Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hybrid Moments: A Literary Tribute to the Misfits (my own story's included!)

Well, I finally actually sold a short story. Pleased that it's a bizarro fiction type of imprint (Weirdpunk Books) and that it's a tribute to one of my all time favourites, the horror punk band Misfits. The editors stipulated that submissions had to be based on Danzig-era songs only and I knew right away I wanted to write a story based on the song 'Demonomania', which has been a favourite song for years and years (something about that first-syllable emphasis on the chorus 'Demonomania! Demonomania!' just really gets me going and shouting along). Also, because I used to want my band back in the 90s to cover this song, I always had the tiny germ of a backstory for it in my head. (We never got round to covering it alas.) When I revisited the lyrics in light of this project, the voice of the song just kind of took me over and the thing more or less wrote itself. (I'm happily reminded that my favourite author, R. A. Lafferty, said: 'The good stories, of course, write themselves.') I polished it over a few days (didn't find out about the project until the deadline was almost up) and sent it off. This will seem like a weird confession to some readers, but I was a little nervous about the story getting accepted. Misfits are (in)famous for incredibly transgressive lyrics, though 'Demonomania' is one of their least offensive. Regardless, I haven't yet written a story in kind of a full blown 'sailor mouth' voice complete with subject matter about prostitution. But it just seemed like the honest voice of the story and also the natural subject matter. I don't get salacious in it (I find it hard to stomach lurid male gaze material in fiction masquerading as edgy or gritty or whatever). In fact, I felt the story quite humanised the prostitute characters (somewhat harrowingly). What I really love about it is the main character who's telling the tale. I found him quite a sympathetic, mixed up character. And it's a story about a broken family getting by as best they can. Anyway, about a month ago I saw on Weirdpunk's Facebook page that they had made their final selections and sent out notifications. I thought, 'Okay, I'm kind of relieved in a way that I didn't get in.' But I hadn't realised I hadn't checked my email before seeing that Facebook status update. When I went to my inbox I saw an unread email from the editors. Even then I thought (as I have many times before) okay, another rejection. They wrote a very short email saying they liked it and would include it in the book. Hum and hot damn. So I get the joy of a story being accepted (for pay! a small amount but still) but with the interesting forthcoming experience of seeing what some family and friends will make of my foray into 'explicit' fiction. I'm not complaining. I believe artists have to get out there and make things they're not entirely sure of, make mistakes if necessary. But I do like the story I wrote. I think it works and I'm happy someone else thought so too and gave it a home. It's called 'Reality of the Wolf' (a line from the song). It was also really great working with professional editors who helped streamline my story with some light but incisive editorial changes, all of which I accepted as obvious improvements. The book comes out on Halloween I believe.

There's still a few days left to pre-order a copy of the book and get some bonuses through supporting it's Kickstarter campaign.