Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The Xenomorphs Understand #WEP

Free use image by Wolfgang Eckert on Pixabay

Tagline: Thoughts from an Outsider on Aliens and Acceptance

Critique Guidelines:

Full CONSTRUCTIVE criticism regarding the mechanics of the piece is acceptable. Tearing down the subject matter is not. Further, I don't give a rat's ass if any of you find my use of salty language "low class." I've had a hard life. I quit using both alcohol and drugs 25 years ago and stopped smoking cigarettes in 2006. I'll damn well cuss if I feel like it. If you have a problem with that, don't read the essay. It's simple.

Without further ado-doo, here's the contentious piece in all its glory.

The Xenomorphs Understand

Per the Wikipedia entry on Lovecraftian horror, H. R. Giger's book of paintings, which inspired many of the designs in the film Alien, was named Necronomicon after a fictional book appearing in several of Lovecraft's stories. Dan O'Bannon, the original writer of the Alien screenplay, has also mentioned Lovecraft as a major influence on the film.

It’s no wonder a fourteen-year-old me, who had not long ago started reading Lovecraft’s works, was so taken with Alien. I was already a seasoned horror buff. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that I started reading Edgar Allan Poe’s works at six years old. I loved reading horror comics under the covers with a flashlight, even though this activity contributed to my fear of venturing down the dark hallway to the bathroom during the night. The giant cockroaches that invaded our poorly-constructed New Mexico home and the whatthefuckery of a massive furnace vent right in the middle of the damn hallway floor making it so you had to scoot along the wall or risk burning your feet on the hot metal grate didn’t help.

I didn’t consciously entertain the idea of the Xenomorphs being misunderstood until decades after my first viewing of Alien. In 2012, I was sick of my life and sick of myself. I was hung up on a guy who was never going to see me as anything but a booty call. I was grieving the loss of my father. I was out of hope, but my son still needed my help, so I had to find something to distract myself from punching my own ticket, which was the action I really wanted to take.

My therapy came in the form of crazy fan fiction crossovers featuring evolved Xenomorphs.

Nobody but me will ever read these stories. When I reread them, it’s obvious how much I needed someone to understand what I was going through and how lost I felt.

The Xenomorphs—my fellow Outsiders—saved me.

Much of my writing centers around the idea of acceptance. I hoped one day I’d find an audience of outsiders like myself who would enjoy my strange worlds. This has never come to pass, which may be no surprise to those on the outside looking in. Normal people don’t get me, and I don’t get them.

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I’ve tried to convince people that I’m a writer, but at heart, I’m a wannabe musician. Since You did not see fit to bless me with musical talent, I turn my thoughts into stories rather than songs.

Now you know my secret.

I read a lot of biographies and memoirs, partly because I write fiction nearly every day so I want to read something else, and partly because I’m still trying to find people who are like me in some way. I’m currently reading Edward Van Halen: A Definitive Biography by Kevin Dodds.

Eddie Van Halen had something to say about being true to your vision, and I’m going to let him say it uncensored.

“I’d rather fail with my own shit than succeed with someone else’s.”

Jimi Hendrix felt the same way. I try to keep this attitude in mind, but it’s difficult in a world that doesn’t want stories chock-a-block with troubled characters. As John River said,

“In this world, no one can be different or strange or damaged, or they lock you up.”

They also lock you out. It’s hard to make an impact as a writer anyway, and weird fiction is far from a popular niche. I would prefer to spend my time writing Lovecraftian fix-up novels and kooky fan fiction crossovers, which have some pretty dark roots if you bother to look beneath the surface. Most people don’t. However, I can’t generate social currency with these works, so I spend most of my time writing romance both steamy and sweet.

More than once, my stories have been branded technically proficient but lacking emotion. However, when I let myself bleed all over the page, I receive no response. Reading the truth about someone who was the target of bullying and the victim of sexual assault isn’t fun. However, when I write for fun, the result is deemed “too weird.” I try to give the people what they want, but then I die inside.

It’s not that I think the romance stories I write are bad. I like my comparatively well-behaved literary children. However, it saddens me when I neglect my melancholy, misunderstood, alienated brood with their tragically poetic souls in favor of promoting the more acceptable lot.

Weird fiction has saved me many times.

That’s why I’ll always love my New Weird Tales even though nobody else gets either me or them. 

The Xenomorphs understand.


789 words

~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~

Image by Jim Cooper from Pixabay
"Thanks for being my pal, Space Jockey."

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Insecure Writers Support Group 6 December 2023


Image by mcmurryjulie from Pixabay

December 6 question: Book reviews are for the readers. When you leave a book reviews do you review for the Reader or the Author? Is it about what you liked and enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author?

I'm not sure I understand the question correctly, but I'll take a crack at it.

When I review the book, I'm reviewing the story, including what I liked and/or disliked about it. I probably know little to nothing about the author, so it really isn't my place to critique them as a person. 

Sadly, my experiences with Online Book Club burned me out on doing book reviews and I rarely have time, anyway. I'm almost always amenable to doing promotional posts. You can learn more about that at the following link if it sounds like something you'd be interested in.

Here's a link to a four-star audiobook review I wrote in October. I cite several reasons for enjoying the story and explain my reason for giving it four rather than five stars.