The Things that You Lose in the Revisions

I’m working on this story right now that I was regaling folks with details of at dinner last night, because I am so tickled by a demon that quotes Walt Whitman. You want to know what is fucking spooky? A murderous supernatural being reciting “Song of Myself” under his breath. You don’t think so, but go back and read it, imagining a homicidal maniac speaking it.


Now you want to put Whitman on the shelf next to Poe and King. Me, too!

Anyway, the think that spurred me to write the story was that I had this idea of an exchange between a very socially conservative guy and the more moderate investigator of demons and the conservative dude is upset because he caught the demon doing something sexual to some dude who appeared to be into it and the conservative dude is upset because it’s gay. And the investigator is like “so if a horse licked your asshole and it turned you on, you’d have less of a problem with that if it turned out to be a mare?”

That was the nugget around which the whole story formed. But I guess my story has a hollow center, because, upon rereading it, I realized, that’s exactly the biggest chunk that just sucks and has to be cast aside. It doesn’t fit thematically with where the story ended up. It makes a minor character’s homophobia too important for the size of the story or the prominence of the character.

I think I end up doing that a lot in my writing. The thing I think is going to be the kernel of the story–like with “Frank” I thought that was going to be a Valkyrie sent by Frank’s wife to rescue him, until I realized, no, it’s a story about Frank’s wife hoping and trying to rescue him–ends up in the end being just an empty husk that I have no need for.

Two Things: One Good, One Bad

Good: Lamar Alexander, who I still have not forgiven for standing in front of the whole country and saying that no university in Tennessee taught country music like it had the same validity as any other art form, smacks Drew Johnson so hard I about expect a duel to break out.

Bad: Nearly half of ICU newborns in Knoxville are born addicted to drugs. Holy shit.