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Old 12-03-2015   #1
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"Welcome to All the Pleasures," by Robert C. Hardin

I'm thrilled as hell to ululate that my story "Welcome to All the Pleasures" is now live on the Sensitive Skin Magazine site. Feel free to ogle the crimson illustrations by that criminally gifted artist, Leslie Hardie​. The perfect-bound full-color issue that features the story is out as well.



(I've been asking if and where to post this sort of announcement on TLO. Mods have confirmed that such posts are welcome but haven't specified which forum to use so far.)
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Old 12-03-2015   #2
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Re: "Welcome to All the Pleasures," by Robert C. Hardin

I'm confident they're fine with you posting it here, scrypt.

Looking forward to reading your story.
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Old 12-22-2015   #3
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Re: "Welcome to All the Pleasures," by Robert C. Hardin

Props to Dr. Locrian for creating this forum. Feel free to post any thoughts you might have after reading this story.

I'm considering making it part of a trilogy of the banished (to use an informal working title). The three stories would be published together in a future collection. Each might concern people who were born negated; who are invisible in ways that damage themselves and others. The last story might be about bound twins who were never able to perceive one another directly. All each can do is mark things that the other has left in the room or world where the twins are confined. Their loneliness might make them deadlier and more suicidal over time.

The mood will be more sad than scary, as always, though my stories seem to frighten and unnerve people. But how can a character fear death when its life becomes too empty to endure? Under those circumstances, death can feel like a pariah's only shot at companionship. To become a mere thing among things; to decompose and mingle with them. To touch and be touched even if that character can't feel any of it.

Denied intimacy or even acknowledgment, you retract into yourself like a spider in peril, though the only danger is of total retraction, which soon becomes brutal negation. To trace the cuts on your body with your fingers and feel like a discarded plastic doll whose shape is defined by lines of excess left by the two halves of the mold. Hoping that when you are finally dead, something else will find you at last and play with you. That they'll get some use out of the shell that you can't feel or even inhabit because you've never felt as though you have a self.

Critics tend to categorize my stories as horror, but when I write, the emotions I feel most often are empathy, anger and grief. Last week, I wrote my mother's epitaph; it literally will be etched in marble. I felt compelled to honor her partly because she spent so much of her time alone. Perhaps that's what I want to do for my imaginary outcasts: to write their epitaphs because I've failed their counterparts in real life. To memorialize beings that otherwise would remain friendless and unknown.

Last edited by scrypt; 12-22-2015 at 09:21 AM..
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