Right now, Richard Godwin is interviewing me for The Slaughterhouse. Per his usual, the questions are mind bending and a delightful challenge to answer. He’s brought up some topics I’ve dabbled, but have not immersed myself in. So I decided to swing by Barnes & Noble when I was in town, and see if I couldn’t find anything to educate myself further. The experience left me giggling like a crazy person, and I will totally write this scene some day in a book. I thought it would entertain you too..
Barnes and Noble:
The guy at the helper desk. I've seen him before. Slightly overweight, black longish hair, thick dark rimmed glasses, pale skin. The 'intelligent- I- read- books- but- like- to- pretend- I- look- goth- and- I- go- to- school- at- nights- cuz- its- in- style-' looking sort. Very serious. Doesn't look as if he's ever smiled. Probably not many friends or girlfriends. You know the kind.
I say, “So I'm looking for a book called ‘The Romance of Agony’ by Mario Praz.”
He types it in and some kind of interior design instruction manual comes up. He asks me if I'd like to order it in to the store. I laugh and say no thanks. So then I say, “Okay. Do you happen to carry any of the works or perhaps a biography on Marquis de Sade.”
If you could have seen the look on his face- his eyes bulged behind his glasses and his jaw dropped. He tilted his face down and looked at me over his glasses, he whispers, "THE Marquis de Sade?"
I nod and say, "Yeah, that's the guy. I can't pronounce his name, I don't speak French."
His eyes grew wider. He says, "Marquis de Sade. What the fuck. You know what he-"
"Yes." I cut him off! And he says, "He's the one who wrote --"
I say,"Yes, uh huh, that's the one I’m talking about."
He stands straight up and looks me up and down. I wore jeans, a sweatshirt and my favorite sneakers- nothing special, right? Not your average looking for some sadistic fun goth bad girl. He finally picks his jaw up off the floor and says, "You'll have to excuse me. You're the only person I've encountered here who even knows about his works. Come here, lets see what we got."
At that point I'm thoroughly amused and can't help but give him a mischievous grin (oh - evil Jodi!). So he flips the monitor around and he types the name. Various books pop up. He whispers, "So this is the deal. The first book you'll want to read is Justine. The second is Letters from prison (I think that was the one) and third is 120 Nights of Sodom." He nodded his head. "In that order."
It was my turn to be surprised that he'd read the books. (They are voluminous!) and he didn't look like 'the sort'. But he totally had this look on his face and no doubt he had a full on you know what. And we just stood there eyeing each other suspiciously. Priceless!
He finally leans over the counter. "Look, he writes twisted shit. Obviously, you know that. I suggest 120 Nights of Sodom. It’s really short. Some people read it for the--"
"Uh huh." I cut him off.
"But I had to read it for a psychology class. Purely for a philosophical & pseudo point of view."
"Gotcha,” I say.
He says, "If you are doing research, I'd suggest that book."
At which I said, "Yes, purely for research." I winked at him and said, "I'm a writer."
His eyes lit up again, and then this really weird, crazy lady yelled from the other side of the help booth. "I need a book about Libras!"
So I thanked him and scooted away before anything else could transpire. I had a good laugh in the car. Seriously, though? Now that I'm fully educated on the subject. It's some pretty twisted stuff. Some of Sade's philosophical theories are quite interesting, genius even. I might have a quarter of respect for him if I didn't want to kick him in the gonads so badly. "How's that feel, buddy? Ya want more?" Sick Narcissistic Twisted F*ck.
I love learning. I love researching. I love writing.
Who else has researched Marquis de Sade's work or life? What do you think?