Today, as a part of a publicity tour for An Angel Fallen horror novella written by a British author Andy Graham, the author himself wrote a few words just for you in his guest post here on Digging Graves blog! As Andy himself says: “Andy Graham is a British author currently living in the Czech Republic who will now stop talking about himself in the third person because it’s odd. I have two main collections of books: The Lords of Misrule is a series of dystopian political thrillers set in an alternate world based on life in 21st century EU/US. I also have an expanding collection of creepy reads that explore the darker side of life, death, and the undead. There are a few unfinished stories rattling around in my hard drive and some unstarted ones knocking around in my head. They range from disposable airport fiction and YA sci fi to grimdark epics, but they will have to wait their turn. (Unfortunately for my wife, who is waiting for me to write something “nice”, preferably with sparkly vampires.) Outside of reading and writing, I’m a musician, qualified osteopath, seasoned insomniac, and father to two young kids who have too much energy to let me grow old gracefully.”
Charming us with the description of his life and his work, Andy also gives us hints, pointing out to the darker side of his own mind, where the stories such as An Angel Fallen come to life in all their grittiness and splendour! Without further ado, here is the guest post by Andy that you’ve all been waiting so patiently to read! Enjoy!
An Angel Fallen
Our butt, gut, stomach, (pot-/beer-) belly, intestines, bowels, paunch, midriff, waistline, love handles, and entrails are an essential part of life, from a good meal to a good ****. They also form an integral part of fiction.
Hang on for a minute while I get all educational.
We all know that we have a nervous system. It allows us to think, feel, move, read, write, and so on. My take is that the nervous system is King or Queen, and everything else revolves around the brain in all its synaptic glory. (The other body systems are essential too; the brain just kicks the most butt when it comes to who we are.)
That’s old news.
But, did you know – Such a classic Friday Night Pub Bore opening line! – that we also have what is called the Enteric Nervous System (ENS)? It’s the branch of the Central Nervous System (CNS) that controls digestion and is sometimes referred to as the ‘second brain’.
The ENS is closely linked with the brain in our head, and an issue with one can affect the other. Apart from the general crappy feeling food poisoning and over-/under-/poor eating can cause, some disorders seem to have a component rooted in the gut, e.g. anxiety, mood disorders, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
If our ENS is intimately linked with mood and health, it should come as no surprise that we have countless expressions that rely on ‘gut’ words.
(to) have a visceral reaction to something
(to) feel gutted
(to) go with your gut / trust your gut / go on gut instinct
(to) feel sick/nauseous
(to) be talking out of / be lost up your arse
(to) take the p**s / talk s**t
(to) want to p**s/s**t yourself
(to) have butterflies/a knot/fire in your stomach
(to) feel sick to your stomach
(to) be bilious
(to) grind/grit/gnash/clench your teeth
(to) be yellow-bellied/lily-livered/gutless
(to) be gobsmacked/slack-jawed/toothless
Of course, we have adjectives related to food: gaunt, emaciated, bloated, skeletal, whip-thin, and so on.
I’m deliberately ignoring other body expressions, e.g. spineless, weak-kneed and any number of descriptions involving the throat, arse and genitals because we’d be here all day.
If you want a real-life example of ‘intestinal fiction’, in my novella, An Angel Fallen, we get these:
Mike’s stomach convulsed.
It sounded like a pig being gutted alive
Ariel recoiled as if she had been gut-punched.
Bile flooded up Mike’s throat in a hard-knotted lump that threatened to choke him.
The hissing surrounding them was louder now. Mike could feel it sliding through his bladder, his bowels.
The opening of Sunflower (a short story of mine) is:
The retching started somewhere south of her feet. There was nothing left to come up, but the dry-heaving wouldn’t stop. Nika doubled forwards. A trail of slime stretched from her mouth. It dropped into the frothy puddle in front of her. When her stomach finally unclenched, she sat back on her haunches.
In the same story Nika experiences ‘gut-wrenching terror’, (which she should, given what happens to her family).
Given the above examples, is it any wonder that ‘visceral’ words form such a vital part of our language? Maybe it’s due to the brain-gut connection I mentioned before, maybe it’s because of the conditioning of uncountable authors using such descriptions. But the simple matter is that our gastro-intestinal system and emotions are inextricably linked.
So, the next time you feel a flutter of something between your ribs and your pelvis, take comfort in the fact that an author somewhere will be struggling to capture that feeling and translate it into words.
Thank you all for reading and following our publicity tour of An Angel Fallen novella, thanks to Confessions Publicity for organizing everything, and thanks to Andy for his excellent “gut wrenching” guest post!
Follow Andy Graham online at http://www.andygrahamauthor.com (where you can claim a free book), twitter – @andygraham2001 and FB – andy graham author.