— Charles Bukowski
On my comeback. When I started writing, out of desperation, in mid-2011, I had no idea I just passed one of the defining turnings of my life. I still didn´t realize after a few years later when La Petite Mort became a bit of a cult thing, and found a substantial following among the Internet. It only hit me when my gynecologist asked me for “the stories”. How far has this gone out? Whom else figured out? It was then that I experienced a serious faint of heart that lead to my untimely hiatus and taking La Petite Mort offline. It´s bad enough to be forced to spread your legs on a steel chair twice a year in front of a stranger, but to denude my heart and mind this way scared me bad. I was afraid for my life, for my public image and the effects my writing would have on my career. So I poured the gasoline and threw in the lighter onto the one thing that sustained me. It was a real bad move. It was likely the only 100 % bad decision of my life. I realized early on I would not be able to live with it. So I worked to muster courage for another couple of years. I wrote for the desk drawer, until I felt I´ve fully come to terms with the fact that my writing is dangerous. It is dangerous, and intentionally so, to both me and you. We both need courage.
La Petite Mort
La Petite Mort, or “A Little Death” is the moment of heightened consciousness at the cusp of ecstasy. It is the shutdown we experience in the proximity of something overbearing. According to literary critic Roland Barthes this feeling is the objective of all literature. A little death is also when something dies in you. I chose La Petite Mort as a pseudonym, because it contains both defining polarities that stretch the canvas of my life. As well as yours. Death and Sex. And everything that somehow inevitably passes in-between. La Petite Mort is a woman and she lives in Prague.
Dangerous Writing is a minimalist approach to writing. The emphasis is on writing “dangerously”— that is, writing what personally scares the author in order to explore and express those fears. I started writing because I had to. Out of desperation. As Bukowski put it, “Either you put it on paper or take it off the bridge.” I begun to take my writing seriously after I realized in psychotherapy sessions, that all of my therapists over time became much more interested in my stories, than in fixing me. That was when it hit me that maybe I didn´t need a fix. I needed to address the story I was living. When recounting my stories to friends, associates and anybody who would listen, I realized that my life has become what novelist Steven Pressfield calls “the shadow symphony”, the substitute for the art one should be making. There was suspense in it; guilt, redemption a set up for perfect drama. It was complete with colourful characters, with desires and vices. I knew then what I had to was turn it into a real work of art, since it has already become shadow artform – folklore, perhaps, or entertainment.
Is this a work of fiction? When I tried to pass these stories as a memoir I quickly realized I made a mistake. I realized that, because nobody believed me. That was a bit startling. It was also liberating – it meant I no longer had to worry whatever the hell I wrote about. So I treat them now as a work of fiction, even though most of the dialog comes verbatim from my life. The decision to believe, in the end, will be all yours.
You, dear reader, are the raison d’être for this. Without you, there is no confession. What is a confession good for when there´s no priest in the booth? You bring me redemption, and sometimes, I deliver it to you. We form a clandestine alliance, you and I, and for the most part, we both remain hidden in the dark. I´d like to keep it so, but if you choose to come into the light, you can seek me out here.