Back in 2009 I was all excited about my new novel, Against A Rock and wrote out a very detailed outline of my plans for a couple sequels, though I finally decided against actually sitting down to write them, particularly because Against A Rock was fan fiction for a video game called EVE Online, and I felt that it would lose some of its magic if I converted it to avoid copyright infringement the way 50 Shades of Grey was done.
I also want to write stuff that’s not quite so violent… but maybe that’s not such a good idea… maybe I was meant to be a writer of violent, torturous stories… no, I like experimenting with writing, doing different things and try something new with every story I write… or at least, that’s what I want.
But I do really like some of the scenes in this outline, though most of those instances are kind of twisted and sadistic, like the scene where the child is about to be executed and Mahran tells him what’s going on instead of protecting his feelings, the scene where Viotro’s favorite slave, whom he adores, betrays them and he’s forced to kill someone he genuinely cares about, with a hatchet to the cranium, or where the abolitionists are tricked into swallowing explosives by the slaves they had just rescued.
When I started writing Against A Rock I decided to do what I could to get into the head of a truly sadistic and selfish person, in this case, Floreina, our main character. What I found was that I really got in touch with the sadistic aspects of myself, aspects that I’d kind of been repressing for many years. I think that’s something that most of us repress and we pretend like we don’t really enjoy the thoughts of other humans suffering… but we do… I think all humans have the capacity to, and at some points in their lives, take pleasure in the suffering of others. We hide it, we deny it, we pretend we’re doing it for altruistic reasons, but in the end, we all have sadistic tendencies. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have some kind of human suffering in virtually every hollywood movie.
But the real problems with sadistic people, is when we give them guns, badges, and start calling them heroes. The problem is because we are lying to ourselves until we believe that the satisfaction we feel when a criminal is punished is out of a love of justice, when in reality, it comes from this deeply repressed love of human suffering.
So I think there are some healthy outlets for our sadism, such as these violent stories I write, horror movies, and my favorite new outlet, BDSM. I started topping (toppping is the term for when you’re the one swinging the whip) merely because that’s what people wanted, but I quickly found that once I get into the sadistic perspective, I need to be careful. The first time I made someone cry from hitting her, it was an amazing experience that I wasn’t expecting, and it never would have happened if they hadn’t asked me to do it, as topping was not something that comes naturally for me. The truth is, nobody knows what a sadistic person they really are until they start to explore it and try to understand it in a relatively non-judgemental context.
If we don’t stop to recognize what sadistic and awful people we all are, we will never be able to address the fundamental problems in our society. We need to explore these things, put ourselves in the minds of soldiers blindly killing the enemy without concern for their families, to recognize and imagine the overwhelming sexual urges that drive a serial killer, and recognize how easily we could convince ourselves it wasn’t so bad. We need to try to feel ourselves, that trapped desperation, frustration and lack of self-worth that drives men to beat their wives, and we need to stop and imagine what it would really feel like to be a police officer, with a license to kill, looking out at all the civilians, never knowing which one is a criminal so you learn to hate them all, recognizing that the punishments you inflict are never enough so you keep upping the ante.
We need to get in the heads of people who do sadistic things, to understand them.
It’s not just the people in prisons who are capable of great cruelty. That capacity is a part of all of us, and it’s time we recognize it.