Friday, March 9, 2012

The WIP: A disturbing foot fetish (and a philosophical question)

Does your mood influence the mood of your writing?
If you’re happy can you write yourself sad, or vice versa?
Here is a bit of a scene I wrote last week when I was so sleep-deprived it felt a lot like drunk. But not as fun. I think I overdosed on weariness. Usually Danny, my angry bunny narrator, is full of bluster and bad manners, but not last week. Last week he caught my tired.  
So much for catharsis.
Also, I don’t know where the foot thing came from. A part of my psyche best left buried, I think.

Some background: Eleven is an underground bunker, and it's right on the front line of a war. 


I close my eyes and think of escape. 

I think of home.

I can smell it: red dirt, mangroves, solwota.

The fingers of my left hand find my knee, find a tear in my fatigues, find a loose thread and worry it. My right hand finds my left hand, my left wrist, my watchband, the cracked face of my watch. I scrape my thumbnail across the glass: flick flick flick.

The squeak of boots on the floor.

Boss Doc slides down the wall beside me, his shoulder jostling against mine. He draws his legs up and rests his elbows on his knees. He smells of sweat and blood and antiseptic.

“You okay, Danny?”


I try not to lean into him. I try not to lean away.

Flick flick flick.

Boss Doc sighs. “My back’s killing me.”

Eleven shudders and sighs under the barrage. The shockwaves resonate up my spine and lodge in the base of my skull. I close my eyes and frown. My anger will keep my body together, even though on days like this I’m sure I’ll die at Eleven and they’ll bury me beside the Wall.

The worst thing I ever had to do was put a foot in the incinerator. It got left behind in the surgery, after the guy died. He was an engineer, and he got caught in a turbine. Anyway, don’t care, wasn’t my foot, but I found it too late to get it buried with the guy. He was already zipped into his heavy-duty black plastic bag, already lying in a hole in the shade of the Wall. Guys wearing masks were already shovelling poison earth over him when I found the foot.

How much of a guy is a guy?

Jesus, Boss Doc said when I showed him the foot. Just put it in the damn furnace.

It smelled like a barbecue, and that was the worst part. My stomach growled even though I knew what it was.

How much of a guy is a guy? How much can you take away before the human being is gone?

Sometimes, when Eleven is shaking down to its bones, I tell myself that I’m just bones and blood and flesh and nothing else. If I’m nothing, maybe the universe will overlook me. Sometimes.

Other times I remember my family, and I know I’ll fucking die here.


What are you working on this week?


  1. A very dark and interesting piece of fiction. I like your writing.

  2. If you can write like that when bone-tired, please stop by and give me pointers the next time you're exhausted.

    But yeah, you used that feeling to full effect, and I've found I work the same way - if I'm in a good mood, I can't write sad (and wouldn't even want to), and if I'm in an angry mood, I gotta skip that bookstore scene and go right to the fight.

    1. Bone-tired is fine, it's the putting it all together later on that's the problem!

      I can write sad if I'm in a happy mood, but the happy mood doesn't last long. And I LOVE writing violence when I'm angry. Very satisfying!

  3. Yeah, mood definitely influences my writing. My main character is sort of like me, only amped up, so she sometimes inherits my bad moods, my snarky moments, and on rare occasion my good humor. I've also had to go back and rewrite scenes later when I was in a more even-keeled mood, because my character was doing things that were slightly out of her range of behavior (after writing depressed or tired or whatever). It's tricky.

    Love your excerpt. Can't wait to meet Danny in a full novel.

    1. Thanks, LG!

      If I'm in a foul mood and try to write an upbeat scene, it usually ends in bloodshed. Cheap therapy!

  4. That was awesome. I'm with L.G., my character takes on more of my traits when I'm in a very bad mood or a very good one so then later I have to edit myself out.ha

    Otherwise she would be too bitchy to be likable most days and then have manic good moods on others...not that I'm like that or anything...

    1. Thanks, Marsha!

      I know exactly what you mean about having to tone down the bitchiness. Not in my characters though. That's a real life problem for me. :)

  5. For me it's less that my mood affects my writing, and more the other way round.

    That was a heck of a piece, by the way!

    1. Thanks, Sarah!

      And yeah, it can work both ways.

  6. I really liked reading this! And what a creepy picture!

  7. Thanks, AA! The pic's great, isn't it? I don't even want to tell you how scary it is to do an image search for "blood surgery gloves medical".

    Holy crap. The stuff of nightmares!



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