And she conquered.
Watching it wasn't easy. The sword thrusts were quick and to the point, but she came prepared. She knew how to dodge, how to feint, and how to sometimes let the flesh take the blow. She knew it wouldn't kill her, but she also knew she would suffer. Suffering, as they say, is easy. Few do it well, though.
Sitting alone at night, pondering, she knew she had to face the fury again ... day after day. It was not something just anyone could do. Not even close. If you think about it, being a samurai was never about doing the easy thing. It was all about embracing the fact that you would die in battle and then doing battle the best way possible. If you were good enough, skilled enough, you survived. If you died, you died honorably, or so help your family's honor.
She did her family well.
Watching this play out, people had ideas. They always do. They work their magic to try and lessen something, make it more human. Especially when confronted with what they don't understand. They do their best to drag their savior down to their level, to humanize them, to humble them. They never realize that the samurai, in order to get where she has been, has already been humbled, has already been humanized, has already been at that level. That's the only way she cold transcend. It wasn't easy. It wasn't quick. It was not without casualties. There were many sleepless nights, many dark times where the blade was her only friend. That is common. That is the life of the warrior.
If you've never been there, you would never understand. Men, by nature of their confidence, can pull this off. They do it all the time. They do it without the skills to back it up. They do it because it is what they are taught. They muddle through while appearing to be victors.
Females don't have it so easy, so when they can do it, you know there are the skills there to back it up. You know that the blades they carry (which are always hidden -- if they even come armed), can cut you to shreds before you even realize it.
Strong, smart women with confidence and skills do more damage than a nuclear bomb, and can accomplish more than a well-armed militia. They can destroy mountains with a look. They can motivate nations. They can inspire people to greatness ... and they can do it without the heavy-handed methods that are employed by men of lesser distinction.
Realizing that, I know I am one of the lucky ones. I survived intact. I get to breathe another day. I was witness to a mission accomplished in a way that would dazzle the more intellectual among us and cause the easily distracted to wonder just what the hell happened. That is rare. But then again, so is a female samurai ...
(I don't expect any kind of great understanding from anyone on this. Quite frankly, I am tired beyond belief. I remain impressed with some people, though, and the more I know, the more impressed I become. When you lose faith in the human race, sometimes all it takes is some well-placed words and an examination of the world around you to set things right.)
There is a balancing act that needs to be performed. Too far one way or another, and you have something that is either so graphic in the blood department that it takes away the rest of the scene's power. Go the other direction and you have something so erotic that it makes the violence seem almost like an after thought. I just wrote a scene a few days ago that needed to be between the two, while at the same time being viewed at by an outsider who had never seen such a thing, and administered by someone so used to it that it was second nature. For it to work, it could not seem like you were reading it. Instead, the reader had to be there. The narrative could not cause the reader to contemplate, but had to force them to be in the moment. That meant no delving into anyone's thoughts and only writing with the senses (and I had to pick which senses would be heightened by the experience).
Unless you've tried to do this or have realized what you are experiencing when you read it or see it in a movie, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about, which could be a good thing, as that means you've probably never realized it is taking place. A movie can sometimes easily pull that off. A book cannot.
I focused on key things that a first-time witness would focus on. The nudity. The blood. The face. The noises. The words spoken. The actions taken. Nothing else even comes into focus until after the scene is over. Nobody died in the scene, and it didn't involve force, so there weren't those jarring elements. It was art created with sexual imagery and blood. It elicits a different reaction from people, conflicting reactions within one's own mind, but I couldn't focus on the character because the reader in this case had to be the character, and I didn't want to tell the reader what to think. Instead, I had to show the reader enough to get them to form a reaction that I wanted. It is manipulation, and it is not easy because the scene either works or totally falls apart.
Did it work? Time will tell when I go back to do my rewrites. I have a feeling it does because I'm actually good with those kinds of scenes (and dialogue, of course). Will it work for everyone? No. But my guess is that regardless of whether or not it works, readers will see it through to the end. As for the rest of the manuscript ... that remains to be seen.
The only plus side is that one led me to some wonderful insight into how to deal with a situation I am in now.
I dread this day ... for many reasons.
I've been watching my daughter's fish most of the morning. I find it relaxing. Had some coffee on the deck in the dark. It was wonderful. Peaceful. It was like the world was a tomb, an effect randomly marred by the passing of some poor soul on their way to work. It made me think of a time before cars, cell phones, fax machines, supermarkets, computers -- all those things that have made us soft.
Worked on the manuscript last night (my plans had changed on me). I want this published, I want to write the next one. I have no idea what it will be yet (my mind is too into this one), but I hope it will be worthy of my time.
6:15. Been up for almost three hours. Have to work eight hours. Should be a marvelous day.
As I had to stop, in the middle of the street no less, while a man on a bike stopped to talk to the man in the car in front of me, one such lady waved at me from the sidewalk. Stupidly, I looked. She took this as an invite to make her way over to the car.
Before I could get a word out, this woman, whose low cut top revealed the gentle swell of her bruised breasts, said, "Are you looking for company?"
"No, but thanks." I was polite. She's trying to work. I understand that. She's got to hustle that ass so she can put food on the table. Who am I to judge?
"Yah sure?" Her lack of teeth and personal hygiene made sure I was sure.
"Can I get a ride?"
If I put her in the car, I would have to delouse the thing. Of this, I am sure. I have passengers sometimes. All I need is a lice breakout.
The car in front of me pulled away, but she still had her hands on the roof of mine. Damn her.
"I am sure."
She looked at me as if I had no idea what I was missing out on (I'm sure she was right) and sauntered back to the curb. She looked about forty-five, which meant she was probably twenty-nine. I give her credit for being bold, too, as I'm sure I looked pissed.
As I drove away, I saw a truck slow down, and she went right to the passenger side door and climbed on in. Just like that. Services offered. Denied. Services offered. Accepted. I could only imagine how many new male members she would have the pleasure of meeting that night. How many is too many for a single night? Five? Ten? Two? Twenty? Would anyone ask for anything strange? (This is Humboldt, after all.) Would she get beat up? Robbed? Raped? The usual pitfalls that come with the job. Would she be asked to put on a special costume or fist some guy whose wife "just don't understand"? Would she go to be regretting the lifestyle, or counting the cash?
I'm sure she was a nice enough person, and it is quite possible her oral skills would be unsurpassed and I just blew (no pun intended) the chance of a lifetime. I somehow doubt it, though. The lack of teeth may have been a selling point for some guys, but me, I'm kind of old-fashioned when it comes to that sort of thing.
Limbs, however, are a whole other story.
The piece wasn't picked up. I got the generic rejection letter that every writer has seen at one time or another. The person who rejected it, however, decided to write a personal note on it. This cock knock, whose initials are JF (he could be dead for all I know) took it upon himself to scrawl, "I hate tattoos, and not that into Shonen Knife rip offs or whatever the fuck their problems are. Tattoo removal story might be good if it were about some stupid asshole who got themself [sic] all inked up and then tried to remove that shit from their body -- unsuccessfully -- and then killed themself [sic] by immolation. Thanks, JF"
This, I should remind you, was an editor.
I'm not complaining. The guy was obviously in a shit mood, and I ended up placing the piece in Japanophile, which was a far classier magazine and paid nicely.
I just happened to come across this letter the other day while clearing out the desk. It made me wonder what happened to JF. It also made me wonder what the hell he had against tattoos. Maybe he got drunk at one time and got one of those shitty ones drunks often sport. Maybe some tattooed girl broke his heart, or maybe a tattoo guy fondled him in a bathroom somewhere. I'll never know.
I used to hate my enemies. These days I tend to ignore them unless they get in my way. Then they must be dealt with appropriately. Otherwise, I am just wasting my time, and time is one thing I'll never have enough of no matter what I do.
I get it. Embrace. Do what you got to do to get by all while keeping whatever shred of sanity you have. Immerse yourself in whatever gets you going. Become one with the Black Sun.
The body is a strange things. So many poisons in it. Some physical. Some mere ideas. I like the potential that is there. I like the limits that are broken. I think it's time to break mine a bit. Break it like you would a horse. Break it like you would someone's spirit. Break it into a thousand shimmering pieces of no tomorrows.
I like to think that when all is said and done and humanity is reduced to some smoldering waste pile that we will have known what we were capable of. I believer, however, we'll only know what we were afraid to achieve.
I don't want to go out like that.
I want to achieve.
Over and out.
I will not think bad thoughts.
I think I'm pretty clear with my feelings. When I don't want to be bothered, I don't want to be bothered. When I don't want to talk, I don't want to talk. When I wish someone harm, I wish someone harm. That honesty can sometimes be damaging. It's not "healthy," or so I've been told.
I think it's a lot more healthy than suppressing those feelings and pretending like you are somehow above them. Like they are something you don't have, but "other people" do.
I will not think bad thoughts. I will not think bad thoughts.
There's a scene in Stanley Kubrick's flawed, yet beautiful version of The Shining. Jack has reached his breaking point, and his wife finds manuscript page after manuscript page formatted in various ways with the same line. "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
Suppression doesn't work well for some people.
I think of myself as a fairly happy person in some unhappy situations. I make the most of them. I'm not hanging people in my garage and taking the drill to them. I'm not robbing liquor stores or poisoning town water supplies. I'm not exposing myself in public parks, and I don't have a shoplifting habit that's threatening to get me jail time. I don't go through life wearing a false smile (or often even a real one since people tend to get freaked out when I smile and I don't feeling like answering questions). I have even stopped pointing out much of the bullshit on the part of hypocrites when I encounter it because it's just not worth it.
Instead, I keep my mouth shut a lot and nod. I bite my tongue, not to spare anyone's feelings, but to keep from having to explain things. It's easier that way sometimes. A cop out? Yes, but in the long run it saves me e-mails and awkward moments.
I will not think bad thoughts.
I tried to be more social for a while. It didn't work. It doesn't work. Not for everyone. Not for me. I don't like the bar scene. Parties are not something I can relate to. Quite honestly, people are herd animals, and herd animals often act in stupid ways. That worries me.
One on one time is often fine. I can do that and not be too uncomfortable in my skin. Sometimes people try to pull me into their dramas. After first I usually laughed at the stupidity of it all, but when I saw the reactions I got to that, I quickly stopped and just kind of tuned out a lot of it. That is also easier in dealing with someone one on one. I don't like being pulled into other people's dramas caused by their own stupidity. I do like hearing about their thoughts and feelings, but don't expect me to sympathize with stupid. It's not going to happen.
I will not think bad thoughts.
I've limited my choices. I don't mind. It beats the alternative. Every once in a great while I'll have some pang of remorse that I didn't pursue something further, but then I realize that in the end, all roads lead to misery and death. That's the final outcome for any situation involving a human. You will, at some point, find yourself with diminished capacity, bleeding out, losing focus. You won't remember who is around you. Their faces will go into soft focus. Names wont' matter. Those memories won't matter. You may not even be strong enough for your survival instincts to kick in. Or ...
It will come fast. You may be with the love of your life. She may be laughing as you drive down the street, singing to some dumb Duran Duran song. Life, at that point, is good. In a split second, though, it all changes. That momentary happiness is replaced with broken glass, screeching tires on asphalt and that awful crunching sound that comes with metal being twisted out of shape. You may hear a scream. You may realize it is her. You will realize it is suddenly cut off. You won't know why because you can't turn your neck. You can look down, though. You need to because you think you wet yourself. You move your eyes down. It's not easy. It's also not urine. It's blood. Her's. And there she is. Across your lap. Part of her anyway. You wonder where the head went (the EMTs will later pull it from the back seat, eyes still open). It's a lot of blood. You black out.
I don't want to pretend there are no meaningful moments in life. There are, or those random acts would have no meaning, either. I just don't want to pretend the awful side of things doesn't exist. I want to acknowledge and move on and not waste my time trying to pretend otherwise.
It gets me through the day, and it keeps me from thinking bad thoughts ... sometimes.
Papeschi, whose work is titled "NaziSexyMouse," assured people he's not promoting Nazism (obviously), but instead pointing out that the symbol of Mickey and the symbol Nazis stole are about one in the same now. It also is a commentary on the lifestyles of Americans, which he calls a "horror."
The Poles want the poster banned. No discussion of capitalism and its ties to fascism. No discussion over how symbols affect people. They just want it to go away because it shocks them.
Subverting symbols is a valid use of art. (And, hey, since we're on the subject, you know how scary Nazis were. Imagine, if you will, how creepy and scary it would have been if Nazis were dressed as they normally were, but all wore Mickey Mouse masks. Creepy!) Using art to shock people -- intentionally or not -- is also valid. Not only is it valid, it is often necessary. This is a good case in point.
Crispin Glover's movie What is It? also uses Nazi imagery with a beloved child star. This movie poster obviously invokes all kinds of feelings in someone who remembers Shirley Temple. It is designed to stop you in your tracks, and it does that through the juxtaposition of Nazi culture and child star.
On the flipside of that, sometimes the general public needs something as obvious as this to react. It is unable to comprehend the subtle due to the onslaught of images that comes at it everyday in the form of advertising and who knows what else. It's all the difference between poison and a nuclear bomb. Both kill, but do so in wildly different ways. I prefer the poison because it's more direct and there is more art to be maintained that way, but the nuclear option does wonders for getting one's point across.
When this photo of a female hockey team was taken (1916), the swastika didn't mean what it does today. Obviously, it's hard to imagine a sports team doing something so bold (though Native Americans will feel differently), but can you imagine the reaction if they did? What kind of fear would it inspire in its opponents? This Edmonton team doesn't inspire too much fear, even with us having the meaning of the swastika changed (it could be the sweaters), but if the Colts suddenly changed their name and logo, I think the NFL would be a wildly different place.
It is doubtful that the swastika will ever regain the meaning it originally had. It's hard to undo a history as powerful as the Nazis'. When artists continue to use the symbol to invoke shock, it just continues the tradition (not that I'm saying they shouldn't use it -- they should -- I just don't find it very subtle). There will never be another serious sports team with a swastika logo, and it's doubtful there will ever be another comic book cover that uses it in such a benign way (it has been used as a tool of fear and shock, though). We have come too far to ever go back. It has been subverted by some evil people, and I'm not so sure that is a bad thing. It has more power this way. It is rare when symbols can change so drastically. In fact, I can't think of another instance where this has happened. The crucifix is close, but I don't think it has the power to enrage as much as the swastika does. Its use as a shock value in art isn't universal, either.
The swastika, and its use by cultures long since forgotten by history and those that will never be forgotten, may ultimately end up being humanity's symbol. (Telling that in some instances it is used for some of the Black Sun symbols.) When aliens discover the hollowed remains of our world, which would have been destroyed through disease, war or some asteroid, they will find the one symbol that was there throughout history. The one that started off as an innocent ward of good fortune, then was used as a calling card for fascism, and then became a wake-up call to complacency. Will it evolve again? Perhaps. What it will evolve into, however, is anyone's guess. As long as people want it banned from public viewing, though, it is safe bet to say that its power will continue to be that of a reminder of something people want to forget ... and that is the worst thing you can do when it comes to this symbol. Because when you forget and when you ignore, that is when it comes back. Maybe not in the same form, but it will appear.
Black Flag songs ran through my head. They usually do when I'm in this sort of mood, but this time it is different. This time it is good.
The sense of freedom, whether it is real or based upon an illusion, is a very powerful thing. It gives you a sense of self that often only comes when you are holding a gun.
The fog that slithers through the trees feed them. It gives those gigantic redwoods the moisture they need to grow. At a certain point, you lose sight of all the objects in it. They slowly fade to nothing, swallowed by the gray.
The coffee is not my usual brand. It's got hazelnut in it. Not a fan.
I've put out word that I'm selling a lot of my stuff. I've gotten a ton of e-mails overnight. It is refreshing. I'll unload, free up space, and have less stuff to move when the time comes.
I head inside for a shower. Put on GG Allin. Loud. Later in the morning, a commercial advises me that if I fail to watch Frasier five times a week I'll experience medical symptoms. I wonder who the fuck comes up with that shit, and who takes it to heart. Probably the same brand of idiot.
And now the day begins. The morning calls for me. A siren song. A reminder of where I want to be and how I want to get there.
I sat at my picnic table, a large cup of coffee on hand. The air was cool. I like this time. The world is not yet awake. The sun hasn't shown its face. People have not yet invaded my world. I imagine this to be the best kind of morning there ever can be.
My stomach is doing its usual battle, trying to knock me out of the workforce yet another morning. I'll win this one. I usually do. I make a promise to myself to work on the manuscript tonight. I didn't do it last night. I was doing ... other things.
It's a little after five when I finally go back in the house. Going to shave my head. I put Goblin on the stereo. The theme from Suspiria, with its deep, prophetic bass, is pouring into the bathroom as I engage the clippers. Soon I'll shower and try to destroy another day before it destroys me. Don't know if I'll succeed. That's the good feeling. I would not want to go into every day knowing just how I'll react to a given situation.
Heard those words again last night ... after the evil. "Just walk away." Can't do that yet. Eventually ...
The second cup of coffee seems more bitter. Of course, it could be that the sun is up and the noise of the day has begun. That puts the bitterness in perspective.
Just walk away.
I've played elements of this conversation out a few times before writing it. I didn't plan the whole thing. I actually just had a few lines I knew I wanted to use. I knew what the female character would look like. I didn't know her back story (not at that time). I still don't know her fate.
The conversation started like I wanted it to. The lines I wanted were there. As I wrote it, it evolved ... as it always does. Her story became known. Her level of pride became apparent. Her past stood out. This was all done through dialogue. I'm a big fan of dialogue telling you most of what you need to know about a character.
This scene is the first time you start to see the power of one of the main characters, and you see it through the eyes of the other one. The words he uses, the phrases, the way he says them, what he is saying -- it all lets readers know that maybe this guy isn't quite right. He is in full control of his actions, but he also seems like a bomb ready to go off. He comes across as dangerous, yet charismatic. That alone would tell most people to stay away.
But that would be no fun.
When I finish the scene, the tone of the manuscript will have been forever changed. It will be the start of the downward spiral. Therefore, it has to read a certain way. It can't be the defining moment, but it will set that moment into motion.
If you watched The Devil's Rejects you may remember the scene in the hotel room. You know the one. It involves a gun. That is not the film's defining moment, but it is the one that takes that movie and changes it. In the theatre, it was when the laughter and extraneous audience chatter ceased. It was the moment the movie felt dangerous, like anything could happen.
The moment I'm writing won't be that extreme of a change, but only because I'm dealing with a book and not a ninety-minute movie. Movie moments have to have quicker, bigger impact. Book moments are more like simmering pots. You keep the heat on until they boil over.
This scene is the start of the simmering. How it ends ... well, that is not as important as how it began. That means everything.
Regan Reese still brought a lot of people here (and caused me to lose my AdSense account), but this time there was another weird variant on her name. "Regan Reese pocket." I'm not sure what the hell that means, or why anyone would look that up, but it brought people to this blog. Hope they enjoyed it.
The next one that caused me to scratch my head in disbelief was (and the quotes were used by the person searching): "fellate her son" Japan. That search was right above: "she liked being tied." At least I can understand the latter. I have no idea why the former drove people to the blog.
In an effort to apparently scare the crap out of someone, a person searched for: "zig the clown" duct tape. That was a great episode of Scare Tactics. I'm just hoping it wasn't the same guy looking for "fellate her son." In related news, one of the creepiest (yes, even creepier than "zig the clown" duct tape) was: funny characterseen around your house. What the hell does that mean? Who the hell would enter that into a search engine? What were they expecting to find? I have to tell you, even typing that weirds me out.
That brought people here, as did a bunch of stuff on BP. I really hope they read the BP piece I did. I don't think I've written much about "oral," however.
And then, last but not least of the strange ones, there is: screaming angels of death.
On my video game blog, 8 Bit Disasters, there is a ton of people looking for video game porn. And then there was this lone search: days without masturbating. That is the saddest search ever.
Four Colors of Doom, my comic book blog, had this disturbing search that brought some poor soul into my world: emma frost fucked by nightcrawler tail. I think that happened in Uncanny X-Men #236.
That does it for the insanity this time around. Maybe I'll make this monthly, as the strange searches people do strike me as fairly amusing.