Friday, March 18, 2011

Blood and Guts! Yeah, baby!

Okay, so yeah--the blog is now called "Blood 'n Guts." As my wife remarked just now, "It's a pretty drastic change from Moonlight Sketches." The former name was "more pastoral," she said. No argument there. But I want something else, something more visceral, more energetic, full of vigor and something with nuances--a title that greets you with a bloody handshake.

Of course, I liked "Moonlight Sketches"--it said a lot about what I was trying to do here. The problem was that I took it from the title of my book that's coming out soon. That kind of doubling up felt fine more than half a year ago when it seemed like the book was still, well, half a year away. But the closer the release date came on, the queasier I felt about it. It just felt redundant.

So here's where it comes from:

My hometown is a place called Placentia, which is a town below sea level (or just at sea level--I'm not sure which). But the water separating us from the "mainland" was called The Gut. As a kid, I was fascinated by how The Gut would lop with whitecaps on the windiest days when the tide was high and threatening to swamp us. I can recall riding in the backseat of my father's car, along the main road, with the seemingly insufficient breakwater made of logs doing its best to hold The Gut at bay, to keep it from spilling onto the road and submerging half the town in seawater. On the worst days, usually in winter, the waves would lop right over the breakwater and onto the road, and the salt spray would drift like spirits across the pavement and across to the other side. I would often have nightmares, literally, about trying to cross The Gut on foot, traversing the side of the road (or the bridge that joined us to Jerseyside) and fearing I was going to drown. (Above Photo by J.M. Smith)

So, as I was trying to come up with a title, the idea of "The Gut" took hold of my brain. I thought of simply calling the blog "The Gut" or "Gut Instinct" or something like that. Then I thought of "Blood and Guts," which became "Blood 'n Guts" and, ya know, I like it.

The new title suits my Gothic sensibilties, harkening back to the comic books I read as a kid, most featuring Weird War Tales or Dracula or Jonah Hex. Of course, it also describes the "blood and guts" movies that are a rite of passage for any serious fan of horror movies, which I was. Friday the Thirteenth. Halloween. Nightmare on Elm Street. That kind of thing. The schlockier the better. My tastes have changed quite a bit, but I still can't resist the odd Rob Zombie movie or whatever the latest horror flick is in the theatre. Mostly, though, the title is a nod to my darker side.

My fiction writing doesn't go that route--not usually, anyway--but my tales do tend to peer into the dark soul of humanity. I'm an optimistic by nature, but that doesn't keep me from going there where, perhaps one might be better off not looking at all. And that's the other part that makes me think the title fits--I like to look into the "guts" of things, how they work, what they're made of, what makes them do what they do.

Then there's the "blood" part--sometimes there will be blood. Sometimes, though, the blood is more metaphorical than phsyical, though it's often both. Again, there's the nod to my heritage. My stories in Moonlight Sketches aren't about my hometown--far from it, in fact. Sure, some stories (perhaps even all of them, on some level, conscious or unconscious) are influenced by my childhood growing up in a rural area that certainly had its share of darkness, like any small town. But most also take inspiration from the other places I've lived on this island and even beyond it. And yet it seems appropriate to me that I pay homage to where I come from--"blood" being a reference to the bloodlines, to heritage, to the things that make us what we are. It's a nod to the experiences that shape us all and particularly myself because, after all, lest you go thinking these stories are completely about you or about other people who shall not be named--they are mostly about me. They concern my own search for meaning in a chaotic world. I'm not even sure there is any meaning to it, of course, but I'll never know that for sure if I don't look into the guts of it, keeping in mind where and what I've come from and why I'm here.

Quite likely, I'll never know any of it anyway. But this blog is an attempt to uncover and discover, to decipher and explain, look into, and discern the world and myself, as well as all selfs. Quite selfish, you see.

So, yeah, blood 'n guts, baby! Hope you like the change, as I'm truly looking forward to a slightly different tone around here.


Oh, yeah, and the awesome artwork above is from Darren Whalen and it's PROTECTED by the artist's copyright and Creative Publishers.


  1. I like the change. It's different and yet hilarious at the same time. I can't wait to see how this goes. Hahaha

  2. Thanks, Chris. Your input helps b/c I'm still not sure about that title.