Open That Mouth

I've got this friend who is very into the whole B&D,  S&M scene.  She takes it very seriously (though she constantly uses the word "play" when she talks about it).  She does most of her "play" out of the area because the people here are "emotional manipulators" who spread lies the same way they spread disease ... or so she says.  She called me today, knowing it was a holiday for me and that I had a little free time before I had to do a few things.  She wanted to get some names off me for contacts on trip she was making, and then she wanted to know about the lost manuscript.

When I told her I was rewriting it and it was going to be worse, she hit the fucking roof.  She wasn't happy with it in the first place, fearful that I was taking the sex and violence mix and somehow linking it to S&M and B&D and thus destroying the sanctity of her scene.  (A conversation I had with her a few months ago actually inspired a conversation in the original manuscript, which I will be using again.)  Try as I might, I can't get her to understand that it isn't a novel about B&D or S&M.  Yes, it mixes sex and violence, and yes it has elements of bondage, domination and the like, but that is not the story's backbone.

"You're just going to be another person giving what I enjoy a bad name." 

Oh, I wish I was that powerful.

I told her I really didn't expect that to happen, and nor did I care if it did.  And while she wasn't thrilled to hear that, I likened her to the lesbians who got angry over Basic Instinct.  I'm telling a story.  I don't care who I piss off.  I am serving the story.  If I had to make boy scouts into Satan worshipping pedophiles for the sake of the story, I would do it.  That she could understand.  She was still worried that someone would think people in her scene would be accepting of the behavior I was portraying. 

I told her to wait to read the finished product before formulating an opinion.  I told her I have had several people read chunks of the first draft (before it got lost in the nether), and none of them had any problems with it (and I went with people from all walks of life).  She then asked, "If I had a problem with it, would you change it?"

Hell no.

Rob Zombie told his actors on the set of The Devil's Rejects that art isn't safe.  The director of Battle Royale, a movie where the Japanese government sets children up to kill each other on an island, wanted Japanese kids to see it so that they wouldn't trust authority.  Gaspar Noe uses sound and cinematography to induce sickness in his readers.  Jack Ketchum, author of The Girl Next Door wanted that novel to be so horrible that every page was like a punch in the stomach, but one the reader was willing to take because he couldn't turn away.  GG Allin attacked the people who came to his shows. 

If you are creating something you want to be powerful, no matter the genre or the medium, you can't pull any punches yourself.  You can't worry about what others think or say.  You can't worry about who you may offend.  If you take those things into consideration, you've lost before you've even begun.

She didn't like that.  Not one bit.  But she kind of understood.  Then she said the topper (and this is why our previous conversation inspired a similar conversation in the first draft).  "I just think you shouldn't put sex and violence together if you are going to push it that far."

"And that," I replied, "is why you are going to Denver to 'play.'"

The conversation ended on a good note, and I was out the door.  I'm sure she'll hate the thing once it's finished.  I'm okay with that, though.  This manuscript is not going to be everyone's cup o' tea.  It is necessary, though.  If I didn't get this manuscript written, I'd have these ideas floating around in my head with no hope of release ... and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

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