For those of you who follow Crystal Lake Publishing’s Patreon, you’ll notice the tin miners taking on more of an appearance. As Neon Dream is my warped 80s world and the Tentacle Queen/Gloria is the creature in charge, I thought I’d give them physical signs of radiation sickness when their hoods are pulled back. I don’t know what Cold War propaganda my parents were letting me watch, but I still have nightmares about it.
I’ve been promising for a few days some more about the Tentacle Queen. She’s been appearing in a lot of what I’ve been writing lately. I’ve been focusing on how she manipulates children to get at their parents and most importantly, Donnie.
The description of the woman who formed the Tentacle Queen (lucky for her, I don’t have her name) was someone who uses her own daughter, plus at least one other child, in adult mind-games. She’s also someone who uses her past to manipulate others (obviously that’s something that drives me absolutely insane in the rather literal sense) and form bonds with people based upon her own descriptions of her past trauma.
People like this are very subtle in real life. Covert narcissism (having been on the receiving end of it for so long, I’m pretty sensitive to the red flags) and it is trying to get that subtle level of manipulation carried over in fiction where everything is laid out for the reader. Trying to tone her down, like trying to tone down Faded Star’s goodness, is proving difficult. She has her minions (Joyce and Kord who she acts through) but she also has the Girls With Hooks Where Hands Should Be. I’m sure at the heart of a covert narcissist is pure evil, but their actions don’t speak that.
When I posted about Middle Age Rae of Fucking Sunshine the other day, I mentioned Era Two (Push the Button/Tainted Love) seemed like a way to rewrite Rae, Reptile and Night of the Penguins. I can see a lot of Reptile in the Tentacle Queen and Rae as well. Those two were written when I knew what a narcissist was but was so trapped within the trauma, I couldn’t describe it. In terms of Night of the Penguins, which I’ll try to remember to include when I post about it in a few days, I’m refining the witchcraft and ritual in it. The characters in Tainted Love/Push the Button don’t exactly have traditional jobs.
I’m off to bed because I don’t feel very well. I finally found something that explains the sort of trauma bond going on between Donnie and the Tentacle Queen...
Before I spent ALL my time finishing The Daisies That Open at Midnight, I was going through some of the Era Two (Push the Button/Tainted Love) characters.
Honey is a bit weird. Her first appearance is in 56 Seconds banging on the bars of the cage inside Donnie’s head. Other appearances and all she does is stare into her phone with stalking skills to rival the NSA. She’s built up a fantasy inside her head of Donnie. In The Daisies That Open at Midnight, it is discovered her heart is missing and bleeding into Donnie’s front pocket. She’s as obsessive as my earlier character Seth is about Terry (see my website and Patreon). She’s Faded Star’s much younger lover.
Some people I’ve known have lived entirely online without any real personality of their own. They look at the happy posts their “friends” post and accept that as one hundred per cent reality all of the time. They then do whatever the “friend” is doing thinking that’ll bring them happiness instead of exploring what would actually bring them happiness by getting to know themselves. And they’ll pick and choose from their friends posts - this person has this so I must have it too, this person does this so I must too, etc. And that is Honey. I did try to read the Twilight books to see how abuse is presented in a positive light and to read an empty character’s point of view. I didn’t get very far though.
At one point, Honey’s train of thought is along the lines of “empty inside to be by his side, he can mould me into the perfect bride”. Unfortunately I’ve had lots of experience with people projecting their own emptiness onto me or expecting me to be empty (in the case of condescending fuckwits) so they can mould me into whatever they want under the disguise of “help”. It goes beyond annoying and into dangerous, especially with people thinking I must be lonely or whatever. So I’m writing from a position of people spent years seeing me as empty with no life goals etc.
The amount of people I’ve told that don’t spend all day on social media because they get cranky if I miss a message or a post is ridiculous. They’re like, “well, what are you doing all day”, writing books, I am writing fucking books. Usually followed by “when is this book of yours out?” Hmm I have ten books out (ten is the number I usually say, I’ve never actually counted).
A quick update as I’m down to the final scenes in The Daisies That Open at Midnight now.
The Child That Has Always Been is a new character (one of the girls with hooks instead of hands) and she’s convinced she has a long list of issues because her mother (the Tentacle Queen) implanted the idea in her head. The person where the idea for the Tentacle Queen came from does use her own daughter as a pawn in her mind games from what I was told.
The Stolen Daughter is meant to “fix” her while ignoring her own problems. I’ve come across many people who expect me to fix them while ignoring my own problems and it is one of those things that really gets under my skin. No one can help anyone until they help themselves first.
As i write this, I have Ultravox on (I’m still post traumatic AF, plus pre-half term anxiety has become a thing in my house), I know I keep saying I’m going to post stuff about Honey’s development and I will (along with Donnie who now wheezes and says “really” a lot).
But X/Xanthe needed a musical and the additional songs on my playlist are seeping into other stories (which is how I like it for anything Tainted Love/Push the Button, including bringing in certain popular characters from before). When deciding on a musical, I wanted to avoid Rocky Horror and The Phantom Of the Opera. Those two are the go-to horror musicals.
I have gone with Sunset Boulevard. I won’t get into how much the film has influenced my writing (pretty much everything except My Lovely Wife, and maybe Broccoli, it is hard to pinpoint really). But Norma Desmond is a special type of narcissist. Max is her enabler. And I will write about all of that some other time. Using the musical, apart from me needing one for X/Xanthe allows me to hear how different actors have portrayed the roles.
I don’t want to give away too much about what is happening with X/Xanthe except she wakes up buried in the Forest of the Dead with her intestine somewhat sewn back inside her.
I haven’t really used this video in Era Two (Tainted Love/Push the Button). Again, the tarot cards are a direct result of looking into astrology (and my uni era experimental stuff used tarot cards). But I’ve been thinking of it today. The three of swords is an image repeated throughout The Daisies That Open at Midnight, even if it isn’t mentioned directly.
Back to showtunes for my day off. Trying to narrow down X/Xanthe’s afterlife to one or two musicals now.
Following what I posted last night about The Tentacle Queen, I’ve added Way Too Wicked by Mortiis (also from The Grudge album) to her song playlist. The Tentacle Queen, like the second person that makes her has a way to strip down confidence and then replace it with what she says it should be. I think this album might be as important as Without You I’m Nothing (Placebo) to Era Two (Push the Button/Tainted Love). I’m trying to keep the volume down. Don’t want to drive the neighbours crazy by listening to the same few songs on repeat.
My neighbours must hate me. I’ve just spent the last three hours listening to showtunes for X/Xanthe. In my mind, I was never clear on whether she was an actress in a) plays b) musicals or c) operas. Due to that lack of clarity, I don’t know if I ever mentioned it in Theatrum Mortuum. I guess I’ve solved that problem now. I don’t want to give too much away in what she does between resurrection and taking up her role as a producer/songwriter in Smothered Hope. Her song will always be The Never-ending Why by Placebo (with a little touch of Every You Every Me, My Sweet Prince and Post Blue).
Further development in the Tentacle Queen (and this is why it is so hard to write about Honey and Donnie - the final element of Marcy is still being saved for last). This one might also be controversial (like the creeps in the trees). And it is really fucking long and personal.
I mentioned earlier that the band for Smothered Hope had finally received their last member. It is one of the Tentacle Queen’s children. She has three: one appears with her in the Forest Of the Dead (the child that has always been), one is kidnapped and the other is the one I came up with today (I’m not giving away Caught on the Outside). And the band itself is made of her children.
This had me thinking of other crappy mothers with narcissistic personality traits into their trauma bonding. I would have been thinking of this person when the women who became the Tentacle Queen was described to me (because bad life events). Somewhere in the back of my mind at least, as I always do when I hear of another who I’m told about through their trauma instead of who they are.
My first meeting with this crappy mother, I was introduced as someone who “had a bad life”. 😕 I really don’t want to bond with people based on how shitty our lives have been for a start because that is not who I am. I’m not a series of bad life events 😕 Instead of letting me have any say, she automatically tried to one-up whichever shitty event or series of events the person who gave the intro said.
I try to forget her. Even if she was the sort of person I’d want in my life, trying to get me to like someone based on introducing me as someone from a “bad background” isn’t the way to do it. At this point in my life, I had absolutely no spare time anyways (I was waking up at 5AM to write at this point).
This person has a teaching certificate so I guess her word is more valuable than mine when it is stuff about my life. Time passes blah blah, I’m so wrapped up in the stress of all these people and trying to escape, I don’t know how much. I know I gained a lot of weight in this time. It wasn’t a case of “oh, I put on a few pounds, I better go on a diet”. Nothing was that simple at the time. I needed to get a doctor to say it because my word and wheezing walking up the stairs wasn’t good enough. So I did that. Trying to save the drama that occurred. At this stage, I’m morbidly obese. I’m not on any medication nor do I have any underlying health issues that relate to being that heavy. I’m not “big boned”, I was a size zero through my teens and early twenties, so really tiny. Apart from a sweet tooth, I should have no issue taking this sort of responsibility for my health and life.
Instead of any sort of support to lose weight, I was publicly humiliated to give me “body confidence”. Excuse me, I’m dangerously overweight, this ceases to be a confidence issue and becomes a serious health issue at that stage. This teacher encouraged this “body confidence” humiliation. It involved inappropriate photographs posted to Facebook. I’m in my 30s, as is she. So grow up for a start! Inappropriate photos can haunt someone forever. And if I wanted them on the Internet, I can post them myself. I’ve never had “body confidence” issues. So a projection from people who see me as a series of bad life events instead of a person with actual thoughts and feelings waiting to take responsibility for their life. This is coming from a teacher and a mother of a little girl. What is she going to do when the little girl hits her teens and has some sort of issue with her appearance? Strip her down to her underwear and post the picture on Facebook fishing for compliments!?! Because according to people like her, confidence is a shallow gift given by other people. Again, it is with that air of false-intellectualism. Her comments on the photos (which I didn’t want taken, let alone posted on Facebook) were along the lines of “it is so good to see a ‘real’ woman” as if women who are any other body shape aren’t real women and that women can be reduced to what they look like in badly taken photos in their underwear. And she mentioned she was a mother and was going to teach her daughter this stuff. I don’t see my weight issues as society’s problem, it is mine.
Confidence runs deep. I mentioned earlier that I still lack the confidence to write Smothered Hope, despite being confident in my writing overall. One of my friends gave me a crash course in pop music production about one year ago for what became Era Two. But he just went through the theory with me and analysised how to make the songs, what software to use, stuff like that. I don’t have the confidence to really get stuck into writing this book yet, because I haven’t tried to make a pop song. My laptop can just about handle Word, Spotify and the Internet (it finally seems to accept Chrome). I’m not even sure if I can still use music software as I haven’t had the computer to run it for years. It may come back to me like painting, really automatically despite assumed upgrades in the software since I last used it or it may be really slow and sluggish like drawing. Having my old skills back is where my overall confidence stems from. Even just setting aside a few minutes each day for something. And also being heard if I say something like “I don’t want pictures of me taken in my underwear”.
This teacher with her “body confidence” and the aftermath definitely undermined my actual confidence. I did lose some of the weight. I did it in secret without any encouragement or support until it became noticeable. Still losing. If I wasn’t dealing with this or similar incidents over the years, I could have been working towards a new computer for all my experimental art needs, which would have included the music software, or boosting my confidence by regaining my lost skills sooner, or instead of forcing myself to write, waiting and letting the stories and flashes of insight come to me (which is preferred and gives me that overall ultimate high).
So, the Tentacle Queen is getting elements from a second person. Obviously one I don’t like, although I am trying to keep some of the characters in grey areas in terms of personality. She’ll probably get more as Donnie, Honey and Marcy did as they evolved.
era two (tainted love/push the button) characters
Thought it would be easier to add the Era Two characters as blog posts as it is going to take awhile. All of these have been copied and pasted from my facebook page. To follow along in real time, facebook.com/danibrownbooks