greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
[personal profile] greygirlbeast
Yesterday, I wrote 1,689 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges. The chapter is now about halfway finished, but I'm clearly going to have to set it aside and attend to Sirenia Digest until #68 goes out to subscribers.

Yesterday's pages were...different. Grimmer (or at least gorier) than most of this book has been. But as Spooky pointed out, still funny. It's a strange, strange trick – for me – that this book is being used to turn. Anyway, when I say funny I do not necessarily mean guffaw funny. Maybe sometimes I do. Maybe. More often than not, I mean the sort of funny that brings a knowing smile. I'm not a comedian. Remember the scene in Pulp Fiction (1994) when Vince accidentally blows Marvin's head off? The scene is funny as hell. I'd like to think that when this book will make you "laugh out loud," it'll be because a scene or a line of dialogue worked like Marvin's unfortunate head. The way that scene worked. Or, better still, the funnier stuff that followed immediately afterwards. Or Vince and Jules trying to wash Marvin's blood off their hands in Jimmie Dimmick's sparkling suburban bathroom:

The actual scene I'm referring to here is behind the cut:



74. INT. JIMMIE'S BATHROOM - DAY

Jules is bent over a sink, washing his bloody hands while
Vincent stands behind him.

JULES
We gotta be real fuckin' delicate
with this Jimmie's situation. He's
one remark away from kickin' our
asses out the door.

VINCENT
If he kicks us out, whadda we do?

JULES
Well, we ain't leavin' 'til we made
a couple phone calls. But I never
want it to reach that pitch.
Jimmie's my friend and you don't
bust in your friend's house and
start tellin' 'im what's what.

Jules rises and dries his hands. Vincent takes his place at
the sink.

VINCENT
Just tell 'im not to be abusive.
He kinda freaked out back there
when he saw Marvin.

JULES
Put yourself in his position. It's
eight o'clock in the morning. He
just woke up, he wasn't prepared
for this shit. Don't forget who's
doin' who a favor.

Vincent finishes, then dries his hands on a white towel.

VINCENT
If the price of that favor is I
gotta take shit, he can stick his
favor straight up his ass.

When Vincent is finished drying his hands, the towel is
stained with red.

JULES
What the fuck did you just do to
his towel?

VINCENT
I was just dryin' my hands.

JULES
You're supposed to wash 'em first.

VINCENT
You watched me wash 'em.

JULES
I watched you get 'em wet.

VINCENT
I washed 'em. Blood's real hard to
get off. Maybe if he had some
Lava, I coulda done a better job.

JULES
I used the same soap you did and
when I dried my hands, the towel
didn't look like a fuckin' Maxie
pad. Look, fuck it, alright. Who
cares? But it's shit like this
that's gonna bring this situation
to a boil. If he were to come in
here and see that towel like
that...I'm tellin' you Vincent, you
best be cool. 'Cause if I gotta
get in to it with Jimmie on account
of you....Look, I ain't threatenin'
you, I respect you an' all, just
don't put me in that position.

Vince
Jules, you ask me nice like that,
no problem. He's your friend, you
handle him.


Now...it's trickier than this. Much so, actually. Because Quentin Tarantino, he had your eyes on his side. He had Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta and the film's camera crew and editors. Tarantino had delivery, inflection, subtle and not so subtle facial expressions, a whole bag chocked full of visual aids (the bloody towel is, for example, hilarious). But if you are one of the three people on Earth who have never seen the film (well, shame the fuck on you), odds are this scene might read rather flatly. Even though (I shit you not, as Siobahn Quinn would say), "I watched you get 'em wet," is one of the funniest lines ever uttered in any film.

Coming to Blood Oranges, I was well aware of my handicap. No visual aids. No actors bringing their talents to bear on the problem at hand. Just me, and me, and me, and a whole lot of words. If I can't make you see it the way I need you to see it, make you hear it as I intend it to be heard, and so forth...all attempts at humor will fall flat.

There's a reason I've never tried this trick before. Well, hardly ever have I tried it. Anyway, thing is, Pulp Fiction, though very funny throughout, isn't actually a comedy (and if you throw out that "dramedy" shit, I'll punch you in the face; sorry, that's what Quinn would have said...or Jules Winfield...or Vince Vega). And see, Blood Oranges isn't actually a comedy....

Comedy and horror live right next door. Hell, most times, they share a bunk.

***

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus commented, regarding the WFA nomination for The Ammonite Violin & Others, "Who would have thought that an online poll to start up a few monthly vignettes would have led to all this?" And I realized that, in effect, Sirenia Digest has been nominated for a World Fantasy Award. Which left me completely stunned and delighted.

Oh, and you sorry-ass Russian hacker scum, I can only hope that every time you close your goddamn eyes, you see this staring back at you:



Stunned,
Aunt Beast
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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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