Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Unrequited Love and Our Modern Age

I was thinking recently about the nature of love and sex in the last few horror novels I have read. 

Love has changed, hasn't it? 

Today's writing doesn't reflect the love a character has as much as how good the sex is with their partner for that chapter.  There isn't any courting, dating or romance.  If there is any of that mushy stuff at all, it's only after the brain-blasting orgy, when every single bodily fluid has been thoroughly tested by every sense.  Only then does a character seem to give a shit about the other person. 

The days of unrequited love in fiction are gone.  Now if a person loves another, or even wants to be with them, they are shunned and ridiculed.  And for good reason, I expect many to say, because the hang-ups that got between a couple are gone.  From the moment of meeting to that explosive release, those fictitious people no longer have to jump through hoops, or even act like they give a damn. If somebody turns you down, move on to the next person, because finding that partner is easy. 

When I think about the last few novels and novellas I've read in the horror genre, there is no love, or even the imitation of it.  No infatuation either. 

Horror has turned into dark erotica with better plots. 

I'm not sure why this is but I have to say I've become bored and now skip over most sex scenes.  They don't even turn me on.  I've found them boring. 

Unrequited love is the reason a perfectly normal person turns into the killer, or the monster, or the Bad Guy.  That admiration from afar, the constant thoughts, can turn into a chorus of demons screaming at our protagonist.

Unrequited love is powerful--far more powerful than a couple that barely knows each other knocking boots an hour after meeting in the bar. The days of this being shocking, or useful as a tool of anything, are long gone.   In fact, I don't get shocked anymore by anything sexual.  I'm numb to just about all forms of it.  I recently finished Poppy Z. Brite's Drawing Blood.  My friends and I all agreed that graphic gay sex seemed more like an exercise in what the writer could get away with and didn't seem to add much to the characters or the plot. 

But then I asked myself if we thought that because we were straight guys.  I mean, straight men are repulsed by graphic gay sex--far more than women in similar circumstances.  And what I figured out for myself was that it wasn't so much that as it was how simply over-sexed most of us are in this land. 

Sex is everywhere.  Gratification is everywhere.  Release is now sold instead of the Path to Release. 

I once watched a couple on a subway hold hands.  They were young and very much into each other.  Their fingers were in constant motion, moving back and forth over each digit.  He would lightly trace an index finger down the back of her ring finger, slowly moving it around a knuckle.  She put rub her thumb on the back of his hand, between his thumb and forefinger, in slow circles.  After a few minutes they would let go and re-grip, then start over again, with different fingers in different patterns.  It was a sweet, delicate thing to watch and it went on for an hour until their stop came and they left. 

Holding gratification off, either by physical, cultural, or moral reasons creates tension and anxiety.  It is a natural tool.  The Twilight franchise doesn't hold a copyright on this.  And just because two characters aren't naked by the second chapter doesn't make your book suddenly about abstinence. 

The MC should be able to lean in to smell the object of his desire's perfume, or get caught looking at her from across the room, and not be labeled a "creeper" or worse.  If it is anything like real life, she will have no idea, and it will drive him insane.  The emotional storm inside of him will boil until it reaches critical mass and he has to Do Something!  To me that adds a greater dimension than just a bunch of grinding bodies. 

Unless one of them is dead.  Then the story is instantly escalated to awesome. 

Free Candy and Puppies if You Read This

Hi.  I'm sure at some point you'll ask yourself how in the hell you got here. 

You're here because I want to be one of the Cool Kids and have a blog of my very own.  I resisted this urge for a while.  My last blog was notorious and inflammatory.  My last blog got me some attention from the local police department. 

My last blog was something you read at work to your fellow workers when the boss wasn't around.  You whispered and tried to hold down the laughter.  And to be completely honest, I'm genuinely shocked and amazed my last blog didn't get me arrested, or least visited by any number of alphabet soup agencies. 

You're not supposed to say the stuff online that I said and you're not supposed to have as much fun doing as it as I did. 

But that was then.  I live in a nice town now and I haven't had the police visit me once.  Nobody has shot at me, threatened me or requested to be shot in the face.  In fact, I don't even have half the arsenal I used to have.  My friends would be amazed to know I no longer have my .44 magnum Ruger SuperBlackhawk.  God, I loved that pistol!  I had custom rounds loaded for me.  Super heavy hollow-point bullets with extra-low grain of powder. 

The fucker shot pumpkins that would lift a sumo wrestler off his feet. It was shit at distances greater than forty feet and after a while it was like shooting artillery.

But damn it was fun!

So no, I don't have the toys I used to have.  And while I still have the opinions I once did and I'm still active in various groups and movements, I'm keeping it out of this blog.  There's already a whole bunch of that done and I can't imagine myself contributing anything different.

Nope!  This blog is about horror.  Horror literature, perhaps some movies and television, but mainly about books.

And my feeble attempts at trying to be a published fiction writer.

I used to write a bunch but it wasn't very good.  I was young and it sucked.  Good writing takes living and if you ain't lived, your writing will show it.  Mine sure did.

When I was in college, a small state university, I took a creative writing class.  It was grad level.  Poetry.  The professor hated me, which is fine, because I hated her fake British accent.  I was a Midwestern Redneck/Bubba.  And her favorite student, a white girl who wore African kufi despite never having been to Africa, totally hated me.  She was from my hometown and remembered my op/ed column in the local paper.  If you think I'm a troll now you should have read that thing.  Holy Shit!  I was an OT (Original Troll).

So I didn't have much of a chance.  The professor used to hold my work up to the class for ridicule on a regular basis.  Afterwards she and her favorite student would go into her office and laugh about it.

And so I stopped writing.  I let it get to me.  Sure, I was young and impressionable, and my self-esteem was someplace around Death Valley. 

But I let it get to me.

As you can probably guess now, I write with both middle fingers, and I claim to not care who likes and doesn't like it.  I say "claim" because come on, you and I both know somebody has to like it enough to publish it, or to take the time to actually read it. 

And that means I have to care. 

So yes, I do care what you think, and I'm very much interested in what you have to say.  Drop me a line.