when your parents read your stuff

1

The writing went well today, although it was one of those scenes where I could hear my father’s voice in my head: “I can’t believe my daughter writes stuff like this.” He told this after he read an earlier draft of BLOODANGEL, but the first time I remember him saying it was in my teens.

It’s been pointed out by more than one reader/reviewer of BLOODANGEL that although the book is violent and gory in parts (although not nearly as gory as a lot of the stuff I read in the nineties, when splatterpunk was at its peak — because of this I’m always surprised when my book is called out as gory — I want to say, Wait a second, haven’t you read Skipp and Spectre, or Michael Slade or early Poppy Z Brite? What are you talking about? Did you see WOLF CREEK, HOSTEL?) the gore is not ‘gratuitous’, whatever that means, and the reason for it is basically: I’m not comfortable writing stuff like that, and so I only write it when I need to. And I don’t think I should be comfortable writing stuff like that. But I can’t shy away from it, either. When you’re writing about demonic entities, chances are you’re not going to have your characters drinking tea and eating cookies. Not often, anyway.

At any rate, the goal is to write a novel that builds on BLOODANGEL yet can still be enjoyed as a stand-alone. I still have no working title for it — will probably just steal the title of a song I like and use that for a while — I absolutely refuse to think of it as BLOODANGEL 2, which gives me way too much of a Jerry Bruckheimer type of feeling.

2

Two of my friends have gotten puppies, and dinner conversation tonight — at a new hot steakhouse on La Cienega where, halfway through the meal, they started blasting 80s tunes (and who knew that Duran Duran would travel so well?) — involved housebreaking and training and, as a natural extension of that, crazy Los Angeles dog trainers who use acupuncture on their own pets and charge insane amounts of money per session. Randall and Paj were there, and I congratulated Randall* on his Oscar nominations — he had a strong hand in producing NORTH COUNTRY, SYRIANA, GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK and the documentary MURDERBALL through his company Participant Productions, which partners with Warner Brothers and George Clooney’s company Section 8. While at Sundance I saw him speak on a panel with Redford about doing ‘socially conscious’ movies and then saw another documentary of his — THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET — and damn if I didn’t feel this incredible swell of pride for the guy, the consistently high-quality work he’s been involved in — and inspired by him as well. He’s not sure if he and Paj (his tall blonde fiancee) will be attending the Oscars, since he’s not one of the guys who would take the stage if GOOD NIGHT wins Best Picture. Apparently all the potential on-stage award-accepting people get automatic tickets, and all previous nominees also get invites, and then there’s a lottery to determine which of the remaining Academy members may go if they are so inclined.

Paj arrived late, and as she slipped in beside me she mentioned the photographers lurking outside the restaurant. Moments before I’d run into a girl in the restroom who looked incredibly familiar; I was wondering if I knew her from somewhere, if I’d been rude in not saying hello; I glanced at her again, and clicked into the fact that one of the other women at her table was Jessica Simpson. The girl from the restroom was some kind of friend/assistant who was on that television show with her (this is one of those things I am not proud of knowing, but I will not deny my taste for low culture, especially when I am on the treadmill). When we left the restaurant the photographers were still clustered round the walkway, and I was struck all over again by what a pathetic, parasitic job they have. Still, as I stood on the sidewalk in the cool misty air and waited for the valet and looked at the lights of the city I felt a rush of affection and goodwill for LA (a pleasant change from the feelings oft-inspired by LA traffic, and LA drivers, who make you despair for humanity). I’m an outsider here, but we all are. That’s the nature of the city.

*pseudonym

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