Bring on the Meat Show

This week I took a trip to Hell.  Actually, I went to Garberville for my job.  It was not the best day of my life.

I figured the trip would cause my back to flare up, but I didn't expect it to be as bad as it was.  By the time I made it back to work on Wednesday, I was in so much pain I could barely see straight.  I even left work early because of it.  Those who know me understand that is something I almost never do.

I went home, threw up, took a pill (also something I almost never do), did a super hot soak that boiled me like a lobster, then used a heating pad for quite some time.  I did nothing that night.  For me to do nothing, well, that's a big deal.  My manuscripts don't edit themselves, and I don't have a maid come clean the house.

The pain is still there, and probably will be for another day or two.  On Thursday after work (yes, I went back -- see, I never stay home due to pain) I started doing some massive edits on the cannibal manuscript.  Maybe it's because of the pain and the medicine that is in my system, but I got somewhat meaner with the entire thing.  I also realized how nasty the original work happens to be.  It is written to be like an early '70s exploitation/horror film where nothing good ever happens, and it definitely comes out that way.  For all the people asking me about this, I hope you won't be disappointed.  I also hope you'll understand that while this came from my mind, your children are still safe around me.  They won't be eaten.  I promise.

I described a scene to Girl on our morning break.  A scene I actually did a lot of research on.  I had to learn how people used to tan hides, and I found out some pretty interesting things.  In writing the scene, I added my own little twist (you will know it when you read it, and if you've read the first draft it is still there).  It got the reaction I thought it would, which was of surprised disgust, but I thought, "What if she didn't know me and read that?"  I think she would seriously question the mind of someone who could write such a thing.

Melinda, a short story I like, but that is tame for me, has generated a few sales on Amazon.  It's also gotten me a few e-mails from men who have this fetish for starving women to death.  These are poorly-written e-mails (I think both are from Britain, too) most likely written by men still living at home with mom and secretly masturbating to anorexia porn in the wee hours of the morning.  The e-mails aren't disturbing.  They are actually quite polite.  They just want to know if I have anymore stories like that one.  I don't.  It isn't a topic I write about on a regular basis.  What I find odd, besides that fetish, is that readers may think I have some kind of fetish myself for starvation.  I don't; it's a story.  When it comes to cannibalism, however, I am fascinated with it, and that along with my love of horror movies from the '70s and '80s caused me to write this manuscript as a way to "let the love flow" as it were.  (And before someone asks, no I am not a cannibal.)

Cannibalism is a social taboo in most cultures.  Our's included.  (I do find it oddly funny and disturbing, however, that when Dahmer was finally stopped, a lot of people I knew were more disturbed by his homosexual serial killing than his cannibalism.  It shows how backwards our society really is.  He wasn't a cannibal who was homosexual.  He was a homosexual cannibal.)  When it occurs throughout the world it is either social (as in tribes), psychological (as in Dahmer) or due to survival (as in the Donner Party).  It is one thing humans do that still manages to shock and disgust, even in this world where videos of girls eating vomited feces and men squatting on jars that break in their rectums inspire t-shirts.  The eating of another person reminds us that while we love computers, the lottery and Harry Potter, we are still animals and to some of us we are food.  Rape is a horrible crime that fills people with fear.  The thought of being captured and eaten?  That fills you with dread.

Once I publish the manuscript, I will probably go into great detail on my book blog about what inspired certain scenes and why I wrote what I did.  In the end, however, unlike Melinda, this manuscript comes from a place of child-like fascination with an act that causes most people to throw up in their mouths a bit. It doesn't come from a dark place like the one I'm currently writing a first draft on.  It comes from that same place that thinks looking into your backyard at one a.m. and seeing a clown is terrifying (this is a vivid childhood memory of mine, and he let firecrackers -- more on that sometime later), a place where remote places in the mountains inspire fear and imagination.  Melinda was just an idea.  The cannibal manuscript is a theme that runs through my life.  (When I finished the first draft I got John Lopez of Carl Hanes Tattoo to do a tattoo of a teeth bracelet around my wrist in celebration.  I also have a section on my book shelf dedicated to cannibalism, and one of my favorite movies of all time is the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  So, yeah, this isn't a one-time idea that I ran with and wrote about.  This is something I've studied for years.)  Because of that, I think the tale comes across as more terrifying.  In some spots I am absolutely gleeful (such as the tanning scene) with the perversity and violence.  Of course, that's just my take.  I'll let the readers decide.

I can only imagine what e-mails I'll get in after it gets published.

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