It may seem like I wrote “Madhouse” to be some sort of cautionary tale, extolling the horrors of reality TV. A hit job, written to sicken the reader like some sort of psychic version of Anabuse. Built to hide in the reader’s system and make them feel nauseated the next time they tried to watch ‘The Bachelorette’ or ‘Survivor Season 25″.
But that was not my intention.
I did not write “Madhouse” to be some 144-page ’tisk tisk’ or finger wagging to the reader to make them feel guilty about indulging in something that is already considered a ‘guilty pleasure’.
I marketed “Madhouse” as having a “Mind-Blowing Twist”, and it may seem on the first read that said twist is the revelation that Rachel/Kristin is actually participating in a sadistic TV show. However, to me at least, the real mind-blowing twist comes a little while later, when we realize that Kristin not only willingly put herself in the ‘Madhouse’, but that she chooses to do it again. And not only does she do it again, but this time, she knowingly puts a newborn baby, her newborn baby, through the psychological torture of Madsen’s hypnotic fantasy world. All so that she can be watched. All, for fame.
This, was my intention.
We do it every day, don’t we? Put ourselves, and our lives, on display, for the amusement of others and the dopamine-hit inducing pleasure of KNOWING we’re being watched. To be watched, means we exist. And to be watched by MANY, gets us high.
Now, this is not to say that I have some Ted Kaczynski-esque anti-social take on the world. Social media is fine. Being watched is fine. It’s a part of life. But what’s not fine, is structuring one’s life around it. Sacrificing a normal life for it. What’s not fine is the gleam I’ve seen in people’s eyes when they unveil their lives to the world, get likes, and get verification that yes, someone is watching.
That’s why I wrote “Madhouse”. Just in the hopes that those who read it will have a thought interrupt them, mid-post, that forces them to ask the question, “Am I posting this because it’s valuable to me? Or because I wanted to be watched?”
And there is a point to be made for the watchers. Just like Rachel’s experience in the ‘Madhouse’, we cannot possibly know what’s really going on behind the photograph, or the Facebook post. Please, do not assume that someone is well and safe just because they are posting pictures of smiles and sunsets. If you truly care about someone, push past it. Interact. Check on them. Make sure that some other story isn’t going on in the background.
That’s my two cents anyway. What about you, dear reader?
Where does one cross the line between the perfectly normal and acceptable sharing of one’s life, and into the realm of addiction and voyeurism?
What is an acceptable price to pay for fame?
I do hope that you enjoyed the novella. It was a dark and disturbing ride, but to me, those are the stories that stick. There is a refreshing comedown that happens after digesting a disturbing story. It makes chaos, so that our minds can reorder, and re-evaluate what things are important in life.
Stay tuned for more releases this year. As a member of my mailing list, you’ll know first when I’ve got a new release in the works. For now, here’s a brief run down of what I have planned for this year, and the next:
– “EGO: Chronicles of the Allmind – Book One” – Dec 2017 – Epic Dystopian Sci-Fi Thriller
– “Supremacy” – Spring 2018 – Tragic Love Story & Thriller in an Alternate History World
– “NUL” Chronicles of the Allmind – Book Two” – Summer 2018 – Epic Dystopian Sci-Fi Thriller
PS: I love talking with my readers, so please comment if you’d like to continue the conversation!