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The cliche....updated (Personal venting ahead)

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“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

This is a tired, overused line given almost sacrosanct status among writers. It is given by pseudo-intellectuals and narcissists alike. And all too often, I find it infuriatingly fitting for people I encounter.

You see, my lack of writing of late is because I've been delving into the other side of being a writer, research. Details, ideas, points of interest. I've been researching to bring the story more to life. This is because the format I'm using of personal accounts only really comes to life when it feels like the person is truly recounting their life. It is a challenge of not only stepping into their skin but being able to draw the reader in as well.

And, two points I've been struggling with are motivation and sex. The former is understanding a character's motivation and drives more fully. Cause, up to this point, I'd focused on my own story and their actions, less on WHY they've been that way. Perk of being a mercenary at heart, I don't care too much about why you do something, so long as you do it.

The latter, though, has been proving an unexpected fascination. It seems, according to some other authors of erotica, I have a flair to write for either gender's encounters adeptly. So, I'm seeking to hone and place where appropriate a more full encounter of my characters.

Regardless, during my dalliances in studying erotica I've encountered two people who made me think of that horrible quote above.

The first was a man, let's call him M. M noted that I am a peculiarity and a standout among the lustful hordes. (Which, isn't saying much.) Regardless, I talked to him and I found.....a man who had stared into the abyss and had tossed part of himself away. It was easy to pry out that his ex-wife had cancer and he spent countless nights terrified of losing her. It was in those nights he stared into the dark abyss and declared himself weak. In doing so, he threw part of himself into the abyss and now resigns himself to whatever fate brings. M lost himself to the abyss and didn't become a monster, just a lifeless shadow on the wall playing at being a human because it knows nothing else.

I must admit, I could almost pity M. Yet, his frailty is his answer to pain. And I was repulsed by this.

Second, I met a woman, J. J was fetching in the most commonly bland sense. She was buxom, she was blond and she was proud. Believing her life 'perfect', she stared into the abyss every day. Hours would tick by in her luxurious life and she felt something was wrong. Or, in J's words, "She wanted to improve upon perfection." So, she concocted a story, where a busty, blonde beauty was born with God-like powers with no limit.

I halted my tongue and stilled my fingers at this encounter. While the sin of self-insert is one I share with this woman, I felt nothing but repulsed. If a character has power without limit, then what possible plot could there be? Then, I looked and saw it was a coming of age story and felt thoroughly sickened. I politely declined her offers to read as she proudly boasted about her work.

J had stared into the abyss and saw the monsters. She just didn't recognize them as such. After all, the abyss exists in us all and in this case, J fell in love with the monsters like narcissus before her. So devoted to the bloated image of beauty she accepts no other but the selfsame as 'beautiful', urging others to embrace her opinions as the only measuring stick because her life is perfect and she believes others should follow her path.

So, I have been staring at the abyss of my soul and seen the monsters that exist within me. I've been staring at it so long that I am the monster now. That I've come to accept. Yet, I can smile softly about this. Because, for every mouthful of the abyss I swallow, I bring the darkness to light and illumination to the depths. This is my journey to self actualization and I realize that is what makes me happy. Money, power, prestige and titles mean little to me. I carry the majesty and nobility of my names. A Crownless king to a domain of one. I am the Ephemeral One. The beast of the abyss with the heart of a man. Here is what I offer for my truth so far;

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you. Though the abyss is a thankless place swarming with denizens who would devour your sense, it is also a place to refine your will. Know that you carry the torch of intelligence, candlelight wisdom and resolve like the sun."

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