Tomorrow is my birthday, and as a present to myself I’ve decided to publish The Captain’s Society for Happy Cannibals in its entirety on this site for free. It’s a hobbit habit, I guess, but I feel like giving you guys something special and dear to me, since you all have given me so much already in your kind words and positive feedback. You have all brought me such great happiness, and I would like to do my best to return the favor. My initial intention was to try to get it published, but for reasons that will become immediately clear I’ve decided that this is probably a better option for everyone.
Get it here: TheCaptainsSocietyforHappyCannibalsFinal
Before you go off and read this to your kids, know that it has some adult content. This includes, but is not limited to graphic descriptions of violence, corpse mutilation, social contracts where one party negotiates for the right to defile the dead, cannibalism, group sex, masturbation, fondling low-wage workers, blasphemy, infanticide, casual racism, unquestioned misogyny and the anthropomorphic depiction of a baby pig.
Can’t imagine Penguin wanting to take a risk on that…
I wrote this piece in the summer of 2014, initially as a joke writing exercise, while trying to teach myself how to write with a fountain pen. I wanted to create “poetry” that was first and foremost, entertaining and digestible. I wanted it to be silly, and not at all try to make the author’s thoughts/feelings seem deep, misunderstood and tortured. I wanted it to be about making other people feel better; tricking them into chuckles and forcing them to be a little happier, and not a validation of my own intellect, or a showcase for all the classics I’ve read and referenced ever so discreetly between the lines. The bulk of the content was created over the course of a month and a half, with the first draft being written out on a 99 cent notebook I got at a craft store. It was one of those rare writer moments where I couldn’t wait to get home from work and write some more of it.
The plot was determined using a Dungeons & Dragons style of paper RPG rules. I created the characters and the world, gave everyone their motivations and set them loose. The idea was that I could make it exciting for me, then some of that excitement would impart on the reader. I had no idea what was going to happen. This could have easily been a two page short story, but ended up unfolding into something more wild and insane than I could have ever imagined. I know its corny to say, but the story began taking on a life of its own.
The “second draft” was actually just me typing up the transcript, trying to decipher all my fountain pen rookie splotches. At the time, though, I didn’t actually have access to a functional PC. Here’s a little peek into my process: I do 99% of the blog related stuff on my phone. I don’t have home internet. It’s distracting. I come to the library or use a coffee shop if I need it, but yeah, everything else is on the phone. Anyway, I had just learned about this Japanese phenomena of ebooks that are composed and meant to be read on smartphones. I thought it was interesting, and because I initially planned on doing a self-published Amazon type release, I figured it would be a perfect thing to experiment with. The process of typing a book into a malfunctioning iPhone 4 takes exactly as long as you think it would. A really, really long time. But it forced me to edit, which has always been my weakness as a writer. I came from the school of “first thought, best thought” because I’m lazy. After my first round of editing, I sent it off to my dear friend Alex Harvey-Gurr (thebewildered20somethingwriter.wordpress.com) who did a second round of general clean up, and then I sat around and twiddled my thumbs for three months. Seriously, she’s really good. If you need editing/copy-editing services, she’s your girl.
This was for a number of reasons, all of which boiled down to a lack of confidence in myself. That’s when you guys came into the picture. Becoming part of this blogging community has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life. The connections and conversations I’ve had with some of you have been truly touching, validating and inspiring. You guys made me the writer I am today. You gave me the confidence and self-esteem to not need the validation of money. I have you guys. You’re all cooler than the five dollar footlongs I would have bought with all that book money.
So I guess think of this as a little party-favor in the digital gift-bag you’re getting from my imaginary birthday party. I hope you enjoy it, and that I may return some of the many smiles you’ve all given me.
I promise never to make such a long post ever again.
Here’s the PDF again, in case you really hate scrolling up
A sample can be found on the page that says “The Captain’s Society for Happy Cannibals”
You can download the PDF there as well.
(Photo from zeebam.com check her out. She’s awesome)