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"Washed is the ground with so many tears."

Yesterday, I wrote 1,092 words on Chapter Three of Fay Grimmer. I think the most remarkable thing about the Siobhan Quinn books so far is the almost utter absence of sex and/or romance. Of course, when one sets out to lampoon PR, an absence of both is essentially required. I'm pretty sure that Quinn is the female Hank Moody of werepires. Okay. No. She's not one third that cool. And the no sex. Anyway, I'm speaking of Blood Oranges, Fay Grimmer, and Puppy Love, the contracted trilogy. Trilogies are contracted like plagues. And no, that doesn't include Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings is a single book that was divided into the parts at the behest of his publisher, but it's still a single book.

Somehow, Kid Night turned into a House M. D. marathon. We'd never seen the show, and when we dropped by Acme Video, on impulse we rented part of the first season. We watched the first seven episodes last night. My feelings are mixed. Obviously, I must have been enjoying it, as I kept wanting more. However, without Hugh Laurie and the title character, written with such wit and panache and irascible charm, all you have is a schmaltzy hospital TV melodrama. Rarely could he be offscreen for more than five minutes without me beginning to grow bored and questioning my taste in entertainment. Then he'd return, and I'd be astounded at this biting, updated take on Sherlock Holmes. Of course, a significant factor working against the show is that it can only bite just so hard and only be just so smart and witty because it was made for Fox, and, on network TV, even now, you can only go so far when risking offending people by truthfully mocking them. It was a lot like watching Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Whenever Vincent D'Onofrio stepped off the stage for more than five minutes, there was a serious threat of everything going mushy and dull. Oh, and the fact that House actually teaches how scientists think (and how doctors rarely do), how understanding arises from the trial and error of reasoning, another plus to help offset the schmaltz. Oh, and Vicodin! Lots and lots of my patron saint, Vicodin!

Oh, and while getting our weekly pizza at Fellini's, some touron fucktard (who was there with his incredibly loud extended family of about fifty-five fucktards) first commented on how much he liked Spooky's hair. Then immediately said to me, "So, she's your daughter? Or your...friend?"

Now, yeah, I should have punched the douchebag in the ear. I was in no mood for breathtaking breaches of etiquette, much less having a tourist think I was in my sixties. See, Spooky's only six years my junior, which means I'd have had to be six...though actually five at the time of conception, so...but I'm the one with grey hair, I guess. Anyway, I just turned away from him, laughed a tired laugh, and muttered "She's my girlfriend." I glanced back at the douchebag, and he looked as confused as I think his tiny Stegosaurus brain was capable of looking.


I am so FUCKING sick of this business about "trigger warnings." I'm so weary of the absence of critical thought that prevents people from understanding how the inherent subjectivity renders them utterly and completely impractical and unreliable, even if I were willing to censor myself (Hint: I'm not.). And I've been getting these people who say, "Oh, but we just mean for the most obvious stuff! You know, rape and incest and child abuse." But I've been told there should be warnings if there's lesbian sex. Or any sex. No, really.

"Oh, it's stupid if you go too far, but, sometimes it truly is reasonable."

Okay, yeah. Whatever. Here's the way I see it. Writers are liars. All of us. Well, all people are liars, but writers get paid to do it (barely). Writers who are so deluded as to think they might be good writers try to write with honesty. Which means not pulling punches. But the readers only came for the lies. Because I can be slow on the uptake, the elegant simplicity of this just now occurred to me, this Catch-22, this hideous circle, and it may or may not have anything to do with "trigger warnings."

But here's where I stand, and here's where I will likely still be standing years from now: No, you will not find "trigger warnings" here. It is solely your responsibility as the reader to police what you will and will not read online. My only responsibility is to write, whatever I want. Period. Your psyche is neither my responsibility nor my concern. The end. So, please, no more silly attempts to make this shit sound even remotely reasonable.

Or stay and read and risk occasionally being unnerved or pissed off or suffering a flashback...or whatever. You are free. It's your call. I am free, and I can say I think this stuff is bunk (and provide logical arguments to support my claim). You are free to disagree. But somewhere else. I'm tired of this. Recently, this fashionable hysteria (and related ones) has led to my being called a racist, a sexist, an ableist, ordered never again to speak of parenting, declared insensitive because I hate Kindles, called an...okay, no, forget all that. Doesn't matter. I'm not going to waste my time defending myself from fools. I'm only going to write, and – I admit – often write viciously and with an absolute disregard for anyone else's feelings. Trauma is my stock and trade, wicked though it may be. I pick scabs, mine and yours. I scrutinize scars, mine and yours. I worm into the folds of the cerebellum, mine and yours.*

And on the day I need to explain to anyone why I am free to do that...


So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skies from pain?
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
A walk on part in a war
For a lead role in a cage?
~ Pink Floyd

How I Wish You Were Here,
Aunt Beast

* My actual readers know this. It's mostly the trolls who've never read me, but heard somewhere or another that I'm dissing their shit that are the problem. Those who think they are privileged and above criticism to whom I am, in the main, speaking. I love the way they threaten never again to buy my books, when it's obvious they never have. Now, I'm tired of talking about this, and my bona-fide audience are tired of hearing about it.


( 22 comments — Have your say! )
Aug. 18th, 2012 06:07 pm (UTC)
I've always found that the people who bitch the most about :: insert storytelling medium of choice:: are the ones who don't read/watch/play it. An excellent example is the time my mother was convinced, after reading *one* article about the Harry Potter books, that they "sounded depressing". I read the first three (at the time, the only ones that had been released), to see what all the yelling was about, and afterward, I told her "If someone finds Harry Potter depressing, there's something horribly *wrong* with their brain." Of course, this was before the abysmal final two books were written (but "abysmal" is just my opinion: I was expecting an epic finale of epicness, and... I got a lot of teenage romance and emoness.)

Just finished reading "The Yellow Book" and found it both delightful and unsettling:

'Ex Libris' was wonderfully shiver-inducing, mostly because my dad and I are both pack rats who often come home with containers of second hand stuff from junk shops/antique shops/auctions/etc. We don't have a row of antique doorknobs on the windowsill, but there is a row of antique glass insulators that were used on telephone poles, and we've yet to bring home a box of occult books, though one time at an auction, I won a box of books on ghosts and hauntings. (Direct quote from the auctioneer, on bringing up the box: "'Surreal Art'... 'True Hauntings'... 'Ghosts'... Sounds like my house.")

And "The Yellow Alphabet" is like a curio cabinet or a shadowbox full of peculiar objects, of the kind that might grace a drawing room in Stephan's Ward (my real introduction to your stories, the one that got me itching for more, was the stand-alone edition of "In the Garden of Poisonous Blossoms", on the recommendation of a dear friend of mine, which lead me to "Alabaster" and "Threshold" and so the journey began...). One question: is the color scheme on the Alphabets inspired by the four colors associated with the medieval concept of the Four Temperaments, or is it something else (or is it just my strange pattern-seeking mind seeing patterns in odd places)?
Aug. 18th, 2012 06:30 pm (UTC)

Good comment, though I rankle at this use of "emoness," or any pejorative use of emo, especially if it is short for "emotion" or "whiny" or whatever. Also, I consider myself a fan of emo music.

Still good comment, otherwise. And re: the Four Temperaments, nope.
Aug. 18th, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC)
now I have Pink Floyd brain worming me.. but, its a good song ..
Aug. 18th, 2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
I liked the first season or so of House, but felt like the subsequent seasons focussed too much on "House is sooo outrageous, isn't it great how he's mean to people" missing the point of the earlier ones where he's mean (a) from impatience, or (b) to provoke patients into revealing clues he can use in diagnosing their ailments, but not so much (c) just for its own sake. And then conversely, the later episodes also tend to periodically moralize about how House is addicted to painkillers (well, yes, because he's actually in pain all the time) and in the middle of all this, the medical mysteries start to make less logical sense.

If you haven't run across it, Polite Dissent is a fun blog, though not recently updated, in which a medical doctor who's a tv and comic fan reviews House episodes (among other things).
Aug. 18th, 2012 07:15 pm (UTC)

but felt like the subsequent seasons focussed too much on "House is sooo outrageous, isn't it great how he's mean to people"

But I like that. Almost most of all.
Aug. 18th, 2012 08:30 pm (UTC)
In the recent kerfuffle, I was lambasted by people I'd never heard of before, who are not readers, or even remotely interested in what I do. Spot the caring person....
Aug. 18th, 2012 09:05 pm (UTC)

Aug. 18th, 2012 09:27 pm (UTC)
The bite and sardonicism of HOUSE was what kept me watching week after week.

I intend to re-read BLOOD ORANGES this fall.

Aug. 18th, 2012 10:01 pm (UTC)

I intend to re-read BLOOD ORANGES this fall.

Er...are you sure?
Aug. 19th, 2012 02:32 am (UTC)
Gaaaaah.... slip of the brain.... I meant THE RED TREE, which was the first book of yours I'd read. I shouldn't type when sleep-deprived.

The brain latched on to your mention of BLOOD ORANGES and jumped a track from impatience.

Aug. 18th, 2012 10:03 pm (UTC)
Ugh, regarding Stegosaurus brain: why do people feel the need to comment/question other people's relationship status'/age/other private things? Why is this ever ok?
Aug. 18th, 2012 10:17 pm (UTC)
The thing to do is to imagine what Harlan might do if confronted with the 'trigger' charge. He would probably blink a few nonplussed blinks, cock his head, assume a deceptively gentle smile, and then build to an indefensible and hilarious rant.
Aug. 19th, 2012 06:19 am (UTC)

Now that is a priceless image. Let's say Harlan from about the mid-80s. That would be....um.....yes.
Aug. 19th, 2012 07:53 am (UTC)
I've never had the pleasure, but a friend asked him, with extreme trepidation, if he would sign a book at a convention for a fan of his who was laid up in bed in the hotel with her chronic illness. Ellison asked where she was, burst in through the door shouting, "OK, where's the cripple?" then signed all her books and spent the afternoon sitting with her.
Aug. 19th, 2012 03:13 pm (UTC)
I met Harlan once at a party, around 1992 or so. Was very interesting to see him in action--both in pushy, loud mode and in quiet, career counseling mode in private (with someone else, not me, alas, or I'd be known by now....).
Aug. 18th, 2012 10:22 pm (UTC)
The Lord of the Rings is a single book that was divided into the parts at the behest of his publisher, but it's still a single book.

Any time someone reminds the people of this fact I have to raise my fist and cheer.
Aug. 19th, 2012 01:11 am (UTC)
My wife hates "House" due to the way they depict nurses. She's very biased, as an RN with 30+ years of experience, though.
Aug. 19th, 2012 02:58 am (UTC)
I'm starting to go grey (faster than I'd like as of late) and my partner doesn't have a single one yet (we're the same age). It should be interesting in another year or two when my salt/pepper ratio starts to favor salt - sounds like there will be dumbass comments to look forward to.

"Confessions" arrived last week and with that and "The Yellow Alphabet," there is now an entire CRK shelf on my bookshelf. Well, you do share it with "The Crow" and two Batman graphic novels because they're too tall to fit on the other shelves, but it's essentially all yours (Neil, Ray, and Peter Beagle have the shelf below you). I loved the collection! And the cover came out great - the colors are even more vivid than I'd expected.

Looking forward to the Siobhan Quinn trilogy.
Sandra Garcia
Aug. 19th, 2012 06:20 am (UTC)
This whole trigger warning thing baffles me. Do readers want the writer to string up yellow and black caution tape to warn that an event that might hurt their frail psyche lurks around the corner?

Am I close?

If that's it, then fuck, readers in their bubbles need give up reading. Go read the phone book. Wait, hold on, Bill's Auto Body might trigger thoughts of the time that someone cut off a sensitive reader in heavy traffic.

This fledgling writer does despair over the reading comprehension level. It seems to degrade at a rapid rate.

Edited at 2012-08-19 06:23 am (UTC)
Aug. 19th, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
My trigger warning rule, via "Supernatural"
Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole.

The writer is the driver.

Readers are shotgun.
Aug. 19th, 2012 08:39 pm (UTC)
"Trauma is my stock and trade". I say goddamn, that is why we love you. Fuck yes.

Hank Moody- Californication is the filthiest show in the history of television. Just sayin'. I so rarely get to use the word "filthy" in daily life. Sad. I wish for more filthiness.

The whole Trigger thing is weird. I am fine as long as there are never ever any black midget clowns. Please warn me if there are... I just can't go there... again...

The PO Box is all good. Huge-ass Mosasaur you don't have room for pending. It is so cool you may poop a little (that is totally stolen from Bobcat Goldthwait). But true.
Aug. 28th, 2012 05:44 am (UTC)
My comment, late as usual, as I've been having a hard time keeping up with my own life.

As someone who recently mentioned triggering in a post to you, and, as someone who's got a whole lotta triggers, I abhor the idea of "trigger warnings," particularly demanded on a blog.

For crying out loud, anyone who follows you knows you write about what might be considered sensitive subjects. If you don't want to be triggered, don't read Aunt Beast's fucking blog!

And who says that triggers are always a bad thing, anyway? They give me, at least, an opportunity to use skills I've been trying to learn so that I am *not* triggered.

I've been terrified of heights since forever. I ride rollercoasters as a dare to myself. I love them. They terrify me, and I love them. Some literature terrifies me, and (if it's well written, at least) I love it.

I'm talking about terrified as in wanting-to-die-hurt-myself-break-things-run-mad-in-the-streets-blood-streaming-from-my-limbs terrified. Not that little frisson one might feel when reading something that touches the primordial beast inside us all.

So for the people who want their worlds wrapped in cotton wool, fine and dandy. But don't dare put that responsibility on others; own it yourself. As for me, I double dare you to trigger me.
( 22 comments — Have your say! )