West Is San Francisco is the sequel to my gritty addiction memoir Between the Shadow and Lo. It’s weird, it’s dark, and it covers the first four years I spent in San Francisco working for a private detective, getting sober, and finally almost losing my mind to a cult-like startup and its sociopathic founder.
If you’re into transgressive fiction, autofiction, memoirs on alcoholism, or anything to do with narcissistic abuse, extreme codependency and/or fucked up toxic relationships, you’ll probably like it. You can now get it on Amazon in paperback or ebook.
The first book I ever wrote was ugly as hell. It was raw, disgusting, weird, and twisted. In fact, when I first started writing it I didn’t even know what it was. I thought maybe it was a memoir, because it was all about a certain period in my life, but I could also see that it was so fragmented and exaggerated in places that thinking of it as an actual linear story was quite a stretch, even for my imagination.
I worked on it every week for two years but I kept it a secret. I hid the pages I wrote in a locked desk drawer and never looked at them. I was too embarrassed, and ashamed. I knew the writing was bad, that was one thing, but I also didn’t want to look at the demons that were showing up. I didn’t want to know what those demons were trying to tell me.
Every time I tell someone I write transgressive fiction the first question I get is, “What’s transgressive fiction?” If we’re talking in person, I explain it as best I can (usually not very well). But if we’re emailing I send them the definition cut and pasted from Wikipedia:
Transgressive fiction is a genre of literature which focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual or illicit ways.
Because they are rebelling against the basic norms of society, protagonists of transgressive fiction may seem mentally ill, anti-social, or nihilistic. The genre deals extensively with taboo subject matters such as drugs, sexual activity, violence, incest, pedophilia, and crime.
That definition is actually a very good one. It definitely covers all the bases. However, every time I send it to someone to explain the kind of fiction I write, I feel weird.
Today’s post is part a Writing Process Blog Hop I was invited into by one of my favorite bloggers, Jon Simmonds over at Jumping From Cliffs.
As part of the Hop, I’m answering four questions about my personal writing process and then passing the baton on to four other bloggers who contribute tremendously to the creative writing blogosphere.