An interview with the writer


What made you write this story?
 Boredom. Really! For a while, I had come to see my “main” blog, MoltenMetalMama, as a kind of verbal test lab, where I could safely detonate wild ideas and see what fallout occurred – if any. So, over the course of its lifespan – 18 months by now – I would every so often write a short story. I did a Poe pastiche, I wrote a parody of Plato’s “Symposium”. Just because I could, just because I had these ideas I would like to explore and I didn’t want them to grow mold on my hard drive, so – why not? If people liked them, fine, and if they didn’t, I wasn’t going out of my way to hold an AK-47 to their heads and say – “read it or die”, although sometimes, that idea did have its own appeal.
The night I wrote “Midnight” happened precisely as I said. I found that image – actually, a few days beforehand, but that Sunday night, I went back to where I’d found it and looked again. It galvanized my sick, perverted imagination. That was it – all I needed. Occasionally, I’ll go back and re-read “Midnight”, to see what I’d like to change, but I can’t look at that image for too long. I get distracted!

Why Faust? Why not some other archetypal myth?
 Why not? People – unless they’re opera buffs or Goethe nuts, tend to forget old stories, old myths, archetypal conflicts that said something, that meant something for a reason. The story of Faust is an archetype for a reason because it poses a question – how far would you go, how far could you go to make your dreams come true? What price would you be willing to pay?
         The freaky thing is that no matter what your dreams, they can happen if you believe. Often, they do. And they always have a price tag. Always. Is that price tag worth it? You’re the only judge of that – or at least, you should be.
         I chose Faust because it fit the context of the image that provoked the first story, that “Paradise Lost” vibe. If William Blake had been a photographer, he might have taken that photo. He would certainly have understood it.
Why doesn’t your protagonist have a name?
 To give myself a writing challenge, to keep me on my toes, and to prove, maybe, that her name is nowhere so important as her story. She could be anyone. She could be me. She could be you.

Does this story in any way reflect you?
 Yes. It’s had a lot of spillover effect, because that’s how the creative process works, at least for me. It reflects a lot of issues, a lot of thoughts and musings and attitudes I either have had or still have that I’m either trying to keep in spite of all experience has taught me, or else trying to purge because I have to evolve. Damn it!

How much is your protagonist like you?
Very much and not at all. She looks like me, has many of the same issues I do, but in other ways, we’re miles apart. I don’t live anything like my character’s life, but I could have, if I had made other choices, explored other options.
         She has a lot of similarities with my late-twenties, single self – although even then, I was not quite so radical.
         A few things we definitely have in common – the open mouth, insert foot syndrome. We both have a spectacular talent for saying the perfect thing at the worst moment. We both have a tendency to react without thinking, to jump to conclusions, not all of them warranted. And we both have a short fuse. 

There´s an underlying tone of eroticism. Why?
Because that’s how I think, that’s how I write, that’s no small part of who I am in real life. I prefer the term “sensual”, actually, because it’s less limiting, less directed toward the bump-and-grind. To me, what is erotic is what is NOT said, not stated outright, but implied. Unless there’s some breathing space between what I read and what I imagine  it might as well be – porn. Nothing wrong with that. Erotic is all about anticipation, about what could be, what might be, what would be if only…It’s the curve of a shoulder, a look in the eye, that physically felt twinge of possibility in sensitive locations. I could put it another way. Desire is the idea of the possible. Lust is wanting to bridge that gap between idea and reality, the probability. Passion – in the sense of erotic passion – is the reality. (If you’re lucky.)
I could no more suppress that tone than stop breathing, and with the precise same effects, probably. I’ve written this during a long and ongoing period of absolute celibacy, and the urge has to go – somewhere. It goes into my writing. If I keep this up, I could turn into a 21st-century Anais Nin. On the other hand…just as my character asks herself at one point, would a spot on the New York Times bestseller list ever make up for never getting laid again? I can’t answer that with any degree of finality. I’m not sure the answer is “yes”.
         If you’re starving on a desert island, you don’t fantasize about fast food cheeseburgers. You fantasize about the entire Alain Ducasse 14-course haute cuisine behemoth. You fantasize about fire-grilled free-range, grass-fed Wagyu beef steaks the size of toilet seats, washed down with a bottle of Chambertin. Or champagne. Cake. And a very large bed, with imaginative company.
         I’m still on that desert island. And even the coconuts are beginning to look a lot like – steak.        

So, what’s with those rock star avatars anyway?
It’s certainly not because I’m out to be sued for defamation of character, given that three of them live in California, where those laws are very strict, and one of them is now deceased, and therefore nearly sainted.
         My point is – they’re avatars. Just as in dreams, where you dream about someone famous, it’s not the person, per se, but what that person represents that matters. I chose my avatars not randomly, but for what they represented – as performers, in their music, in the personas they embody to whatever degree. They are, all six, perfomers I adore, whose music I own, whose concerts I’d happily attend. That’s it.
         The Devil is a special case. He was not chosen by random. Prompted by a discussion at Sex Beat Records in Copenhagen almost a year ago, where I blathered at length about this performer in spite of knowing not too much (Something I'm scary good at), I invested a fair chunk of my vacation money into a complete discography. Support your starving rock legends, or there won't be many left, not even in L.A. 
        I then spent the better part of six months scraping bits and pieces of my pathetic brain off my speakers. That's the good part. 
        The bad part is - I then had the hare-brained idea to write about it. 
        Few performers do creepy, spooky or even morally ambiguous "evil" quite so well. The rest were a lot of sleepless nights on YouTube and a lot of interviews dating from the mid-80's until today. And a sick imagination. 
        I've got a thing for the guy. I'm not the only one. So?
         Having said that – think about it. Anyone who puts him or herself up on a stage and dares to say/yell/scream/sing “Look at ME!” is basically asking for what they get. They become, as one character says, aspiration coat-hangers, projection screens, voices for whatever it is most of us are unable to express ourselves.
         We live in a poison age. An age where individual expression is everything, but not everyone has the guts to go that last mile or two. And we live in an age where our frustrations, our pent-up aggressions and rage and emotions not societally approved or encouraged have fewer and fewer legal, acceptable outlets. The Romans had gladiatorial games. Today, we have sports, but some among us hate spectator sports. But we also have – music. There are those who experience catharsis through Wagner operas, and those who achieve it through metal, or rock, or whatever genre you like. How you get there doesn’t matter. What matters is that you do.
For a few hours, in a few songs and solos and sensory overload and even mass psychosis to varying degrees, you have the ability to transcend your limitations, to transcend your self and become – one thought, one emotion. One with the headbangers next to you, one with the guys on the stage, who take that adulation and turn it into a self-perpetuating cycle of synergy that stops time and space and becomes nothing more and nothing less than itself, and that’s – enough. In those moments, you are no longer Ms./Mr. Loser/Dreamer/Hopeless Fuck-Up, you are no longer an individual, you are all – feeling. Which is partly why those performers, if the truth be told, do it to begin with. They feel it, too.
In my world, in my book, those are the moments, that is the epiphany I live for, and so does my protagonist.
      Whatever turns you on, flips that switch, gets your motor revving. Whomever that may be. The avatars I chose are the ones who flip my switch. Musically and in other, more nefarious ways.

So – fiction? Or wishful thinking?
Definitely fiction. And a little wishful thinking. I’ve never been to New York as an adult, and I’d go at the drop of a hat. I don’t have an agent – or an editor like the one in my story. I don’t have the freedom of action my character has, and I envy her that.
         Mostly, though – it’s fiction. If the Devil ever did show up, I don’t know what I’d do. Take the offer, probably. I’m human. Alas. And coconuts are getting very old.
Why do you think it will appeal to other readers?
Well, there are still people out there who like to be entertained, right? If there are elements in the story they can relate to, if the characters I’ve created are relatable, credible, complex enough to catch a reader’s interest, then I’ve done something right.
What might turn other readers off?
The underlying context will hopefully turn off the absolutists of this world. Absolutism in any form is what has always gotten humanity in trouble. I don’t believe in absolutes. I don’t believe in black or white. Black and white is why we’re living in this misery, why the world is becoming more and more polarized into an “Us vs. Them” mentality. Absolutism could, literally, mean the end of the world as we know it.
Do you think you could write other stories like this one?
Like this one? Err – no. A story that takes some other myth and turns it slightly sideways and upside down and skews it, skewers it – definitely. I’d love to see what I could do with, say, Medea. That could be verbal plastique, if someone did it right. Maybe I could. Why not? I dream big. Just to hedge my bets.



    I refer to that flick in 'Night of the Bandsaw'. It's a short story that's my absolute most guesome, and funnier than hell. I'm gonna hunt that down and send it to ya separate.

    That's a damn good reason to write, and I'm glad ya did. And I may have said it before, but if you hadn't written that Thanatos story, I never woulda found ya. Still on edge a'waitin' fer yer next chapter.

  2. And that's on the agenda for either tonight or tomorrow. "The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle" is awaiting my attention. Or else it migh even be - "The Brain That Wouldn't Die". Haven't seen that one in years.

  3. oh gosh yeah I LOVE that movie!! I have it on DVD!

  4. So do I! I just liked what that image conveyed! I think it was known as "Jan in the Pan". Well, this was my brain while writing...;)