The Three Hundred and Fifty-sixth Post: The One Where I Talk Books and Madness!

Hello, everyone. I apologize for missing an entry (or two…or ten…let’s be honest), but I have an explanation and some good news.

First, the good news.

Valentina’s Feast is finished! Well, the first draft is at least. I’ve sent it off to a couple of editors and I’m still hoping for an October release. I do have other people reading it as well, so I’m hoping with all the input I’m getting this will be the best book I’ve written thus far.

On the upside, I am a wee bit ahead of schedule as far as starting the next book The Agonizing Alibi Day. I was supposed to start it this Saturday, but I’ve actually started it Monday so I’m hoping to continue to ride the wave of productivity through my least favorite month, and start putting out books to be read by mid-September at the earliest. If everything really, really works out, I can have a romance novel (Lard of Love) done in time for February.

I’m really trying to stay committed to cranking out a novel a month to end this year, and hopefully finish a couple of larger projects (The Marvelous and Malefic Doomsday Medicine Show and A Game of Chinese Whispers) over the course of next year. As long as I can maintain a certain level of production and a certain quality of finished product, I feel confident that this is within reach.

The reason why I feel so confident is…mental health.

No, wait – come back!

As long-time readers of the blog will know, I have been up front with my struggles with mental illness. One of the purposes of this is a place to discuss and communicate what’s been happening with me. Keeping it all bottled up has been more harmful than helpful (I only say this because this is how I was raised. Our family motto could have been: Et ego dabo vobis quia clamare de!). Recently, I have been trying a anti-obsessive drug called Luvox. It’s in the same class of SSRI like the anti-depression drug I was on called Lexapro. All of this will be slightly important in a minute.

For the past month, Luvox has made me feel like a zombie. Not the cool, sprinting zombie fiends but the lumbering, moaning mounds of undead flesh. I spent most of my lunches asleep rather than writing. When I got home, bypassing the gym because I was too tired, I would fix dinner and get ready for tomorrow. I didn’t have the energy to do anything else. I am frankly surprised I got the book finished when I did. Even when I got eight hours of sleep, I still felt like I have gotten an hour’s sleep over the course of three days.

Sunday was my last day of taking the Luvox. Monday was my first day of feeling awake. Really awake. Tuesday, I took my first dose of Lexapro. I still feel very awake and aware.

I will also be completely honest and upfront – this has not been without consequences. Remember when I said Luvox was an anti-obsessive drug? Well…the thoughts are back and apparently making up for lost time. Right now, I am just bearing down and holding things off until I speak to my counselor and doctor. I know they’re going to upbraid me for just stopping one drug and picking up the other. I’ve earned it, but what I did was born from desperation. When I was switching from Lexapro to Luvox, I took both for about a week, rather than stopping one cold, then picking up the other the following day. If you feel the need to change medications: Talk to your doctor first!

I am going to be more mindful of what’s going on emotionally, which means delightful blog fodder for everyone else. I can hope that what I am going through will help someone else.

Everyone – hug your loved ones and I’ll try to review a movie and keep the novel updates rolling along.

The Three Hundred and Fifty-fifth Post: The One Where I Review the Movie “Raw”…

I recently watched the French horror movie Raw.

Jesus, the French scare me.

Their horror is visceral. Their horror is philosophical. They work on so many levels. Martyrs challenges your views on faith and the afterlife. Raw makes me think about how college rips away the sheltering embrace of family and tosses you into the hard world.

Our main character has lived in a very safe family environment, with an older sister who has gone on to veterinary school, where she follows. A die-hard vegetarian, she thinks that people are going to give her a pass on one of the hazings: eating a rabbit’s raw kidney.

What happens is not only a fall from grace, but a plummet to hell. This is a movie that chronicles the spoiling of an innocent woman at the hands of friends and family (!). Raw is an aptly named movie. It is a raw, unflinching tear-down with a reveal at the end that calls to mind the adage ‘do as I say, not as I do’.

French horror isn’t like American horror, nor is it like Japanese horror. French horror is a bloody philosophy class. If you can focus and not flinch, you’ll learn something about yourself. Their blood is up front and frank. There are no spirits to be placated as in Japanese horror. There is no mad killer with a mask as in American horror. The horror is not in the unknown, or the unfathomable. The horror is found in the unfeeling. The world doesn’t care, but it’s not the alien uncaring of cosmic horror. The world smokes a cigarette and tells you that he’s a fag, so they naturally paired him with a female roommate because what’s the difference?

Until, for some odd reason, he takes the virginity of his roommate. That was the one scene that kinda took me out of the movie, but it set up the climax (yes, I know what I said) in the movie’s final act. We see her fall, and know that we’ve experienced the same thing, but perhaps in a much smaller scale. Free from the structure of home, how many of us have bitten the apple, or in the case of our main character the forbidden kidney?

This is one of the few horror movies that merits more than one view. Watch it once for the gore, but come back to it for the philosophy. Definitely worth your while.