Let's get right to it: sadly, I'm a truly shitty updater and blogger. One, I'm busy (aren't we all), and two, I procrastinate, and three, I have a nasty little chronic disease which derails me even at my most determined.
Earlier in the game, I tried to be a good little author and did everything my small print publisher asked of me. Again sadly, I somehow immediately stirred up trouble. My publisher was fine with it (bad publicity being worth as much, if not more, than good), but me? Not so much. I'm the most introverted of introverts.
But that's not what made me withdraw. It was an interesting start, but I'm not all that delicate. I'm not being an ass, or a special snowflake. It was the Little Nasty, the chronic monster hanging on my back—and consequently, it was my personal failure. It took a long time to come to terms with that.
I can't keep to schedules with the Little Nasty. I can't always meet deadlines, or be a good guest, or appear out there on the great and terrible worldwide web to spread the word: READ MY BOOKS.
I've always believed that if you want something, make it happen. Wait, what? I'm not in control of these things?
I do, however, still want to write. So, when my world cooperates, that's what I do. The rest will have to suck it, and if I'm talking to myself, that's ok. Nothing new there:)
Now, about writing. First a little personal history. One flows from the other, right?
The first stories I remember loving as a kid were fairy tales. Not any soft-ass cartoon treatments, either—the fairy tales that fascinated me were the ones where an evil queen was forced to dance to her death in red-hot iron shoes, or where selfish and/or desperate girls cut off parts of their own feet in order to fit a glass slipper and win a prince's hand.
And what the hell—a parent takes his kids out into the woods and leaves them to starve?
I think I loved them because they scared me. Plus, I always knew adults were sewn together out of tattered bits of darkness, exhaustion and shattered nerve. The stories just confirmed it. After all, they're the ones who made these stories up, right?
The next phase of the reading love-in involved everything comics. Things like The Witching Hour and Werewolf By Night. I read some of the superheroes, too: The Fantastic Four and Spiderman, with a dash of Superman and Batman.
My tastes run, and apparently have always run, to genre fiction instead of mainstream. Science fiction, horror, western, a dash of cops and robbers. And I found them all in movies, books, TV—however I could feed the fix.
Sometimes the worse the movie was, the more I loved it. There was some face-hugger thing back in my 20s that I watched over and over on cable and adored it. It became a comfort-movie: one I watch and love, sometimes precisely because it's fun and awful.
You know what another comfort movie for me is? This one's not campy nor awful, though yeah, there's also a face-hugger thing (the FIRST face-hugger thing—no copycat, this). But it's amazing. Alien. I think I'll be watching that one in the nursing home.
This reads like I'm in love with horror and science fiction, but it's more of a fascination, and kind of morbid. Actually, it's a love/hate thing. As a teenager, I began having night terrors after watching a long string of scary movies. They just felt too real, even though I knew they weren't, and didn't necessarily look real. It's always been the ideas behind the story, for me, that set their claws in deep; and just as much, it's the visuals roaring in my brain for long after. The ones that come from my brain and not a screen. They're so much worse.
So the truth is, some science fiction and most horror still scares me, in a deeply unsettling way. In a way that I don't think my kids or yours would understand. They'd make fun of me for being so delicate.
I guess I work it out, writing.
People seem so very tough and versatile, but the truth is, we are fragile. Breakable, in mind and in body, in love and in fear. I write about the way we persevere, and the way we fail. Sometimes the good guys win; sometimes couples run off into the sunset together.
And sometimes, they don't.
When I write horror, the bad usually wins. There's usually a bit, or a lot, of the southern gothic sensibility in there: I'm from the South and grew up poor, and more than a little alienated. Not a far stretch. But when I write about love and relationships, they win. Usually after some truly shitty obstacles... but, you know. Eventually they win.
I said adults are made of tiredness and nerves, but we're made of finer stuff, too. The stuff the news doesn't tell us much about, and should. Maybe we'd need less pharmaceuticals.
I like to write about all of it. I write about things real and unreal (or do I? metaphors abound). I pretend I'm in control. And I am, on the printed page.
Before I go, I'd like to give a shout-out to my bad-ass cover artist and dear friend, Sonja Triebel, for her hard work and for putting up with me over the years. Check out more of her work at her site, false-colors.
For more about my charming self, check out Blogger and a few interview links from days of yore:
From Steamy Swamp to the Power of Pan... guest author Theda Black at Clare London's LJ
Saige Advice: Interview with Theda Black
International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
Top2Bottom Reviews: Interview with Theda Black