Smut: A Disclaimer

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Yoko Ono is right, there are a lot of lonely people out there.

Yup…and a lot of weird ones too.

And a site like mine is bound to attract its fair share of strange individuals. I mean, I use the occasional multi-syllabic swear word when expressing my somewhat hyperbolic views on matters of interest to me and I’ve written books with titles like Sex & Other Acts of the Imagination. So when people are tapping in key words for salacious subjects near and dear to their perverse little hearts, some might just bring them to Beautiful Desolation.

Poor dears. Go searching for good whacking material and instead get sent to me.

The thing is, thanks to the people here at WordPress I can actually view the search words and “tags” people are using when they get steered to my site. Some of them are hilarious, some disturbing, others are out and out surreal. I’ve written down the best of them so far and will now take this opportunity to share my “Top Ten” list with you (hopefully the folks involved won’t be too embarrassed). You type in the following terms and, somehow, you will be directed to a blog devoted to the scabrous scribblings of some Canadian nutter:

10. “stupid editors at publishing house” (okay, that one I understand)
9. “male masturbation hobbyists”
8. “words that rhyme with forget
7. “fantasy invisibility sex stories”
6. “man is not born a thief but circumstance”
5. “stories about wrestling action figures”
4. “pissing snap on mouth”
3. “will short child be short adult”
2. “opinions are like assholes”

–and, at numero uno, easily the most fucked up turn of phrase that people used to find my blog: “self pissing for pleasure”.

And Sherron wonders why I’m a ball of nerves every time the kids are out of my sight even for a second.

storrjpeg.jpgWell, keep ’em coming, folks. Reading through that “Top 10″ list fills me with joy at the sheer diversity of people out there and also a rather smug sense of satisfaction because it has always been a central tenet of my worldview that there’s no such thing as an ordinary, normal human being. “The sane are madder than we realize,” the great Anthony Storr has noted and he’s a guy whose opinion should carry some weight.

I think the internet grants timid souls the anonymity they crave so they can explore certain aspects of themselves their innate shyness and squeamishness usually forbid or deny. And I suppose that’s a good thing…but the flip side is that it emboldens creeps and arseholes to seek material to feed their sick fantasies, using cyberspace as the ultimate porn emporium.

Anonymity also allows one to embark upon “flame wars”, harassing and belittling other individuals by employing gutless pseudonyms. These lame fuckheads wouldn’t have the nerve to behave like they do in face to face encounters, they know they’d get the shit knocked out of them. There have been a few people who’ve posted to this site, noses out of joint because not only have I just served up one of their sacred cows to them, I also offer a full range of condiments to enhance their dining pleasure. Some of their remarks are nasty but I promised myself when I started out I would never censor people for their views or offer any kind of public rebuttal (that would be unsporting). Sometimes it’s hard to resist the urge to reach through cyberspace, grab certain twats by their throats and squeeze ’til their fucking eyes pop out but…I manage.

cashierjpeg.jpgCivility is in short supply, I notice it in on-line forums…but I also see it in supermarket lines. Unsmiling faces, not even a nod of thanks if you surrender your place in line or hold the door open for someone, the cashier looking haggard, refusing to make eye contact. Are the “trolls” popping up all over the internet a manifestation of the deep sense of anger and unhappiness people are feeling? There’s a disconnect out there, the global villagers locked in private houses, browsing for internet porn or arguing over the latest film remake of a bad TV show instead of meeting in the market square for shopping and socialization. Or maybe that browbeaten cashier is just counting the minutes until she can go home and get on-line and switch to her other identify, an avatar known only as “Coquette”, courtesan and spy in a digital community with the virtual population of a medium-sized country. Tens of millions of people assuming the personalities and lives of nonexistent alter egos…and pining for those invisible realms when they’re away from them for any period of time.

We just signed up so we can read our own utility meters and pay our bills on-line. No longer any need for the friendly, neighbourhood lady from SaskEnergy to pop by in the afternoons to check my meter or any necessity to wait in line at the bank, chat with the cashier, pay my bills, crack a few jokes.

All of this bringing to mind my tale “New World Man”, a family isolated within individual rooms of a house, locked in their own private worlds, largely oblivious to each other. Is that where we’re headed? Is that how you want to live?

* * * *

Progress on the novella: it’s coming along slow and steady. No big breakthroughs. Because I was having some trouble getting started I made the choice early on to write the novella out of sequence…a decision I may come to regret. This approach presents some special difficulties, coming up with segues and links, for example. The natural “flow” of the story mustn’t be inhibited by its episodic structure (God I love writer talk).

interpoljpeg.jpgPlenty of music keeping the office rocking. Recent arrivals include new Foo Fighters and Radiohead (thanks, Jess), as well as Modest Mouse’s latest release, “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank” (courtesy Elaine). Still enamoured with Interpol (I slam on “Heinrich Maneuver” to get things started in the morning) and “The Fountain” soundtrack (Mogwai and the Kronos Quartet collaborating) provides great atmosphere, as does Schubert, Jeff Beck, Aqualung, music from “Black Hawk Down”, Jesus and Mary Chain…

Last night I decided to unwind with an old movie and went down to my basement and dug out a VHS copy of “Dark Star”. It was late and after a long day tapping away in the office I was too tired to really give it my full attention. But it was fun, a trip down memory lane. “Dark Star” was made around 1974 and has managed to garner that much-sought after designation as a “cult” favorite, largely because it was John Carpenter’s directorial debut and features Dan O’Bannon in a variety of gigs (including supporting actor–er, don’t give up the day job, Dan). It’s fun stuff. Made me want to haul out my old Super 8 movie camera, string up a model on fishing line (just like the old days, eh, Brent?) and waste an afternoon making magic.

Hmmm…but not today.

There’s magic to be made, all right, but it’ll happen upstairs, first room on the left. The novella awaiting my attention, the house to myself until tomorrow afternoon, no excuses or distractions. Hoping that this morning I’ll feel inspired, the tumblers falling into place. Not oppressed by pride or envy, working with courage and perseverance. Waiting in anticipation of my muse seizing hold, watching with growing wonder and awe as the story unfolds before my eyes, the process still as mysterious as it ever was: a lovely bit of misdirection, a sleight of hand I must’ve seen a thousand times and have yet to figure out the trick…

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14 comments

  1. Fraxas

    I hope your spamfilters don’t discard my comment out of hand because it has a URL in it – because this one, I think, is worth 30 seconds of your time. http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19 links to a webcomic about gaming (that most puerile of pastimes enjoyed by the 25-40-year-old male aside from war). This particular comic, though, is more about online community.

    Or lack thereof.

  2. amber

    LOL…Cliff, you certainly attract quite the crowd with keyword searches like those!

    I agree with the comment you left on my entry about pornography…especially, the bit about the “amateurs” who are probably too drunk or attention-starved to even realize what it is they are participating in.

    I am not an advocate of pornography in any of its forms, as I do not enjoy watching people degrading themselves in such an undignified manner. Which is why I just can’t understand the mindset of someone who would put themselves in that position. I tried, mind you…but I honestly still do not get it.

    It figures, though, you know… I write a perfectly fine review of Carolyn Forche’s classic book of poetry, The Country Between Us, and the porn is what everyone requests and what gets all of the attention. *sigh*

    Anyway, good luck to you with the band of orons who peruse your blog in search of filth. Best to you, Amber D.

  3. lookingforbeauty

    Stumbled upon your blog and enjoyed the read. I’m sometimes with you on the pessimism for what is ahead, but find there is lots to be optimistic about, too. I find the supermarket a bit more polite than you have. It’s a charming game to unfreeze the clerical drone syndrome with some flattering or sympathetic chat.
    You have a great way with words. It’s thoughtful and expressively put. I’ll be back for a longer look at your post.

  4. janflora

    I completely agree about the dearth of civility, which of course can only mean the death of civilization is close behind!
    I hope that some of those perverted surfers actually read further into your blog…. they may learn a thing or two

  5. Derryl Murphy

    I’m just back from World Fantasy, and while there I went out of my way to introduce myself to an individual who is absolutely brutal online, but whom I’ve been told is quite nice in person. Well, we ain’t gonna be BFFs or anything, but I for one refuse to stoop any longer. I don’t get into online pissing contests any more, and, aside from one or two remarkably memorable opinions – oops, I mean assholes – nobody is worth me getting all het up.

    This guy may have been a little surprised that I came to him, hand outstretched. Don’t know if it’ll change how he interacts with me online, but I can always walk away from the computer and hang with a family that loves me and think that my life isn’t so godawful that I need to shit on anyone who disagrees with me.

    D

  6. blakejohnson

    Awesome post. I also really liked the “Civility” paragraph, very accurate thoughts, it made me think of a movie idea or something based on the duality of worlds (online and offline) and just last night I watched a video of someone talking and they had said “in my offline world…” and went on and I was like what if someone heard that and said “Offline world? What offline world? I don’t have an offline world, heh, nerd.” I thought it could be cool to play with that as a topic, like you obviously did here and in that story you mention about the isolated family (very cool sounding idea, by the way). The process of writing for me is also much like how you describe it for yourself, as a sort of mystical and amazing thing that you don’t really understand but it happens and it works, and it’s fun to watch as your fingers put something into motion.

  7. Shawn Hansen

    Here’s the thing: I have a class to teach in about ten minutes, and my eyes are all watery and bloodshot from laughing until I cried.

    Thanks–I think. . .of course, my students will have questions.

    Now, there’s one thing that’s going to bug me: what are “male masturbation hobbyists”? Is it the act that’s the hobby? Do they collect men who, well, masturbate? Are there action figures?

    Great, here comes the laughter-till-I-cry thing again. . .

  8. (S)wine

    Not bad, not bad. I wrote a few shorts back in March about fictitious glory holes and you ought to see what I get for THOSE key words.

  9. Pingback: The Disappearing Future «

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