Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Joys of Fictional Revenge

From our guest Drunk Writer Eileen Cook

People always want to know if I’ve ever sought revenge like the main character in GETTING REVENGE ON LAUREN WOOD. Obviously, due to legal implications there is no way I’m going to admit to anything. If you crossed me earlier in life and now that you’ve read the book you’re wondering if what happened with your favorite pair of jeans maybe wasn’t an accident… well, I can neither confirm nor deny anything.

What should be clear is that people shouldn’t mess with us writer types. We’re a lethal combination of overly sensitive and creative. Our imaginations are capable of creating entire new worlds, people, and futures. Coming up with a way to mess someone up is practically easy. Luckily, we’re typically satisfied to have those that cross us have their brains sucked out of their nostrils by hungry zombies on the page and don’t need to take our revenge into the real world.

I actually prefer fictional revenge. You’re highly unlikely to jail time for fiction. Plus, it can be really hard to find a hungry zombie when you need one. They’re highly unreliable. For me, writing has always been a cathartic way to deal with strong emotions: anger, passion, despair. There’s a release that comes with letting those thoughts that we normally keep locked down, tucked away from public viewing, out for some free time. On the page, unlike life you want to constantly increase conflict. You push your characters to the breaking point to show that even what seemed imaginable can be survived.

Writing allows us to put old demons to bed. (I like to picture them in footie jammies) We’re able to play things out on the page and let them go. Writers don’t need to live in the past, because we can live in any world we can imagine. And we can imagine better than just about anyone.

Thanks for having me!

13 comments:

Molly O'Keefe said...

I'm so much smarter and creative in fictional revenge. The few times I have wished to enact revenge in real life - I've sort of mumbled "you're a dick" and left it at that. Not creative. Not smart and in no way satisfying. Fictional revenge is so satisfying.

It's great to have you here.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Fictional revenge rocks. Real revenge would make my stomach too quesy.

Welcome Eileen II!

Steph

Maureen McGowan said...

I've been trying to think whether I've ever exacted revenge... but I think I'm like Molly. No real revenge, per se. I'm more of an inappropriate verbal outburst type of girl.

Revenge is something I've yet to really explore as a topic, too... Ah, will be fun.

I love what you said about writers not having to live in the past because we can imagine something else... I'm going to think about that more. Love that concept.

Eileen said...

My favorite is when the universe exacts revenge. You know, like when that mean girl who hurt your feelings in the lunch room gets chased by a badger in the parking lot and all the doors to the building are locked because it's after five. That kind of thing. I can enjoy it without feeling like I've done anything mean.

The problem with exacting revenge myself is that I have this long-standing idea that meanness is bad and that revenge requires some meanness and then I feel bad if I go for it. I can in no way feel responsible for badgers chasing random people in parking lots, though.

Alli said...

Revenge without guilt - some do it seamlessly but most are probably us, the idea is great but the act is too scary (and ridden with guilt). That's exactly why fictional revenge totally rocks. I still love the idea of demons wearing footie pj's... Too funny! And why is it the best comebacks are thought of after the fact? Argh!

Eileen said...

Not just after the fact. WEEKS after the fact.

Sinead M said...

I also come up with the perfect snarky comment hours after I really need it.
The closest I come to revenge is finding snarky nicknames for the people that annoy me...
But I'm cowardly, because I only use them behind their backs..

Eileen said...

So tell me other Eileen, do girls get chased by badgers a lot where you live?

Eileen said...

Well, Shoop, not so much since I've moved to California. Back in Wisconsin, though? Whooee!

It's one of those awful life episodes that I still feel vaguely guilty about and then start to laugh about it again (which starts the guilt cycle all over again!). I can't even remember the woman's name, but I will never forget her running in circles in the parking lot with the badger right behind her.

Molly O'Keefe said...

The badger thing really happened? Oh come on... That's too sweet. And Wisconsin? Eileen you clearly have a secret life that you will have to tell me about over many drinks when next we see each other. Let's have Shoop come too.

And in my mind, that Shoop reference is to the brilliant Salt n'Pepa song? Is it?

Eileen said...

Honestly, I don't have enough imagination to make up something like the badger. And yep, Madison, Wisconsin. Before that it was Boston, Mass and St. Louis, MO and Lincoln, NE. After that it was Chicago, Phoenix and now Davis.

I can't wait to sit down with you again! I hope it's soon!

Joanne Levy said...

Hi Eileen! *waving*. I am so jacked up to finally get my hands on a copy of GROLW (it's in shipping). I've been lucky enough to read it in advance and loved it - it's so juicy, but yet has a meaty (but not preachy) lesson. What's next for you?

Danielle Younge-Ullman said...

Hello, Eileen! I would not want to be on your literary bad side, especially with your wicked sense of humor. And I do want my demons in footy pajamas. I might also like a pair...

Happy, happy book launch. I love your work and can't wait to read this one!

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