Suggested Audio Candy:
Dennis Haggerty & Aaron Moreland “Family Tree”
That is the shit right there, kinship. Just because our blood types vary it doesn’t mean we are not of analogous blood lines. Together we bleed through prose, through artistry, through openness and trust. Since I first bled I have been overwhelmed by the domino effect it has evoked. Suddenly that poor lost soul pressing a kitchen blade against her forearm decides to release blood a different way entirely. The knife becomes a quill and the only light-headedness felt by a heavy bleeder is through the joy of others not judging but empathizing, not rebuffing but accepting, not misinterpreting but understanding. Each day when I do my Twitter rounds (a happily arduous task due to the wealth of souls all sharing the bloody love) I see the most resplendent sight before me. Folk bleed but, by doing so, heal deeply embedded wounds. Should one of us fall there are an ocean of hands clambering to pick us up and set us back off in the right direction.
People are picking up their quills, some of which like myself hadn’t written more than a blank cheque for decades, and I encourage the shit out of that. Every single contributor, whether through tangible content, or tireless support keeps the bloody wheels lubricated. I point you towards Peter Kidder. This absolute gentleman only ever offers encouragement and support and has proven himself true grue through and through since our ship first set sail. Love him to bits. It would be impossible to list every person whose words or actions inspire me but I trust that these people know precisely who they are as every word scribed is a love letter to said individuals.
Rest assured, every last share, word of appreciation, and positive response is duly noted. As Grueheads we gain something exclusive to us; our own exclusive family unit. Blood lines have been forged, obstacles dismantled, and seeds sown. Now we all get to watch their fruition. Many a checkpoint beacon has been lit by our numerous patrons of grue. There are no restrictions to where this is going and such diversity will concrete beliefs that Rivers of Grue ain’t no shallow puddle. Long haul kiddywinks; I pledged long ago that I will scribe until fitted for my casket/urn/shrine/whatever. No hollow promises, not here.
These Rivers run deep red and do so habitually. We’re taking back what is rightfully ours, freedom to live, love and breed without fear of banishment. The only requisite, as stated previously, is kindness. We don’t knock down, we reconstruct. Passion overrules prejudiced conditioned response and love climbs above hate to reach its apex. If one of my works don’t resonate with some and I receive criticism, I don’t react and get up on my soap box. I thank them for their feedback and take their pointers on board if deemed valid.
At the end of it all, I always scribe with integrity and self-belief. I’m forever learning despite knowing of my aptitude through prose. The moment we stop learning, our souls’ decomposition is accelerated. Ergo, I cherry pick daily and apply relevant learning without carrying the accompanying baggage and urge you to do the same. Life’s a carton of shit? Only if you choose to view it as such. Should we become closed off to education then where can the enlightenment come from? Recently I posted a piece called Flesh and Blood and it appears as though certain quarters may have read into what I said when citing that the naked body caked in cruor is a source of great allurement to me. I wish to elaborate on my point there; there’s not an ounce exploitative about my prose when stating my preference, I speak in metaphors regularly. I take no pleasure in real suffering but was raised on a staple diet of Italian horror and Giallo by the likes of Argento, Bava and Fulci.
Dario Argento in particular painted as though the camera provided a canvas and, through beautiful females and an abundance of deep red soda, enabled us to see through his rose-tinted spectacles. He used his artistry behind the lens to create dark beauty and cruel sensuality. There was nothing exploitative about Tenebrae or Deep Red; yet they were chastised by censors who deemed them as unsavory. Utter fucking bile, closed minds only see black and white, never crimson and creative minds are historically misunderstood.
If you placed a naked woman in front of me and covered her in real cruor, I wouldn’t lick my lips and unzip my jeans to say hi to my monster. No, I would place her in recovery position, attempt not to keel over myself in horror and search for the wound from which the crimson protruded. Taking literally from all my statements is to not hear what I’m truly saying. I don’t insult folks’ intelligence by spelling shit out like the bald-headed Errol Brown-looking dude from Sesame Street. I trust that by remaining slightly ambiguous it will be read correctly and in context.
I can’t censor myself, pledged I wouldn’t, and I uphold that doggedly. What I can do and have a duty to my Grueheads to do is to explain myself should things get contorted by those who misread my work. I am an open book but I can’t read it all out to the free world, to do so would be to compromise my beliefs. What I can do is clarify, if asked, as there’s no more gentle loving creature than I and, at no point, is my work ever intended to offend. Some have informed me that my work occasionally makes them feel a little uncomfortable but are quick to point out that this is in no way a criticism.
I squirmed during Ricky Gervais’ The Office but not for any other reason than that it was honest and I could relate unerringly. I’ve worked in an office environment recruiting locum doctors and placing them in positions in hospitals of responsibility all over the UK, thus I know the stereotypes, and they’re frighteningly accurate. Through the writing prowess of Gervais and beanpole genius Stephen Merchant I related. Simple!
Rivers of Grue is a benign entity, one which embraces and celebrates the macabre and I know, hand on bloody heart, that the true Grueheads appreciate my sentiment every time. I bare myself day after day out of one thing: love. It is this I peddle and it is this which has enabled us to grow such a badass family unit. So I like to watch blood jettisoning from a freshly carved cavity; read between the lines. I wouldn’t so much as flick a horse’s hide in reality as cruelty sickens me, truth be known. I love horror, so shoot me dead center of my chin whiskers! Am I deranged, unhinged or a psychopath? Come on now, we already know that’s a rather large resounding no. Tsk tsk to anyone who believes such hype. So in summarizing I thank the Pagan gods of the earth for the Grueheads, you place your eyes and ears in my safekeeping and that is an honor I will never take lightly.