Author Joshilyn Jackson keeps one of the most honest and entertaining blogs I’ve come across in a very long time (and her books don’t suck either). This is an old post she referred to in a recent post, and well, it’s damned amusing.
Sometimes, in my writing, the vagarities of plot require that I, as a novelist, perpetrate the deaths of COMPLETELY FICTIONAL creatures. Sometimes, these completely fictional creatures are…dogs. And because I write Southern Gothic, my fictional dogs tend to die in SPECTACULARLY violent and disturbing ways. I also kill people—including innocent little children— with mad abandon, but NO ONE EVER COMPLAINS ABOUT THAT. *sigh* What can I tell you? Sometimes, in my books, things get violent and disturbing. Flannery O’Connor says that SOuthern fiction includes the grotesque always because we are are still capable of recognizing it. So. FLANNERY is backing me on the dogs, kay?
ANYWAY, an animal rights activist and I had the following exchange…Please understand that HER tone is QUERYING and INTERESTED, NOTNOTNOT accusatory or vicious, and my tone is exhausted and insane. Are you with me? OKAY!
Her: I have not read this book *holds up gods in Alabama* but I have heard from VERY ANGRY AND DISGRUNTLED READERS WHO HATE YOU FOREVER NOW, that you SHOOT A DOG in it.
Me: No, I do not.
Her: Well, a dog gets SHOT. And this has turned a LOT of readers off your books…as a volunteer at the Humane Society, the things I have heard are what has kept me from reading this book.
Me: No dog gets shot in that book.
Her: Well, people have told me that one does…
Me: No, not in that book. Dogs get SHOT in BETWEEN. In GODS, they get beaten to death with shovels.
She BLANCHED in absolute horror and I realized what I said… I thought I was going to burst into tears and then the ABSOLUTE absurdity of the moment hit me…I started giggling helplessly WHICH OF COURSE she thought I was giggling with delight at the thought of, OH I DON’T KNOW, getting the hell out of there to go string up dogs by the feetses and beat them like pinatas….I REALLY wished the earth would swallow me.