I took a break from updating this site because I was out of town and all over the country for a month. But now I’m home, catching up on administrative work for Rooster Republic, and trying to readjust to this time zone. I’m getting older, or maybe I was never that great with the time change in the first place. If I’m being honest, then I’d say I don’t really know. I don’t have empirical data to reference. But I digress, and I’m not interested in honesty, so I’ll blame age. I’ll blame my body.
Which is great! Because blaming my body works as a transition to the next paragraph.
I’m developing a body-horror story, and it’s based in part on a nightmare I had, which is unique because, while I have lots of nightmares, I rarely remember night terrors in any real detail and this is the one and only time that I’ve based written work on a dream. Probably more interesting to me than anyone else. Dreams are as personal as any other secret and I am not in the habit of sharing. Unless, of course, sharing comes through in the form of a story.
Initially, the obvious touchstone for me was David Cronenberg. I’ve been a fan of the director’s work since I was very young. Can’t remember which film of his I’d seen first, though. Either THE FLY or SCANNERS. But I caught up with his work pretty quickly, and I try to make an effort to see his films in the theater as they come out. Even picked up his novel.
And David-as-inspiration worked very well, at first. The protagonist, that character’s disposition, all Cronenberg-esque, but then I realized I needed a second touchstone to really breathe life into the narrative, and I quickly saw that one of the things I’d always appreciated in Cronenberg’s early work was the elaborate special effects.
Rick Baker crafted the prosthetic effects for VIDEODROME, among many other notable films, and when I saw his name pop up in the opening credits, I realized that Baker’s work was that second touchstone.
When this story is finished, I like to imagine that it’d be something that would not only appeal to a younger Cronenberg, but would be something that Rick Baker would take on as a challenge.
These are the fantasies within fantasies. Stories are always embedded within other stories. Sometimes, readers are privy to these meta-narratives because they’re easily discernible from the material at hand, or readers know enough about a particular writer that they’re able to pick apart a piece and see the layers that went into crafting a narrative’s foundation.
I think this short story will be this summer’s swan song, and probably the last short I write this year, as I need to return to two full-length manuscripts that have been sitting idle for longer than I’d intended, to say nothing of the novella I began in January that is waiting patiently for me to return.
My short story collection, Now That We’re Alone, seems to be doing well. At the very least, the collection has gotten good press from a handful of sites. Reviews are starting to trickle onto Amazon. But I’ll elaborate a bit more on all that in a later post.
For now, I return to the flesh.
Long live the new flesh…