Writing in Blood

You want it in blood?
You want it in blood?

I came across an interesting question the other day: Why write in ink when you can write in blood? And, while we’re about it, we can add to our discomfort about the dripping, body-warm, gore splattered nature of the question by suggesting that it opens a can or two of slimy, wriggly things, freshly gathered from a half-open grave.

Feeling a little nauseous? If you have a half-way decent mental-visual response to words, I’m not surprised. That was a load of gratuitous material designed to evoke disgust for some readers and a morbid fascination for others.

Scratches on my best cave wall.
Scratches on my best cave wall.

We’ve written in blood since man first scraped the burnt end of a stick on a flat surface. Homer did it and the bible’s full of it, so it goes back a while. Before that, indigenous folk managed to portray some graphic examples of brain bashing and limb severing on their cave walls. Later on, Shakespeare reputedly made a grand living from a few well directed splashes of the big red, and Poe is regarded as the architect of modern horror.

So the art of making us squirm has been with us since the dawn of civilization and is still with us today in bucket loads. The bottom line is that, apart from writings of love and all its machinations, words that are crafted to horrify us are right up there in the popularity stakes—oh, talking of stakes, did I mention Vlad the Impaler (Dracula)? Now, the vampire game has certainly stood the test of time with releases of more new hot young vampires due in print and then onto the big screen later this year. We just can’t get enough of them, can we?

A hot young vampire
A hot young vampire

Of course words that churn our stomachs sell well. And, if publishers can see the bucks in a few pails of crushed bones and curdled blood, that’s what they’ll continue to slap out. Some of us actually enjoy writing that stuff.

From time to time, I relish writing to an extreme goal. It’s almost relaxing. And, for whatever arcane reason, I find it relatively easy to write in blood. I won’t go so far as to say it’s therapeutic but, well, you know …

It could be that my background in law enforcement has made me hardy to the visuals required to write in blood. I suspect that’s probably the case. Those experiences haven’t left me unaffected by, or impervious to, the realities of human suffering. And they certainly don’t make me inured to my own. For someone more than used to dealing with the gruesome results of violent crime, it’s quite embarrassing to be refused the opportunity to donate blood. I must be the only person I know who received a letter from the Red Cross asking me never to return.

There’s a story in there somewhere. Would you like me to blog it?

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