Now That I’ve Fallen in Love…

Yes, somewhere during the night, while the back of my brain gestated on what to do about the Thug Luckless novel, he seems to have moved into my heart — lock, stock & teardops, as it were!

I, of course, mean Thug. I am now totally in love with this character, and every single thing I’m thinking about this morning has been stuff that I feel is meant for the novel.

For some inexplicable reason, I took the book Funeral Rites, by Jean Genet, out of the bookcase and started reading it again first thing this morning. It’s been about 35 years since I last read it and it overwhelmed me that first time — in the best way.

Although that word “best” has to be seen through the prism of my own fractured mind because it’s about the Nazi occupation of Paris in the mid-1940s, and homoeroticizing it, as well as eroticizing rape & execution as a way of processing grief. It’s about a young guy Genet had been in love with who was killed by a sniper’s bullet — by a French Nazi-sympathizer sniper. And the young man, as described by Genet, was physically the exact image of Greg, my boyfriend who was killed when he was fifteen.

The book, overall, is about the young man’s death and his funeral and how it colored everything in Genet’s world in Nazi-occupied Paris. And if anyone has read any of Genet’s work, you know that homoeroticism is usually a huge theme, along with emotional alienation .

At that point in my own life, pretty much everything I had lived through to that point had been colored by Greg’s death. Plus, I always had an intense sort of fixation on Nazis, on Nazi Germany, and on Nazi-occupied Paris. I had been adopted and raised by  Eastern-European immigrant Jews, who instilled in me all the horror stories of the Nazis, and about family members who’d been sent to concentration camps, etc.

When I was born, the reality of the Nazis was less than a generation away, really. It had this terrifying undercurrent within my adoptive family –even well into my teens, I would wake up in a full-blown anxiety attack, convinced that a Nazi was hiding in my closet.

Still, by as early as 1974, that intense, erotic Italian film — The Night Porter — which eroticized sadomasochistic Nazis, was extremely popular. As well as the lurid depictions of pre-Nazi Germany in the film version of Cabaret. So there were a lot of mixed cultural ideas going on in my world when I was growing up.

For me, Funeral Rites was just an amazing book. Just an amazing achievement in literature.

And the photo on the cover (I have a hard cover 2nd edition from Grove Press, 1969, translated by Bernard Frechtman) is this wonderful photo of Genet by Brassai — a photographer that I have always just loved:

The writer Jean Genet photographed in Paris by Brassai

And I realized, while looking at the cover photo, that something in Genet’s eyes reminded me of Thug Luckless. And then my mind was off and running.

And I took out that wonderful photo book of Brassai’s from 1976, The Secret Paris of the 30s. And was just getting inspiration upon inspiration for Thug all morning.

And I could see the fictional P-Town (no, not Provincetown…) becoming more like the seedier underbelly of Paris in black & white photos from the 1930s, even while it remains a post-apocalyptic town in the novel.

(You can see I’m calling it “a novel” now, too.)

And even while Thug Luckless remains an AI sex robot, I’m feeling like his inner world is going to be really awesome, and the eras and cultures and time periods are going to coalesce constantly. (I don’t know — can you “coalesce” constantly, or do you simply “coalesce”?)

Anyway. Man, Thug is off and running in my mind and I just love him. I’m guessing it will take me a couple of years to write it since I have to fit it in between 2 plays, the Girl in the Night erotic love letter collection, and the In the Shadow of Narcissa memoir, too. But the whole story, and his character, have really opened up for me, in this really compelling way, and it all seems to have happened while I was sleeping.

I don’t see it as being a novel that anyone on Earth will be willing to publish, though, since it will be literary but extremely sexually graphic, so I’m guessing I will have to publish it myself. I guess we’ll see.

While I was leafing through the Brassai photo book, there was a brief essay he wrote about the photos he took inside an upscale opium den in Paris in the 1930s, and I was really surprised by how similar it was — in its little details — to how I described the opium den in Coney Island in the 1950s in my novella, Neptune & Surf. Although my description was based on what I thought a Hollywood movie version of an opium den might have seemed like in the 1920s  — if this isn’t too convoluted for you to follow!

Anyway, in my opinion, there were some pronounced similarities in the details between the two. But it also made me decide that P-Town has to have an opium den district — perhaps on the wrong side of town: Hookah World, or something like that. You know, Disney World but with opium, and in the post-apocalypse.

Okay. So far, that’s been my day! And I’m gonna do some yoga now and then get back to it.

I leave you with the Thug Luckless theme song. It really just suits him to a ‘T’ —  “Lock, Stock and Teardrops,” as sung by KD Lang. From her 1988 album Shadowland.

Thanks for visiting, gang. I hope Monday has been a wonderful journey for you, so far; wherever you are in the world and with whatever you’re mind is getting up to!! I love you guys. See ya.

“Lock Stock And Teardrops”

Someday I won’t come runnin’
When you call
The way you hurt me
It’s a wonder I’m still here at all

Someday you’ll wake up
And you’ll find yourself alone
Lock, stock and teardrops
I’ll be gone

I can’t go on
The way you make me feel
You make me cry
And every time expect me to forgive

Someday you’ll wake up
To a cold and lonely dawn
Lock, stock and teardrops
I’ll be gone

Oh someday I’ll wake up
And find the strength to carry on
And lock, stock and teardrops
I’ll be gone
Lock, stock and teardrops
Lock, stock and teardrops
Lock, stock and teardrops
I’ll be gone

c –  1963 Roger Miller

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