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I Am So Scrawled!

Over the weekend, the amazing Christina and Meika of the Pigasus Pen and the Capital City Writers Association set up an all-day writing event called the Summertime Scrawl in an old train depot with iron light fixtures that look like bats and snakes.

So metal! 

Our "Pen Pal" Victoria also came out and partook of the camaraderie, all-you-can-eat buffet, complete lack of internet access, and complimentary massages. It was a productive day!

I am now 145 pages into The Grove, and my word count has broken 86,000. I'm sure that includes a ton of adjectives and adverbs and phrases I'll need to delete, but still--woohoo!

How cute is this stuff?

I've given myself an insane deadline to finish this manuscript, force feed it to some beta readers, and fix all the stupidest parts within the next eight weeks, when... a SECOND literary agent who has requested material from me may be finished reading my first 50 pages. (Yes, I told her the rewrite is not done!) So I need to hurry up and, uh, put out.

GROSS PUN INTENDED. DAD, IF YOU ARE READING THIS, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GO AWAY!

Yeah. When I returned from a successful Scrawl to pick up my daughter at the grandparents' house, my dad cheerfully let me know that he had found this blog online and started reading it. I told him to cease and desist immediately, and then he told me a funny story about how Chrissy Hynde waited until her parents died to publish her autobiography.

WELL. I haven't done all the things Chrissy Hynde has done, and I'm not going to wait until my parents die to publish the stuff I don't want them to read. At my first writer's conference, I swore I would not turn into one of those many frail elderly people in attendance who all said, "Now I can finally write my story!"

Dad, if you are still reading this: If I ever publish my current manuscript, I'll make you an abridged version so you and Mom can read it without dying.

Because it's ALL ABOUT SEX. Not like 50 Shades of Grey or anything with a shirtless guy on the cover. Not that kind of book. Actually, I take it back. My book is really about how sexual desires are always about everything else.

I have a theory that's basically the opposite of Freud's. I do not think that the sex drive is the most basic of human drives. A few people don't really have one, and they live just fine. You can survive without sex or without sexual desire--you can even reproduce without being that into it--but you will die quickly if you don't eat or drink.

You can also actually die of a lack of emotional intimacy or social connection.

Don't make me bring up that horrible baby monkey study we all learned about in college.

Of course, there is a base, animal component to our sexual urges. But humans are very neurologically and socially complex creatures. People's sexual desires are hugely dependent upon their mood, mental health, cultural beliefs, interpersonal relationships, and non-sexual needs, which vary greatly depending on the person and their circumstances: desires for family creation... pair bonding... power over others... status... security... affirmation... healing from trauma... escape... safety... the creation of ecstatic art... expressive freedom...

The sexual drive in humans, like in many other mammal species, has functions that extend far beyond the reproductive. Our old lizard brains use it to urge us toward things we need, even when we don't understand those needs consciously. And of course, lizard brains aren't very sophisticated, so our unexamined urges, even when arising to address an important need, can certainly lead us astray. (Just like how a healthy appetite for food led my father-in-law directly from starvation to obesity-related disease when he immigrated to the United States.) I don't believe it's any coincidence, for example, that people in unhappy relationships or unhealthy states of mind often feel sudden physical temptations to cheat on their partners.

So my novel is about a whole bunch of people with repressed desires for each other that lead them into all kinds of dangerous (and sometimes life-saving) adventures. The plot draws from the legends and folklore of mega-repressed and freaky "barbarian" Europe, long before Freud.

And if I ever make any money off of it, Dad, I'll bribe you not to read it. Because ehheeewwww.

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