The Naked Novelist

That’s right, I’m sitting here writing in the nude, and that’s NOT because I’m trying to get in the mood to write erotica…but because it’s fucking 35 degrees here! And I can tell you, it’s not a pretty sight (thankfully, at least half of it is under the desk).

Anyway, I might have mentioned before that I hate research – but I’m currently researching murderers, and I have to admit it’s kind of engrossing. Did you know, for instance, that most violent dudes have violent parents (one or both), grow up in violent neighbourhoods or have really traumatic childhoods? Poor things, I hear you say….no, but really, it takes a lot to make most people kill. Even Richard Kuklinski, who literally can’t count the number of people he’s offed, felt lousy about the first one. Most murderers, in fact, would rather not be killers: they would have liked a nice ordinary life, but either their damaged brains or damaged circumstances said otherwise.

It’s true that not everyone who’s abused as a kid ends up killing someone. It’s also true that not everyone who smokes ends up with lung disease, and many amputees don’t enter the Paralympics. It’s a numbers game: as Whitey Ford says, you know where you ends, yo it usually depends on where you start.

Why am I researching murderers? Because one of my current writing projects involves a hitman, ‘Uncle Trev’, in Long Bay who is visited by a reforming prison visitor. Paul. Trev wants out on parole: Paul wants to help him become a better man. But is that really possible, or is Trev just acting nice until he’s on the outside with a gun under his coat and scores to settle?

Do you know anyone who’s killed someone? Have you ever been tempted yourself? (in my day dreams, yes. In reality, no.) Do you believe in unmitigated evil, or is there an innocent child in all of us? Can a person who’s done bad things in his or her life change?

Photo by Mickael Gresset on Unsplash

21 Comments

  1. Sounds like you have found a way to keep cool, while you research ‘hot’ murderers. Maybe they are just cool customers.

    Have a great day from Beth

    >

  2. I’ve never known somebody who killed somebody else. Well, let me back up. I did actually, only I didn’t realize it at the time. When I was a kid, probably around 10 or 11, a new family moved in next door. They had three boys, two of whom were close in age to me. My mom was not thrilled with my friendship with these boys and I only found out years later why. The family lived in a diffferent neighborhood in the city but had to move because the middle boy had accidentally shot another boy with the family gun. Instead of going to get help, the boy dragged the other boy’s body behind a bush.

    But … other than that …

    As to whether I believe in unmitigated evil and the rest of your questions … I believe there is definitely unmitigated evil in some people. That doesn’t mean they can’t do good things also or have moments of good. But the evil inside of themselves is incurable, unredeemable, and inevitable. Hitler for example — the epitome of 20th century evil, but I’m sure that he was capable of treating people around him well. Or Idi Amin or Pol Pot. Or mass murders like Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy and so many others.

    I’ll give you a local example. When I was growing up in the 1970’s, the Northern California area seemed to be a hot bed of mass murderers and serial rapists. One in particular, terrified Sacramento for several years. At the time, he was known as the East Area Rapist. He also was at one time called the Visalia Ransacker and eventually became known as the Golden State Killer. He terrorized Sacramento, Visalia, and a couple of other communities over the course of several years. I lived in one of the neighborhoods in Sacramento where he was active. He raped dozens of women (he is believed to have raped 50 women between 1976 and 1979) and killed a number of people (8 confirmed and two more based on modus operandi) in the course of his crime spree. And then, all of a sudden, he “went away.” He was no longer active. Only to be arrested almost 40 years later as a result of DNA work done by the Sacramento district attorney’s office. So, he was an absolutely evil man, absolutely evil for a number of years and then, all of a sudden, he wasn’t. He lived a quiet life in a suburb, worked, married, had three children. To date, there has been no indication that he was a bad father. In fact, a relative described him as a good father.

    1. Yes, similarly Richard whatisname had a wife and three kids and was a model family man. Hitler I think had a disconnect between his personal inclinations and his beliefs, which led him to be generally nice to his family and pets and not very keen on personal violence, but extremely callous to state violence. I’ve noticed the same thing in people who argue the strategy of the Somme was reasonable, despite the massive death toll. Going back to serial killers, many of them have suffered terrible abuse as kids and are sort of replicating that on society. Perhaps if we spent a lot more helping vulnerable families and less incarcerating addicts and people who don’t pay fines, we’d end up with fewer murderers.

  3. I’d like to think I could kill someone if my life depended on it. I can feel the repugnancy of smashing someone’s head in with a rock, for example, but hope that I wouldn’t ‘choke’ if it came to a life or death situation.

    1. I guess most of us could. I did encounter a situation once where I thought I had to fight for my life, and I remember that something just took over, I didn’t even think about it.

  4. Haha, I can kind of relate. Not to the killing, but to the writing naked part. I wrote a good portion of my novel while naked…only because we happened to be in the midst of a heatwave with temps in the 105-107 range right when I was on a tear!

  5. Pingback: The naked novelist

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