn flick. The dialogue was so quite I could only follow it about half the time. Turning the volume up didn't help. The problem wasn't that they were all whispering. The problem was all the incidental noise and assorted whatnot drowned out everything else. So turning up the volume, simply made everything loud and the dialogue was still unintelligible. This made for a very annoying viewing experience.
I couldn't follow most of the plot because I couldn't hear what they were saying. Not that I think it mattered. If you were trying to follow the plot, then you were watching the wrong movie. Sit back, shut-up and enjoy. Or not if you feel like being a wanker.
So I became a sponsor for Kevin & Kell about a month and a half ago. It's really cool. Just the idea of it. Basically, I'm giving Bill Holbrook fifty bucks a month to help support his web comic Kevin & Kell, and in return, he puts a cute little graphic on his website advertising my website. Now, I just think all of this is really cool. Strange as this may sound, I'm not doing it for the advertising. Sure, it was really neat to watch my web stats go up, but nobody is biting. So to speak. This does not surprise me one bit, and it has nothing to do with the possibility that my writing sucks. Why should people buy my book just because I'm doing a little advertising? No reason at all.
I knew this when I started doing the sponsorship thing. This isn't about drawing eyes to my site. Never was. I like the idea of helping Kevin & Kell. I want Bill Holbrook to succeed. He's not the only one. I also like Sluggy Freelance, so I do what I can for Pete Abrahms. He is part of the Amazon.com Associates Program so if I'm going to buy anything from Amazon I use the Sluggy link. For the longest time, I encouraged anyone interested in buying my book to get it from Amazon and use the Sluggy link. Don't know why I stopped. I think it happened with the site redesign. Just couldn't find a good place to stick the request. And, it's got nothing to do with the fact that I'm now a member of the Amazon Associates Program myself. A lot of time passed between when I stopped encouraging people to buy my book through Sluggy Freelance and when I joined the Associates Program.
In fact, I'll restate it here. Please support Sluggy Freelance. It's damn funny. So, if you are interested in buying a copy of my book from Amazon.com, please use the Sluggy link.
So why am I sponsoring Kevin & Kell? It's not like I have the money. Wasting money helping someone else could mean that I don't pay rent next month. I mean I'm not quite that bad off, but it's a near thing. So why am I doing it? I'm not sure. I think it's an empowerment thing. I can't seem to do much of anything to help myself so maybe I'll help someone else. Fifty bucks a month. This is something I can do. I hope. If my sponsorship ever stops, then know that I'm in a bad way. So does this make any sense? I'm a sponsor because it's a vicarious empowerment thing? I don't know. I must be crazy. Or, just really stupid.
Which is all a long winded way of saying that I've been thinking about doing the same thing over at MegaTokyo. Of course, Fred Gallagher doesn't call it sponsorship over there. He just calls it advertising, and it is something like seven hundred bucks a month. No way in hell I could afford that. However, I think I could do the seventy bucks a shot option. I think if I really cut back on stuff that I could do that once a month. Crazy! Stupid! I know! I know. Vicarious empowerment blah blah blah.
So I'm thinking about it. Not even the point I was trying to reach with this rambling journal. I'm still getting to my point. So the most interesting thing in the email I got back from MegaTokyo with the price quote was that most of the email was actually devoted to pornography. To be more accurate, it was all about how they didn't want to accept advertising for pornographic or hentai stuff, and I don't even know what hentai is. No pornography? Not a problem. I don't do that kind of thing.
Which lead me to a very interesting question. Well, why don't I do pornography?
I mean there is certainly enough violence in my stories on my website. Some of it is quite grotesque. In fact, have you read my short story Fire at the Dawn of Night? Then you know what I'm talking about. I remember when I was just thinking about that story. Made my skin crawl. I think I went for a year with pieces of the story popping into and out of my head, and I would just think that I wanted nothing to do with the idea. I mean, damn, am I just some kind of psychotic misogynist pig or what? So why did I go through with writing it? That is none of your business. All I'll say is that I was trying to excise some demons.
Okay, besides Fire at the Dawn of Night, there is The Walking Brain-Dead and even The Magic Flute. Lots of people die in really violently ugly ways in that book. And, let's not forget The Faire Folk of Gideon. Now, that one has got some really nasty stuff in it. Funny story about writing the heart-ripping scene. It really kind of creeped me out. For about a week, I knew I was going to write that scene, and I just kind of snuck-up on it with a lot of apprehension. I knew I was going to go through with it. I got about half-way through the scene and just had to put it aside. I got out of the apartment and went to go see the movie Fight Club. After the movie, I had calmed down enough to finish the scene. Now, that is saying something when a scene is so gruesome that the movie Fight Club is relaxation.
Okay, one of my bug-a-boos about books and movies and stuff is that violence is too easy. People bim-boo-bah and nobody really gets hurt. They bounce back from things that would hurt, maim or kill. I didn't want that in the Faire Folk. Things were going to hurt. Things were going to be painful. Sure, our hero couldn't die, but damn, if he didn't want to get hurt. I love the bit toward the end where he flinches from the gun. He's not really in danger, but guns hurt. He doesn't want to get shot.
Anyway, so I've written all this really gross and gruesome stuff. Not for kids. So why stop there? Why skip over the nudity and other naughty bits? Why turn coy? Is it because we are really a repressed and prudish society? Am I worried about censorship? It's weird, isn't it? I can describe heart-ripping, brutal beatings, and cannibal frogs in truly graphic and disturbing detail, but I cannot mention how his fingers graced her obvious talents as an actress. See! See! I just censored myself! Made a joke out of it! I can't talk about what he did with her pussycat and how he made her purr in any detail. Not here. Oh, heavens, it's okay to have frogs dragging intestines all over the place and eating it like string cheese, but I can't do any of the fun stuff. Not in any detail beyond what I've just demonstrated above. Kids might be watching. Heavens! I'm corrupting the children of irresponsible parents! Somebody stop me! Or, maybe, it's just me.
Now, the reason I was thinking about all of this was because of Hobbes. I had written the heart-ripping scene, and I knew that I was going to do the bit with the cannibal frogs. Technically, they are not cannibal frogs since they just eat people. They don't eat each other, but I'm drifting off focus again. I knew that our hero Drake was going to be seduced by Hobbes, and it occurred to me that this was a great opportunity to do some really hard-core pornography. I mean we are talking serious bestiality here. And, I thought, why not? I was already doing the horror and the blood and the guts. Let's go for the graphic sex! Yeah! This will be so cool.
So I thought about it. And, I thought about it. And, I thought about it. I went through all these mental arguments just like those listed above. And, I worried about how easy it would be for people who shouldn't necessarily be reading this stuff to do just that. I knew there were irresponsible parents out there. Well, fuck them. I should just go for it. Not chicken out. Go for the– well, you know.
As you can tell, I chickened out. Must be just a prissy little prude at heart.
Actually, something far more interesting happened. I got to the naughty bit and realized that nothing quite so graphic happened. I mean, sure, I could just be justifying my own cowardice to myself, but I like to think otherwise. Hobbes seduces him sensually and emotionally. There is no need to even get to third base. Drake had been through all this crap, and he was going to go through a lot more. And, I realized that he didn't need to fuck an anthropomorphic cat up the ass. He needed and got emotional bonding. Remember, Hobbes was angling to get a share of the water of life if Drake should turn out to be successful in his quest. She didn't need to bone him. She needed him to love her, which is going to turn out to have some consequences that Hobbes really didn't consider at the time when I finally get around to book two. Maybe, not until book four depending on how things go.
So no pornography on my website today, thank you very much.
Oh, which reminds me, I like what Drake said. Now, I'm paraphrasing, but it's something like if you want to think that he got into some really wild bestiality shit with Hobbes, then you go ahead and think that. If you can't imagine how passion and really intense love can be shared without such graphic and gratuitous naughtiness, then I just feel sorry for you.