Marquis de Sade on Perverse Writers

Marquis de Sade on Perverse Writers

As I was finishing the first drafts of the third part of SICK, I picked up the infamous Marquis de Sade. I had been wanting to read him for years. Would he be as depraved as I had been told?

The first thing I noticed was the similarities between his characters’ (or de Sade’s) logic and the philosphies of John Branch (my MC). I never read de Sade before, but hundreds of years later, the argument between nature and religion is the same. Do we live according to the instincts and impulses we were born with, or do we live according to what society deems as acceptable?

Despite the obsessive focus on anal sex and the tiresome naïveté of the protagonist, who, though heroic, gets duped time and time again, de Sade writes with admirable zeal and devotion. Most surprisingly, I felt an undertone of love throughout his writing for every facet of this confusing existence we humans face.

But of all the quotes I collected from my readings, I thought my fellow writers, those who are brave enough to go to the darkest depths of the human psyche and those who aren’t afraid to explore the places others dare not tread, would appreciate this one the most.

“…he is like unto those perverse writers whose corruption is so dangerous, so active, that their single aim is, by causing their appalling doctrines to be printed, to immortalize the sum of their crimes after their own lives are at an end; they themselves can do no more, but their accursed writings will instigate the commission of crimes, and they carry this sweet idea with them to their graves: it comforts them for the obligation, enjoined by death, to relinquish the doing of evil.”


I believe de Sade is taking stab at himself here. No doubt the public thought he wrote solely for these reasons, and he was mocking them. It was obvious to me that his drive to write was fueled by a calling much more profound than the reasons he mentions here, though I’m sure the thought of his ideas propogating into the future put a smirk on his face at the time of his death.

Since I first began writing, I often wonder why I go to such dark places. I never expected or intended to. I outlined my theories in this post here. But, I think what is important about de Sade and books like SICK, is to face the ugliest of humanity, to seek the truth no matter how horrific it is. No matter how hard we close our eyes, our sins will not go away. Sex slavery still exists. War, torture, and vice persist. There has been no decrease in the atrocities of the human world since de Sade’s time. That is why we still must write about them. That is why we must rip off the covers we hold so tightly to our chins. Maybe one day we will figure out why we keep harming each other, why we keep destroying the world, and and we continue denying the truth about ourselves.



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Why Patrick Bateman Still Haunts Us by @JeremyRDyson


I’m sharing one of the best blog posts I’ve some across in a long time. Are you a fan of American Psycho? Read this piece by Jeremy Dyson about how well-written shock and gore fiction can and should make profound statements about society.

This year marks 25 years since the release of the controversial classic, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I’ve read a number of articles online about how Pat Bateman has become such an iconic character and rehashing the themes of materialism that got the novel so much acclaim. Still, every article I read seemed to come up far short of explaining the impact that American Psycho should have had on the world of fiction.

Read more…

Would You Separate from Your Evil Side if You Could?

getting rid of your evil side

I’ve been reading up on classic gothic fiction in preparation for writing SICK and its sequel. While I’m reading, I always highlight any passages that resonate with me. The following is from Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.

I, for my part, from the nature of my life, advanced infallibly in one direction and in one direction only. It was on the moral side, and in my own person, that I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both; and from an early date, even before the course of my scientific discoveries had begun to suggest the most naked possibility of such a miracle, I had learned to dwell with pleasure as a beloved daydream on the thought of the separation of these elements. If each I told myself could be housed in separate identities life would be relieved of all that was unbearable the unjust might go his way delivered from the aspirations and remorse of his more upright twin and the just could walk steadfastly and securely on his upward path doing the good things in which he found his pleasure and no longer exposed to disgrace and penitence by the hands of this extraneous evil. It was the curse of mankind that these incongruous fagots were thus bound together that in the agonised womb of consciousness, these polar twins should be continuously struggling.

This passage captured my imagination. I tried to envision what it would be like if all the dark parts of my personality were removed, placed in a separate body, and left to walk about on their own.

At first I laughed at the thought of my evil twin skulking around town. She’d be in and out of bars, cursing at people one moment, flirting with them the next, eating fried foods, chain smoking, and stealing chocolate. What trouble would she get into without my good side to restrain her? I wouldn’t dare write it down. I’ll just let you speculate on that…

Then I thought about my pristine, righteous self who would be free of temptation and weakness. What would she accomplish now that there were no negative thoughts, judgements, resentments, gripes, or depraved thoughts to drain her energy and taint her higher dreams? She’d probably become a vegan evangelist who adopts dozens of dogs, children, and smelly vagrants. She would talk in a Bob Ross voice and never get annoyed–not even with stupid people. What would she write about? Rainbows and unicorns?

Would I kick my Evil Self out of the house and tell her to please stay the hell away from me?

Would my Evil Self bitch-slap me, laugh maniacally, and run off with my purse?

Hopefully my Evil Self would take my passport and fly to the other side of the world. Right? Then I could do all my saintly activities in peace.

But then what? I don’t know. I think I might get kind of bored, and boring (and I suspect my husband would miss the bad girl too).

Just like the characters we read and write about, our personalities need both the good and bad to make life interesting. Without the struggle between the two, we can’t learn anything new.

I don’t think I’d separate my good and evil twins if I had the choice.

What do you think?

If you could remove all your nasty quirks, would you?

If you could choose, which bad traits would you get rid of first?

What would your evil side be like?

What would your good side do?

Thank you for visiting.

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"Anyone who has ever secretly longed for the significant other of a close friend will immediately identify with this well-written story set in the South of France. The dialog is sharp and the characters believable. The writing is both funny and poignant."
–Max Tomlinson, author of 
The Cain File

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