So I probably shouldn’t tell this story, but I’m going to anyhow. (Why yes, yes it does make me look as weird and sick as I actually am, now you mention it.)
The Editrix (Domineditrix? Ravenabler?) RT’d a link on twitter today to this How to Date a Writer article. I would like to take a moment to linger on point #7:
Don’t interrupt them at their work. If you find them in the kitchen dressed in underwear leafing through the a book of photographs while butting out a cigarette in a bowl of ice cream, you must treat this scene with the utmost respect. As if you had just walked in on a surgeon in the middle of open heart surgery.
Because — well of course that’s true, you shouldn’t interrupt. But the more important point, I think, is that you will in fact walk in on some weird shit, living with a writer, and if you’re easily freaked out, you’re in trouble.
In truth, B is pretty easily freaked out. (Sorry, dear, but you know it’s true.) He’s extremely animated and his reactions are often very dramatic. However, he is not freaked out by me, which is pretty amazing when you consider.
So here’s the story I probably shouldn’t tell:
My first ever story commission came from Mark Deniz, long before I was more involved at Morrigan. Mark needed a pinch hitter for the international version of Scenes from the Second Storey, and Amanda Pillar — who had worked with me on both Voices and Grants Pass — said she thought I might do. Massive leap of faith, but Mark gave me a try. He told me which song I’d be writing for (“She Said”) and let me go.
There’s a reference to painting (the sky!) in the song, and when I think of painters, I naturally think of Aldo. See poster boy up there. He’s a rather wounded little art student type, and my official muse. So I decided to write an alternate reality version of him and his best friend (who is, you guessed it, Liam — coming this year to a bookshelf near you!), posing one simple question: what would’ve happened to Aldo if Liam had died young?
Yes, it’s a seriously dark story. And it involves painting. With blood.
So here I am, writing this story, and I’m thinking, Fuck, man, how well does that actually work? Can you really paint with blood? How would it keep, how dark could you get it, what kind of pigment control is going on there? What does it look like after a month? A year?
… you see where I’m going with this. Turn back now, if you’re scared, because yeah, it’s about to get weird as fuck up in here.
So B comes back from his daily run and finds me on the bathroom floor painting a smiley face on watercolor paper with some weird red stuff. He said, “What the hell did you do?”
And I said, “Oh, I wondered how it’d look if you tried to paint with blood, so I had to get some.”
“Did you cut yourself?”
“I tried but I’m a chicken. I just remembered how much I bleed when I nick the back of my ankle shaving* in the shower, sooooo… I did that.”
And his reaction was priceless. He didn’t scream in terror. He didn’t run away and call a doctor. He didn’t send me to a shrink. He just said, “Well, you didn’t have to do that; I would’ve given you some blood.”
I’m not sure if it’s more creepy or sweet, but yeah. Bit Billy Bob and Angelina, really. You want to date a writer? Prepare for some weird shit.
Also, when I say blood, sweat, and tears went into writing “She Said”, you now know I mean this literally. I’d say that’s why it’s my favorite, but that’s not even true. It’s my favorite cuz of Aldo. (Who, in this universe, is called Tory. But still. Same guy, different world.)
I so shouldn’t hit “publish” on this one. But I’m gonna anyhow.
*Seriously, what’s up with that? You’d think it was a major artery…