Last weekend, I participated in a reading called Weepin’ & Creepin’ with Darci Schummer, author of Six Months in the Midwest. The concept was this: I would read some really weird, creepy stuff and Darci would read some really sad, weepy stuff. No problem, right?
Except that my mom and dad were coming. They had never been to one of my readings before. In the past, I’ve kept them away from my stuff. I’ve told them my writing can get pretty nasty. But they wanted to come to this reading, which was also my first hometown reading in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. How could I say no?
So I thought I’d just write something that wouldn’t offend anyone. What came out of me was a flash fiction piece called “How to Make a Butt-Sweat Golem.” Fail. Then I called my mom and tried to prepare her for the worst. She said, “Oh, I used to love to gross out my sisters when we were younger, so I understand.” I’m not sure she understood, but I told her it was her fault then if she got grossed out, because any grossing out that I did was probably genetic.
I called Darci. We decided on a strategy. I would read one of my more somber pieces, a little ditty called “Necksnapper.” None of this made me less nervous about reading in front of my parents and, to make matters worse, I would be reading in front of Darci’s parents and much of her family.
So I went all in. I read “Necksnapper.” I watched some of the more conservative crowd members shake their heads and frown as I told the story of a young woman who landed a gig making a very specialized kind of erotic film. Then I read “Butt-Sweat Golem” and I got a lot of laughs. Then, of course, Darci Schummer read and just killed it with style.
After the reading, I got caught up in the crowd and didn’t have a chance to check with my parents. The next day, they called and gushed about how great it was, how professional it was. They weren’t grossed out at all. My mom even mentioned that she read my first book, The After-Life Story of Pork Knuckles Malone, and it didn’t bother her. Maybe she skipped over the whole meat tenderizer penis mutilation scene?
I’m happy that my parents didn’t leave thinking I’m a total lunatic, but now I’m left with a new dilemma: What the hell will I have to write that will freak my mom and dad out?
How Much MP Johnson Can You Take?
The Driftless Area Review did a whole week of features about yours truly. If you want to see how much of my bullshit you can stomach, dive in:
- Four Non-English Works About Drag Queens
- Five Drag Queens You Need to Know
- Dungeons & Drag Queens Review
- FallCon – State Fairgrounds – St. Paul, MN – 10/4
- Carnival of Souls Residency – Grumpy’s Downtown – Minneapolis, MN – 10/4
- Twin Cities Book Festival – State Fairgrounds – St. Paul, MN – 10/11
- Crypticon – Ramada – Bloomington, MN – 10/24-10/26
- BizarroCon – Edgefield Manor – Portland, OR – 11/13-11/16
Upcoming Books And Stories
- Death Warp – Dynatox Ministries (Fall 2014)
- “One Punk’s Guide to Bizarro Fiction” in Razorcake #82 (Fall 2014)
- “Butterflies” and “Leapfrog” in Cesspool (Fall 2014)
- “Letting Go” in Blight Digest (TBD)
- “Dead Diva Boogaloo” in Zombified 3 (TBD)
- “Selling the Slicer” in The Gruesome Tensome: A Short Story Tribute to the Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis (TBD)