Friday, August 23, 2013

The Succubus Argument

I don't see why we're always monsters. I mean, we are "monsters," but we're at least the best kind, better than vampires. They're walking STDs. They literally just want your blood; any sexy atmosphere is just a front to treat you like a juice box with two straws in the neck. We succubae want to screw you to death. You should love us!

At first, you evolved to eat and have sex, and though I didn't take notes, I know which one most of you seemed more enthusiastic about. Then you got culture, and prudence, and we drifted apart. But that was you playing coy. You invented capitalism and communism and skyscrapers – and all for what?

To ensure that you could have a place to stay. For what?

To ensure that you could afford clothing. For what?

So that you could stay safe, alive and warm?

Pff. Those are all excuses, means to the end of sticking it in my end. They're all ruses to get you more food and sex.

Well to a succubus, sex is food. Sex is the best food – the cream-filled puff of life itself. We're on your side. We've always been on your side, even when you got really scary. Modernity has jacked up some suicide rates. Poor little guys throwing away food – my food. My food with shattered little feelings that deserve nursing.

A succubus cares about your feelings. All the licorice strings of your insecurities, the robust stew of life experience, and just a sprig of prudential nervousness. We get it. We want you to be the happiest you've ever been, because that's when you're finger-licking good. I want you to feel comfortable, trusted, at ease and then at ecstasy. Loved, even. I love you as much as anyone on The Food Network has ever loved a dish.

I don't want you to die alone. I don't want you to spend tonight alone, and you don't want to be alone anyway! You want to curl up with someone who looks like… me. Who looks like a dream and knows all your fetishes in advance. I'll sit on your chest all night if that's your thing.

Look, if all your life is a struggle to get resources to hunt down sex, then why not give up the struggle and have the best imaginable? And trust me: it's the best imaginable. I'm mostly imaginary, which is why I only show up when you're asleep. We're sweet dreams, the cure to suicide and ennui, and the very best of homicide. Why toil? That's what seems monstrous to me.

Don't trust incubi, though. They're all pricks.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Request for Rare Questions

It's the time of year when I get to ask, "Have you seen my RAQ?"

The Rarely Asked Questions is my birthday tradition at The Bathroom Monologues. The internet is full of Frequently Asked Questions, and few too many rhetorical questions, but enough rare questions. Until Monday night, September 2nd, I'm requesting all readers leave questions they don't normally ask anyone. They can be questions about me, my writing, or anything entirely unrelated. Consider:

-If you were trapped in an elevator with Alexander Dumas, what is the last of his books you'd want to talk about?

-What's the boiling point of Tungsten?

-What happens if you try to mummify a Romeroian zombie?

What you don't normally ask anyone else is entirely up to you, but please ask it of me. I'll compile every question and answer at least one per person on September 4th - my birthday.

That's how I celebrate. With my big RAQ.

Please leave your mysteries and queries in the Comments section of this post.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Updated Less Than Daily.

Hey everyone.

I'm ending daily posting at The Bathroom Monologues. This has been a long time coming – according to Google, I've done at least one post per day for four years. Since May 2nd, 2009, when I had no computer and was stranded in an airport terminal. Before that two-day break, I was posting daily going back into 2007. That makes it close to a six-year streak.

The blog isn't going away, just getting updated less than daily (I'll need to change that header). There are many factors in this. While in Baltimore last week, Blogspot borked posting my #fridayflash and I couldn't do anything about it until noon. Two more posts had their formatting entirely screwed despite my previewing and pruning them in advance.

Regular readers know that health has been declining; it's amazing what your lungs can do when they don't like you anymore. There are many days when getting to the computer is a fight, but now there will also be just as many days when I have no access to technology to check if my stories went up. The notion of my daily posting streak being broken by the blog malfunctioning is more infuriating than I can express among polite company. The people who were with me on that Friday in Baltimore know how silly I can get over it.

This is also about writing longer fiction. There are many nights when I've caught myself not working on short stories or novels because I needed the time for the daily Bathroom Monologue. They seem short, but they have an amazing way of eating time. As I struggle with what work my body allows me to do, I've got to buckle down on novels and short stories, and God willing, getting some of them up for sale. This ain't slacking. As evidence, here's my task bar right now:

Seven .doc files and one .txt – though the .txt is a shopping list and half an e-mail I owe someone. I'm working on six stories tonight, and this missive to you.

I love this blog, and I love doing Bathroom Monologues. I'll still write them as they come to me. #fridayflash will continue, as will Lit Corner. I'm debating moving Lit Corner to Mondays. I also want to run a third weekly feature, but need to figure out what. And there is no reason I can't run random Bathroom Monologues any day I want. I think I'll be posting for the rest of this week, which runs a little counter to today's message, but oh well. Life's a lie.

There are over three million words of free fiction on this blog. God willing, you've enjoyed some of it. I don't want to be pompous and say, "You can enjoy the archives!" But I won't pretend that comments popping up on old posts don't make my day. There are still stories up here that I think no one has ever seen.

Thank you to everyone who's read even one of my stories. Thank you if this is the first thing of mine you've ever read – though I'm also sorry if it is, because what a crumby first impression. Thank you to the persistent commenters, to retweeters and social media mavens that turned this place into a traffic hub, and most of all, to the supportive friends that have made this much work possible in degrees they don't even fathom. What would writing be without friendship? Besides harder to promote.

Thank you. And, irony of ironies, I’ll see you tomorrow for something else special.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: The Giant and the Mediocre Kisser

"If you keep looking at me like that, I'm going to assume I'm a lousy kisser."

"The kiss part was nice. But why do you look at me like that?"

"Like what? Look at you from this angle? Because I have to look up. You're a hundred feet tall."

"I'm one inch taller than you."

"The difference looks bigger from down here, you giant."

"Now I'm not kissing you anymore."

"Good. My tippy toes were starting to ache."


"You're a thousand feet tall."

"I thought it was a hundred."

"Maybe you grew while we were talking. I wouldn't put that past you."

"It really burns you up to be shorter than me."

"Mostly, I'm afraid I'm a lousy kisser."

"You're not. You're mediocre-to-decent."


"Don't get needy, you tiny thing."

"Needy? I'm relieved. I don't have that much practice. Mediocre is an achievement."

"Oh, now that's sad. Come here."

"Only with you, who's probably of another genus. Titanica or something."

"Yeah, no more kissing."

"Can you get some tissues from the top shelf for me?'

"And now I'm leaving."

"To fight crime?"

"I'm starting to think you like this more than making out."

"I knew the truth would travel up there eventually."

"Mediocre kisser."

"Thank you!"

At which point the narrator turns to you and asks: what did you think their genders were?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Book Review: River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay

River of Stars reminded me what ambition means in literature. It's some of most fun and thought I've had in Epic Fantasy, the most rewarding one I've read since George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords, and manages to carve out its own niche. It's inspired by Song Dynasty China, emerging from a nostalgia for past dynasties so rich they it must be at least partially false. It follows teens, bandits and elites up through the rise of a war against the north that is foolish, destructive, and defining of their generation. It's the cycle of one lifetime, told from a dozen points of view and with a richness that I'll re-read many times.

We're tempted to say that River of Stars is "based" on Song Dynasty Chinese culture, but that's not quite accurate. While Kay has meticulously researched the period, he creates incredibly diverse people from around the country of "Kitai," which make the notion of a singular culture or nation silly. There's Ren Daiyan, the brave outlaw who infiltrates the army and rises through its ranks, and his buddy, Zhao Ziji, a romantic thinker who buys too deeply into every calling in life, be it government work, war, or highway robbery. There's Lin Kuo, a scholar who so wanted a wise child that he raised and educated his daughter like a boy, and Lin Shan, Kuo's daughter, whose education leaves her particularly critical of the misogynist establishment, and later, estranged by the war it creates. We even meet the Prime Minister, his son, and the emperor himself, that last a fascinating introduction of a privileged soul deluded with visions of his own generosity and heart. The cast give us the rural life, the poetry and art, the politics and military motions that are irreconcilable with each other. There's no such thing as a culture for a country that big. There are bandits who can become heroes in wars that scholars will only ever hear and write third-hand poetry about.
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