January 9th, 2007


Grocery Store Selection

Whenever Jared and I go to the grocery store, we always stop at the rack of books near the front entrance. It’s here that they keep the trashy romance novels, the thrillers, the books about terrorist virus vampires who travel back in time to meet some Vikings. It’s not a large selection, but it’s a pointed one. These are the books that people may be ashamed to buy in bookstores, where the literary elite looks on, ready to condemn your reading choices. These are books for people who feel that bookstores are too uppity, and prefer to get their reading material alongside their produce.

The grocery store selection consisted of your basic bodice rippers, the ones with a swooning woman on the front and a hunky man holding her with one arm. However, there seems to be a trend where members of the Army/Navy get transported back in time and get to have sex with lots of women, or all of them have sex with one woman. Regardless, they are horny, and they travel though time. I’m not sure exactly what the appeal here is, except that maybe it’s slightly patriotic while at the same time being exotic.

Patriotic + Exotic = Book Sales?

Or perhaps we just want to imagine that the people in the armed services getting laid. Or perhaps middle-aged women would like to get laid by a platoon of sweaty men.

Every time Jared and I go into the grocery store, we pick up these books and read the backs, which sound a little like this:

Magdalene Starks must chose between her vampire lover, and saving her sisters life!

When the U.S. Navy Seals travel back in time into an Arabian Harem, how will they find a way to get home?

At first, Isabella was frightened of the dark stranger, but now his passions threaten to overwhelm her!

“Why didn’t you write this?” We say to each other. I mean, hell, it can’t be that hard to churn out something about Werewolf Vikings in the Future, or Strong Women who Fight Vampires and also Have Sex with Them. The dialogue is flat, the descriptions are clique, all in all, they read like the first draft of better stories.

“This one is about Cowboys.” I’d say to Jared “Cowboys who fight Zombies. Why didn’t you write this?”

“I don’t know.” He’d say “Why didn’t you write this book about this woman who is torn between two vampire lovers?”

“I don’t know.” I’d say, putting the book down.

I believe I am capable of writing trash. I even think I could write slightly above average trash. Maybe my trash would have some themes in it; perhaps it would have character arcs and lush descriptions. Maybe I could marry some of the succulent ideas in modern anime to the trashy character types of typical grocery store novels. Write something for a slightly younger audience to secretly enjoy, pass around and jerk off too. If I could even be a gateway drug to writers like China Melville, I believe my work on this Earth would be done.

I wouldn’t mind a career as a Hack.

Right now, I am 23 pages into a novel I'm writing about this chick and this vampire guy in a steam-punk alternate past. There are lots of breasts in this story. Also, there is lots of heavy breathing. And stabbing. And homosexual tension. I’m not proud, but I am happy.

Oh, alright. I’m proud too.