Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Maggots, Rot and Visceral Imagery

1,372 words today. Which is encouraging. Although, the words at the beginning are the easiest. If I can make it to the end, that's usually fairly easy too, it's all the words in the middle that get daunting. Basically I am at 1,864 in total, which is really just a drop in the bucket. If I can make it past 10,000 without wanting to throw the whole thing out, well, that'll be the true test.

It turns out I'm obsessed with maggots, rot and visceral imagery. Maggots played a big part in the climactic scene of my first novel, and they've found their way onto the opening pages of this one.

"She thought about the time the cat caught a baby bunny and left it twitching on the oriental foyer rug like a pagan offering. How, after her mother nearly stepped on it in bare feet, she stormed off cursing to find some newspaper she could dispose of it in. And when she got back, it was gone. ey Thehdkafnjjjjlkklk
They looked under every piece of ancient mismatched furniture. Or they thought they did. It was over a week before the flies started. They were just there, suddenly, in the house and no one could figure out why or where they’d come from. Then there were more of them. Too many to ignore. And they were coming from under her mother’s bedside table. Climbing and buzzing out from the two inches of blackness created by its stubby legs. And as her ever swearing mother steeled herself for moving the offending piece of bedroom suite, Wendy stood in the doorway, her nose, eyes and fingertips only just curling around the door frame, so she could easily pull her head back and obstruct her view if it was too much to bear. Because she knew what was under there. She knew where the flies were coming from.
            “Oh for fuck’s sake.” Her mother said only to herself, flapping at fat flies, before holding her breath and lifting. Whatever it was on the carpet there, it was not a baby bunny. It was a writhing mass of black and white and red. Like a twisted children’s joke. It hummed as though it were one being, a communal hive mind of maggots, flies and rotting meat.
What’s black and white and red all over?
A fly infested carcass.
Wendy didn’t pull her head back. She didn’t obstruct her view. She peered around even harder. She crept forward slightly. Staring."

I don't know why but it seems that if what I write doesn't make me cringe slightly, I consider it a failure. Like it's too safe or comfortable. I don't want to write things that make people comfortable. But then I suppose it is writing as catharsis. Maggots upset me, so they fascinate me, so I write about them. Rape and bizarre sexual relationships upset me, so they fascinate me, so I write about them.

This section isn't my favorite of what I've written so far, but that's ok. I think if you're able to share the stuff you're least proud of you'll only be stronger for it in the long run.

Anyway, everything's a first draft, so, compliments, insults and pretentious literary criticism, all welcome.

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