Sunday, November 18, 2018

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #277: 33 YEARS

My dad read a lot, but he was not a creative. Not like we think of. He was a cook. His mom was a teacher. His dad was a cook. On his side of the family, you were either cooks or teachers. So it didn't come from his side. No, it came from Mom. She was an amazing artist. She could play piano like nobody's business. I knew it came from her. After knowing Gramps for all my life, I know where she got it. Gramps didn't read or write or do anything creative, but he had a way of describing things that convinced me that if he were born in other circumstances, he could have been a creative.


I remember when I was a kid. I wrote my first story, and I was infatuated with myself for doing so. I showed it to my mom, and she was so proud. But she said, "You have to date it."


"What do you mean?" I asked.


"You should write the date on your story. That way, you know when you wrote it."


"That's stupid," I said.


"No, it's not. You'll thank me later."


"No,  won't." I was a stubborn asshole of a kid.


"So rub it in my face," she said. "When you're writing stories for a living, you'll know exactly when you wrote your first story."


"Nuh-uh!" I was only interested in writing the next story.


That was 33 years ago to the day. I know because despite my misgivings, I listened to Mom. I wrote the date on my first story.


My mom has been gone for many years. My dad has been gone for, what, a couple? I want to thank the both of them. You hear all of these horrible stories about parents who tried to lure their kids away from the arts because, unless you're extraordinarily lucky, that's not a good way to make money. My dad got it, and he blessed my course in life. I'm glad I was able to gain his pride before he passed. My mom got to see the beginning of my writing career, and she could not have been more supportive.


I remember when I discovered Mom's journal from when I'd been born. It was interesting to read. I'm so glad I had something that bore her soul. Not a fake bullshit thing that she wanted to censor. It was an honest accounting.


I like to think I'm an honest accounter. That's not a word, obviously, but you see where I'm coming from. That's what I do on these GF essays. Honest accounting. Mom is where that comes from. She would have been 61 by now. She had me at a young age. Dad was 60. I suspect I was an accident. But what the hell. I'm here. I write. I get published.


I am my mom and dad's legacy.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #276: TRUTH BE TOLD

It's a hard truth to admit to. I've been writing stories for a long time. In fact, as of this Sunday, I will have been writing stories for thirty-three years. Every day writing. Every day editing. But when my grandfather fell ill and died, I dried up. There were a few other factors, one of which I have been strictly forbidden from talking about, but that was the main one. Days went by without writing. Sometimes weeks. I hid in a bottle for a while. I had a nervous breakdown. Shit got horrible for my creative life.


I tried to get myself together, but I did something stupid. I tackled a very, very personal thing for me and tried to turn it into a novel. Everyone advised me against doing so. I should have listened. Sure, I got my 2,000 words a day on it, but I fucking loathed every minute of it. I finished the first draft, and I was disgusted with it. Maybe someday I will try birthing it again, but not anytime soon.


I continued writing after that, but it was not a regular thing. I didn't like any of my output. Speaking as someone who wrote every day for decades, it horrified me.


Do you know what turned me around? If you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you know that I've been working on this horrendously offensive thing. It might even be the most offensive thing ever written in America. I offended myself writing it.


Those of you who know me really well know that I thrive on being offended. Not like other people, who become offended and feel that their voice matters enough that they spout it on social media. Being offended, for me, is a rarity. I've led a fucked up life. It takes a lot to offend me, so when someone pulls it off, I'm awed and impressed. The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum deeply offended me. It's one of my favorite books ever. The same for A Serbian Film. I'm talking art, not real life. It's easy to offend me in real life. The idea that we, as Americans, are the bad guys in the world right now offends me to a ridiculous level.


But we're talking art right now. I offended myself with this thing, which surprised me and made me happy. I loved working on this thing every day. The first draft is done, and it got me back into writing. Now I've written several stories that I'm in love with. I'm working on a novel that pleases me greatly and a short story that thrills me. Without this super-offensive thing, I would not be where I am today.


I'm not publishing that one under my own name, by the way. That's how offended I am. Some day you all might read it and be just as offended. Please know one thing, though: that piece of fiction saved my ability to write. It brought me back from the brink. The world will hate it (and my pen name will get a shit-ton of death threats), but this horrendous thing saved me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #275: I DON'T THINK THIS ONE'S GONNA MAKE IT

I remember when a boss at a previous job got two of his fingers cut off with a chainsaw. Perhaps I should clarify. I wasn't there. I just came in to work one morning to see two of his fingers thickly bandaged. He told me that he'd taken his son out into the wilderness to cut down a Christmas tree. He told his son to hold the tree while he capped it, but his kid wasn't paying attention. The chainsaw slipped, and my boss got two of his fingers chopped off. This guy was a real tough guy, too. He collected his fingers, put 'em on ice and drove himself to the ER, where they reattached the fingers despite one of them being "degloved." Don't Google that. It's what you think it is.


Fast forward a bit to when he'd just come back from a doctor appointment. I asked him how things were going, and he held up the index finger. He said the doctor said it was looking good. Then he calmly tapped the tip of the middle finger, the one that had been degloved. I can't reiterate enough how calmly he said this: "I don't think this one's gonna make it."


I couldn't fathom how he could have been so nonchalant about it. I'd be going out of my fucking mind. He just accepted it as a fact of life.


It made it, by the way. Both fingers healed and healed fast. The last time I saw them, they didn't bear so much as a scar, which I can't believe to this day.


Anyway, the point of this does relate to me. I remember when three different doctors told me that my big right toe had to go. I felt absolute terror at the idea. I consulted family and friends, and while they brought me comfort, they did not help me make up my mind. I had to do that on my own. It came down to the moment when the podiatrist said that either I let him take my toe, or he'd have to cut halfway up my foot in a week. I let him take the toe.


Then the toe next to it started looking bad. I didn't fuck around with this one. I went to immediate care, and to my glee they said that it was fine, it just looked ugly. Then I saw the podiatrist, and he said that I wasn't out of the woods yet. I had a ways to go toward healing. Worst case scenario: he'd have to cut off half of that toe, probably less.


When he told me that, I felt utterly calm. I didn't realize it until late that night as I tried to go to sleep, but I was channeling my old boss. My mantra became, "I don't think this one's gonna make it."


Thankfully the podiatrist said that it's looking better, but I now understand how my boss felt way back then. Maybe it was because of the trauma of the first amputation, I wasn't quite so scared of the possibility of a second. I don't know if that's good or bad. If you know the answer, run it by me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #274: LETTERS FROM NOWHERE

As I arrived at the train station, I noticed a piece of paper taped to the wall of the south side platform. I wondered, would it be political or religious? I leaned toward the latter, as the midterms are over, and politicians no longer feel the need to send their servants out to local train stations.


It was addressed to "you." As in me. As in anyone who would care to stop by and read it. The writer went on to talk about how we are strangers and have no idea who each other are. And it went on to say that "I love you" and "you are important." Okay, even a jaded asshole like me can admit that that's kind of touching. It's nice that someone went out of their way to bring a ray of sunshine into someone's day.


But as always, the dark side of me kicked in. What if I was a serial killer? Or a pedophile? Or even worse, a politician trying to get elected?


Maybe it doesn't matter, though. If one were to ask, say, Jesus (the one in the Bible, not the legions of backwards Christians who claim to follow in his footsteps) about this, he would probably say that love is the answer, one way or the other. I don't buy it, but then again I'm not the son of God. Unless Mom forgot to mention something to me, that is.


It reminded me of the first time I'd ever gone to Bachelors Grove. I found a whole bunch of notes, identical, on each gravestone. It was from a lonely goth girl looking for people who might want to hang out with her, maybe become friends. I wonder whatever happened to her. I hope she found what she was looking for.

Monday, November 12, 2018

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #273: BROKEN PROMISES

When I was a kid, around junior high and high school, my grandmother feared that I would get diabetes like her husband. I drank a lot of Coke back then, and since I couldn't afford my own shit, she decided that she would change up what she bought at the store.


She started buying Caffeine Free Diet Coke, and I had no choice but to drink it. It was vile. It was one of the worst things (at the time) that I had ever ingested. I fucking hated it. I loathed it. But I was stuck with it.


(Interesting aside: I ate McDonald's every night from my last year of junior high to my last year of high school. I wonder why she didn't care about that shit. When I graduated high school, I weighed 245 pounds and looked like Chris Farley in my graduation video.)


When I got my first job, I could finally afford something I really wanted to drink: pure, unadulterated Coca-Cola. I promised myself I would never drink Caffeine Free Diet Coke ever again. It was fucking glorious, but I eventually did get diabetes, and my blood pressure is through the roof. It was to the point where once a dentist refused to operate on me because my blood pressure was too high. I still, to this day, shock ER nurses with my 180/92 blood pressure. There's an ad at the train station which shows an old guy with a horrible scar over his heart. "This is what high blood pressure looks like." The listed blood pressure is a mere 145/80.


So yeah. I recently kicked the caffeine habit (again). And then the whole thing with my toe happened. Suddenly, I find myself needing to drink some kind of carbonated beverage. I'd restrict myself to water, but for some reason it gives me heartburn if I drink it all day. I need something else to go with dinner. Here's the problem: almost all carbonated drinks that don't have sugar are loaded with caffeine.


Except for one. Oh yeah. Guess what I drank with dinner tonight. You bet. And it's still as disgusting as I remembered it.


Yeah, I've been thinking about my health recently. I was doing such a good job before the toe amputation. If I were one to believe in a higher power, and I don't, but if I did, I would have no choice but to believe that this higher power wanted to send a message to me, and that message was to not try and be healthy. Don't be healthy, or I'll take more toes. Don't worry, like I said I'm not one to believe in that kind of thing. Besides, it sounds kind of crazy. So I'm supposed to spend the rest of my short life giving in to temptation and losing pieces of my body as I got older? Eh . . . no thanks.

I'm working on quitting fast food again. I did so well for so long, but I relapsed. My plan is to also get to the point where the only sugar I get in the course of the day is my beloved Tang in the morning. Diabetes can take everything, but it will take Tang away from my cold dead fingers. And yeah, I'm trying to drink less booze. I'm up to a handle every three days. I think it's time to cut back. I want it to be a weekend thing only.


This also means I'm going to have difficulty sleeping. I guess it also means that I will be posting more GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS. Hence, this thing that you're reading right now.


So get used to hearing from me at the end of every night. Unless I fuck up again. Let's hope I can keep to the straight and narrow-ish.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

BOOK SALE!

My short-term disability check may have finally cleared, but I'm still in deep water with my creditors. While I'm doing this week of shameless self-promotion, I figured I'd dig into my own stock and see what I've got. Sure, you can buy these through Amazon, but if you buy them from me, you can get them signed. If I can physically put these books in your hand, there is no shipping charge. If I have to mail it, though, there will be a $2 shipping charge. So here's what I've got. If you see something you want, let me know. First come, first served.


--BLOOD (8 copies) $10 each


--STRIP (1 copy) $12


--STRANGE SEX 3 (1 copy) $7


--DONG OF FRANKENSTEIN (1 copy) $5


--TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE (1 copy) $10


--ZOMBIE! ZOMBIE! BRAIN BANG! (2 copies) $10 each (contains "Pack Rat")


--POOR BASTARDS AND RICH FUCKS (1 copy) $10

Monday, October 15, 2018

WOULD YOU LIKE TO READ BLOOD FOR FREE?




So you want to read my latest book, BLOOD, for free, but you're too cheap to buy it. Well, I have a solution for you. I have a PDF just dying to be read, and I'm willing to send it to you for no monetary exchange whatsoever. All I ask in return is an honest Amazon/Goodreads review. Surprisingly, I have zero reviews on this so far, and I want to change that as soon as possible. Let me know on Twitter or Facebook if you're interested. If we aren't connected on any social media, send an email to editor@talesofquestionabletaste.com.