I think the heavy use of make up and photo editing sets an unrealistic standard of beauty that negatively impacts women’s conceptions of self esteem and worth. These images are everywhere (we are flooded with them), and they aren’t real. What’s wrong with the human body for how it is? Women are beautiful and natural beauty should be celebrated. I want to love someone for their true face (which always has beauty!) instead of a face put on for the world. I think there should be more modeling where no make up or touching up is used…let’s all appreciate how wonderful a real, natural person is. Check out the link.
A short thought, one that may not make sense to everyone, but for those it does I think it will resonate deeply. My life experience of romance has been like this:
It’s like going to a free throw basketball competition and making the most free throws and then being told you came in last. When you ask why you’re told “just because” and finally, when you keep asking questions you learn you were never allowed in the competition in the first place.
Keep it real, peeps
I write the types of novels that make people cringe. They are the types of novels that smack you in the face to wake you up or get a point across. There’s graphic violence, sex, and detailed description of perversion. I write the type of stuff that couldn’t make it into the movies. Sometimes that makes it difficult presenting my work to others. I’m a pretty positive, happy go lucky guy in my every day life, yet my novels are dark, saturated with what some believe is filth. I’ve had people wonder how a guy like me could even write that stuff.
Well, here’s how…
I believe that the best stories make us uncomfortable in some way (this doesn’t have to be grossing out or shock value) and that these stories show us aspects to society or reality we haven’t previously considered. The best stories live on in our minds and hearts and we grow along with the characters. We use the content to develop our own life lessons that will stick with us. Now, stories can do this in many different ways. The reason I have extreme events and characters in my stories is not for its own sake…it’s to convey points. It’s to wake people up to how others see the world and do. To what behaviors and perspectives really exist in our society. To what goes on around you every day without your knowledge. You might not like it, it might make you uncomfortable…
But you’ll learn something.
I find that this form is also good for satire. When you shock people with your characters and actions, they pay attention. They can more easily see the critiques on social contrivance or other’s behaviors. The protagonist with a warped viewpoint can challenge the reader and get across valuable messages.
So when I write a character who has lived through violent sexual abuse, and I describe aspects of it, I don’t do that for it’s own sake. When I write a scene with a grisly murder and provide details, it is not because I love gore. It is to open eyes, to catch attention, and make you think about some of the larger messages.
My mother read Murderers Anonymous (my novel currently on submission to the Big 5 publishers) which is filled with sex, violence, and foul language (I believe there’s 185 occurrences of the word fuck in some form, of course I hit control F to find out). I warned her about the content, I hoped she wouldn’t think her son was a perverted maniac. She told me, “I’ve been around the block. I’ve read and seen things.” Still, I was wary. How could a mother read a book her son wrote containing multiple graphic, detailed sex scenes?
She loved the book, and she loved the devices I used to get my point across. She saw the artistic value in them and didn’t think I was a weirdo. Maybe my worries were unfounded, but sometimes I still have people a little weirded out when I describe to them the type of books I write. But you know…
When most of them give the books a shot, they love them.
Keep reading, keep writing
I love hearing what people think of my work, even if they pass on it. Rejections build character, and I still keep the faith. My agent and I are chugging along strong. These are what rejections from Big 5 editors look like.
Dear Adrienne,Thank you for your patience and for sending me MURDERERS ANONYMOUS. This has a fun premise. A high bar has been set for psychotic prose, but Allen certainly makes the grade on many occasions. And I think he has a good sense of what his readers will appreciate most—a supple sense of depravity and comedy. But despite enjoying much of what I read, I don’t think I’d have luck enough with this at (company name redacted). There might have been one or two narrative devices too many—definitions, direct address—, in addition to the challenge of bringing around reader’s to a murderer, that kept me from feeling bullish. I am sorry not to feel differently but very much appreciate the chance I had to consider a submission of yours. I hope you’ll keep me in mind.Dear Adrienne,Thank you so much for sending me Murderer’s Anonymous. I was very excited to read it, as this type of book is completely up my alley! I loved the gore and the grit that the author puts on the page, and I was absolutely floored by the twist at the end—I did not expect (character name redacted) to be the killer! Unfortunately, I didn’t connect with the work overall as much as I hoped I would, particularly with the narrator’s voice. I enjoyed the definitions, the tutorials on how to hack up a body, the breaking of the fourth wall, but overall, I do not believe that this particular narrator is for me, and so regretfully, I must pass. Please keep me in mind for future projects, I sincerely hope we can work together on something twisted in the future
“You are not stuck in traffic, you ARE traffic. We blame society, but we ARE society.” – Buddhist Boot Camp
Hello! This is the first chapter of my novel, Murderers Anonymous, which was picked up by my agent Adrienne Rosado of Nancy Yost Literary in November. It’s currently on submission to editors at imprints of the Big 5 Publishing houses. I hope you enjoy the sample!
You don’t want to read about me.
Seriously, I’m not worth your time.
You’re still reading? Are you one of those types who has to leave a handprint on the wall because you don’t trust the wet paint sign? Or is it just a rebellious streak? Have you been diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder?
Approximately 26% of Americans over the age of eighteen suffer from at least one diagnosable cognitive disorder. Spend some time researching your personality quirks on the internet and you’ll come up with a myriad of disastrous issues. Are you obsessive compulsive? Bulimic? Maybe you have ADHD? Social anxiety issues? Ergophobia? List some things about yourself – don’t worry you won’t be alone! We can give you a nice little label, some pills, and most importantly an excuse for all of your shortcomings.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not discounting disorders entirely. We are all legitimately fucked up. Maybe I’m just saying the titles, categories, and treatments are misnomers. Maybe I’m saying narrowing the scope of what’s wrong down to one “condition” only serves to give us the illusion of control.
Or maybe I’m not.
Are you seriously still reading?
I knew a guy once; let’s call him Billy, who went off to Iraq fresh out of high school. Billy was pretty fucked up before he went to Iraq, a borderline alcoholic with penchant for fighting anyone who looked at him the wrong way. Billy had issues, but these combined with his miserably low high school GPA made him a perfect candidate to become one of Uncle Sam’s boys.
Three weeks into deployment an RPG struck Billy’s Humvee. He probably would have become meat pudding if it hadn’t been for his best friend in the unit, a poor son of a bitch named Joe Murphy, who happened to be standing between Billy and the Humvee when the grenade struck.
“So she lifts up the burka and she’s packing a dong!” Kind of sad, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you wish your last words were more flattering, and not the punch line to a joke about a goat-herder’s unfortunate run in with a transsexual Sunni?
I don’t know; who am I to judge?
What was left of Joe coated Billy. I’m talking searing hot flesh melting into his skin, gore forcing its way into his mouth, and eviscerated organs clinging to his body like parts of some grotesque ensemble.
I remember the party his family threw for him when he returned. I attended not because I was particularly fond of Billy; I just wanted to feel a sense of belonging. You know, the type of feeling that you get when tell someone you donated to charity, or ran a 5k to support cancer research.
You just do it so everyone thinks you’re a good person.
Everyone includes you.
Halfway through the evening, someone popped a balloon and Billy shit himself, put his hands over his ears, screamed at the top of his lungs, and ran until he tripped and fell face first into his welcome back cake, destroying it as he fell to the floor, face coated in vanilla frosting and pants soaked through with feces.
Approximately 7.7 million Americans over the age of eighteen suffer from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, typically resulting from an injury or severe psychological shock. Symptoms include loss of sleep, constant vivid recall of the traumatic experience, inappropriate emotional outbursts, psychological regression, and a dulled response to the outside world.
The last I heard, Billy was addicted to pain killers, had a constant twitch, was unemployed and blowing dudes for pills in an alley in Tacoma, Washington. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not.
Does it matter? He’s fucked up, you’re fucked up, I’m fucked up.
And you’re still reading.
I knew a kid once, an imaginative, bright little boy who had the misfortune of being born into a low income family. Maybe his creativity came from his mother, a failed artist turned pot dealer who was more concerned with completing high school level pieces of art than she ever was with taking care of a son. Or maybe it was from his father, who so inventively named the belt he beat his son with “Mr. Slack” for reasons unknown.
“You’ve been a bad, bad boy!” Mr. Slack would say in a voice eerily similar to that of Mickey Mouse. “Mr. Slack is comin’ for ya!”
But honestly, the boy probably got his creative and unique perspective from watching his parents fuck. His first memories of this were from when he was four or five, but he thought that the experiences went further back than that. His parents had the odd habit of stripping down and boning right in front of him, literally dropping whatever they were doing to go at it.
“Oh let him watch! He’ll learn early!” his obese father cackled as he thrust his stubby cock into the eagerly awaiting mouth of his wife. The boy was startled by how his mother stared directly into his eyes the entire time, as if she was taunting him.
Or enticing him.
Maybe his parents caused his social anxiety and sexual dysfunction issues, but these were exacerbated by wasting four years of his life dating a stuck-up, cold-blooded cunt who left him during his most trying time.
I fucking hate you, Kelly.
I love you, Kelly.
You don’t want to read about that boy. It will only make you a worse person. The baggage he’s carrying, well it’s just too much. Why don’t you go buy one of those commercial novels? You know, one of those feel good stories with the predictable arc where, despite the central conflict and the tension that arises with the love interest, the main character learns a valuable lesson, all misunderstandings are cleared up, the conflict is resolved, and everyone lives happily ever after.
This is your final warning.
Maybe you’re just as fucked up as I am.
Makes less sense out of context, but here’s a blurb from an old project, Gentleman’s Game. My agent thinks it might be a good follow up after Murderers Anonymous. Still going through editing, so apologies for how raw the writing is.
Aiden stood before her, hand resting on the door frame, looking he’d come out of a war zone. His mouth was a busted mess, blood dripping down his chin and staining his shirt. Bruises and scratches littered his face, while his eyes were tired, drained and listless.
“I’m sorry,” he said. When he opened his mouth Sarah saw the state of his teeth, chipped and broken. His gums were a sickly dark purple.
“We have to get you to-” Sarah began, stepping forward, when Aiden intercepted her.
“Shh,” he said, stepping forward, putting his arms around her, and kissing her for the first time. He tilted his head and moved in quickly, his busted lips meeting her own. His body trembled from the pain of the motion and contact but he kissed Sarah with a passion, and despite the feel and taste of blood, for a split second, Sarah kissed him back.
Aiden broke the kiss, pulling away from her. Sarah stood, stunned, Aiden’s blood now smeared on her face. He wiped a drop of it away with his thumb before tapping it to her cheek, leaving a print. His eyes were more full of sorrow than when she’d met him on her swing set all those years ago.
“You were always too beautiful to be burdened by my love,” Aiden said before turning and walking back to his car.
Sarah tried to speak but no words came out. She tried to follow but her legs were frozen in place. Sarah had felt a chill run through her when he kissed her, not a chill of stimulation or excitement, but a chill to the bone, no, the soul. Part of her knew she wasn’t ready to handle the truth of whatever Aiden had gone through.
So she let him go. Sarah let Aiden walk back to his car and drive off without protest, standing at her doorstep, dumbfounded, for another ten minutes until the police arrived.