In this podcast, Eric LaRocca talks about his brand new collection, The Trees Grew Because I Bled There.
About Eric LaRocca
Eric LaRocca is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of several works of horror and dark fiction including the viral sensation Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke.
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Author Carson Winter presents Soft Targets, a novella of new weird horror out March 22 from Tenebrous Press.
Horror on Main
A brand new horror convention coming soon. Guests include Tim Lebbon, Sarah Pinborough, and Jeff Strand.
Michael David Wilson 0:28
Welcome to This Is Horror, a podcast for readers, writers and creators. I'm Michael David Wilson, and every episode alongside my co host Bob Pastorella. We chat with the world's best writers and creatives about writing, life lessons, creativity, and much more. Now, today's guest is Eric LaRocca. We spoke to him just two episodes ago, but he is back today to talk about his brand new collection. The trees grew because I bled there, which has been published by the fantastic people at Titan books. And what we have here is around a two hour discussion where we go into each other's stories. Now the first half, we recorded with my co host, Bob Pastorella. And the second hour or so starting with the titular the trees grew. It's just me and Eric. So before we get into that, let's have a quick advert break. Hey, horror fiends.
Tim Lebbon 1:35
It's Tim LePen here from the UK. I'm delighted to be an author guest horror on Main. I really hope you can join us there. It's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be scary. There's gonna be lots of books for sale. Oh, it's going to be glorious. So I hope really hope to see you there. I'm looking forward to it so much. be scary. Keep reading VC
for on Main, a new weekend convention for the horror community. We've been going to conventions for over 20 years and are changing up the little things to make the big picture amazing. Join us Memorial Day weekend 2023 in Hunt Valley, Maryland, come to the block party and meet the new neighbors. See horror on main.com. For details.
Bob Pastorella 2:18
Arthur Carson winter presents soft targets and develop new word heart out March 22. From tenebrous press, a pair of Office drugs discover a loophole in time that makes some days less real than others, allowing them to act on their darkest impulses without fear of reprisal. Their morals become more slippery and their fantasies more violent. And soon they have to decide what line they won't cross soft targets into timely reality bending novella about the easy surrender to violence in the addictive appeal of tragedy is entertainment. More information at tinnitus press.com.
Michael David Wilson 2:49
Okay, well with that said, here it is it is Eric LaRocca on This Is Horror. Eric, welcome back to This Is Horror, as opposed to last time where it had been a year it has been about a week this time. But we wanted to do the second part and really go deep in terms of the forthcoming collection. The trees grew because I bled there.
Eric LaRocca 3:20
Yes, I'm so excited next week is release week. Well, depending on when this episode airs it might Reese release, like in conjunction with it. But the book comes out March 7, and I'm just so excited to talk to you both about it. This collection means like a lot to me. As you might know, it was originally published in 2021. As the strange thing, we become another dark tales. And it is now being reprinted by Titan books under the new title. The trees grew because I bled there. And it has a fabulous introduction by Chuck Wendig, who is such a fabulous writer and just a really like decent guy. And I'm just so honored that he wrote such a lovely intro for the book. So yeah, I'm just really looking forward to this chat.
Michael David Wilson 4:12
Yeah, and I mean, when we initially spoke a year or so ago, I remember we did speak a little bit about you know, you getting the rights back from Off Limits press and then getting the deal with Titan. But I'm wondering if what if any kind of changes have been made to the stories because they know to to in your acknowledgments you talk about how your editor at Titan has been instrumental just in terms of your career and in terms of your stories. So I'm wondering, because this has already gone out and had already been edited. Are there many changes to the Got your stories within this collection, or was that more a reference to, you know, her editorial expertise in general,
Eric LaRocca 5:08
um, it was definitely more of a reference to just her guidance and her just loveliness as a person. And as an editor, you know, when you find an editor who really believes in your writing and believes in your work, and it's so rare to find that, especially like in, you know, in this business, when you find that person, you really want to just like hold on to them and not let them go. Because they're the ones that are championing your work at the the acquisitions meetings, they're the ones that are, you know, telling their other fellow editors, this is why we need to publish these books. This is why Eric is, you know, a force to be reckoned with and horror, you know, she's out there, you know, trying to convince Titan to pick up more books for me, which is so, so special to me. So it means so much. And, you know, her and I have such a fabulous relationship. Not only just like, professionally, but just like the way in which she edits like I think I mentioned this in the last episode, but she's very, like kind and thoughtful with her edits and asks a lot of questions, which I really respond well to, because I'm kind of a sensitive person, when it comes to receiving edits. I, I've received edits before from different editors, and you know, they're fabulous editors, they're great editors, but, you know, it's all in the delivery. And, you know, I can be sensitive, so I'll receive edits, and I'll be like, Oh, my God, what am I thinking like, this book is terrible, like, nobody's gonna want to read this. But with Taff, that never happens, like, you know, her edits are just so meticulous, but so thoughtful. But just to go back to really answering your question about what's different with this edition, compared to the Off Limits press edition, I would say that this this book, I mean, it was pretty thoroughly edited the first time it was released in September 2021. You know, we went through a really phenomenal copy editor, developmental editor, there were, of course, things that we missed the first time that we caught in this new Titan edition, just very tiny, minut details that, you know, changing, maybe changing someone's age or changing the location of something just a reference of something very, very quickly. But otherwise, the the book was pretty much good to go wasn't a very, like arduous edit editing process, thankfully, because it was edited. So well, in the off limits press version, you know, I was able to kind of just send the manuscript to Titan. And, you know, Kathe, and I went back and forth a little bit, which is very small, small changes. But the book, the the main difference is, like I mentioned, the introduction from Chuck, Chuck Wendig, who penned a really thoughtful, really kind examination of my work. And you know, who I am, as a writer, he mentioned, things have gotten worse, and kind of goes into my voice as an author and how I've, you know, developed so develop like a following in such a rapid amount of time, which is crazy to think about. But ya know, the, the new edition, I feel really proud of this book. And these stories are really, really special to me, because I was writing them essentially, pre pandemic, and also like, during pandemic, so, I was, I was, initially when I was writing some of these stories, I was like, falling in love for the first time with my boyfriend, who's, you know, I'm still with today. And just discovering myself through love and through being loved. And that's why a lot of the stories in this collection revolve around just human relationships and how we care for one another and how we typically hurt the people that we love. The most, the people who really care about us end up hurting us quite a bit. At least, that's just my experience. But, ya know, I mean, this collection was written probably over the course of a year or two, just collecting different pieces. And I wasn't at the time, thinking, Oh, I'm going to, you know, collect all of these pieces and put them together in a collection. I was just kind of writing them at random. And what happens is, at least for me and my own process, when I'm writing short stories kind of quite randomly the themes that I'm exploring kind of bleed into one another, and they kind of interconnect in a really weird way. And I find that the pieces fit together like a puzzle that I didn't know I was creating, which is really, really special. And I hope that readers appreciate that while they're reading the stories, I hope that that's evident. Because I, you know, there are times that I've created collections where, you know, okay, I want these pieces I want to write specifically, under this theme. I want to write these stories. And I want to contain them all together. This was a little bit more haphazard with how I approached it. But I, I feel like it worked in a really weird way. And the way it just like all kind of came together, at least I hope it did.
Michael David Wilson 10:54
It really did. And I always find it funny, surreal, difficult to believe that in some ways, this was haphazardly put together, because for me, it feels so meticulously curated, and one of the best sequenced collections I have ever read. I mean, there's so much in Yeah, there's so much in terms of the the rhythm and the pacing. And I mean, the, the opener, you follow wherever they go, and then you know that the finale, please leave or I'm going to hurt you that they have so much in common in terms of the kind of parental relationships and that just, they just work to open and to close it. And, I mean, it really did remind me almost of, of an album in the fact that you know, you start with you follow wherever they go, it is poignant. It is sad, it is about love and loss, but it is quite understated. And then, you know, you follow up with here is the hit single here is bodies over burning, where you're absolutely pummeled with a hammer to the face. And that that was just such a kind of perfect combination. And you get you just see this through our books. I mean, the pacing, couldn't have been, it couldn't have been better. And then you need to in the second half, that there's a number of stories where it's just like, bam, bam, bam, bam, you're hitting us with them. And until we get to yet this kind of melancholic finale again. Yeah, I think we've both I'll be gone by then. And please leave or I'm going to hurt you. It's like, okay, we're winding down. So you're not gonna leave us so amped up. Oh, my God, I don't know what to do at this point. But it is perfect. Eric, it's so well sequenced. It really is. So you know, you and, and the team should be so proud of this. It's such a good collection. Sorry, I'm making you emotional.
Eric LaRocca 13:32
No, that really means a lot because like, this is one of I mean, I hate to, I hate to say this, but like, I feel like writers should be a fan of their work, you know what I mean? Like, I feel like writers should, they should stand behind what they write, right? They should, you know, be proud of what they put out into the world. And I am, you know, I'm not trying to sound conceited, or, like overblowing this in any way, but like, I'm quite proud of this book. Like, I, I feel like it really represents a lot of good, a lot of what I'm capable of doing as a writer, and I feel, I feel like it shows readers a taste of my interests, my influences, but also kind of showcases where I'd like to go as an author, you know, I mean, it's very purposeful, the way it's, it's structured, I mean, the book like I said, was kind of haphazardly done, but then when I sat down and like kind of plotted everything out and you know, collected the stories and arrange them in the way I wanted to have them arranged. It was very thoughtful and in that you start with something really somber like you follow wherever they go and then you're immediately just pushed into bodies are for burning, which is such an assault. It's such a like, like you said like a hammer to your face. Yeah. Which I love. I love stuff like that. Like I love fiction that surprised So as you and that just like, you just, you're almost like afraid of the author in a way because you're like, What is this author going to do to me while I'm reading this book, you know, like that, I frickin love that, like, I love when an author is able to do that. So I tried to kind of replicate that with this book, but then, you know, we kind of keep the adrenaline going with. Well, actually, the next story, I think the next story is like the strange thing we become, which is a little bit you know, it's the somber, it's, it's also very melancholic. And, you know, we kind of there are some peaks and valleys in this collection. And then, you know, we go into like the high adrenaline pieces, like, you're not supposed to be here and we're flames burned emerald is grass, like those kind of thriller esque stories. And then we kind of go back into the the somber, like moody type pieces. But, ya know, I mean, this, this collection, I feel like represents, like I said, a lot of what I'm capable of doing with dark fiction, I wouldn't classify all of it as just outright horror. You know, I think it straddles the line between like literary just dark fiction and horror. And it's purposeful in the way it ends with please leave, I'm going to hurt you, which is horrifying in what it analyzes and what it dissects, but it's not traditional horror. And I see myself kind of veering in that direction, a little bit more, I have a novel that's coming out with Titan in 2024, which is called each living thing is here to suffer. And that book is very, it's very much the same kind of tone as please leave, I'm going to hurt you and that it's horrifying what it's talking about. But it's more like a dark drama unfolding for us to, you know, for us to kind of savor and enjoy. But just hearing you, you know, talk about the collection and react so positively to it. Like it really, it means a lot to me, because I'm such a student of short story collections, you know, like I was, I was a voracious reader still am obviously but you know, like, Clive Barker's the books of blood is just a huge influence for me. I was definitely thinking of that, while I was working on these stories, I think of writers like Gemma files, who is like one of the best short story writers of all time. David dem, Chuck, who writes incredible short stories, Kelly link, another one who writes just phenomenal fiction, short fiction. I mean, I can just list off names, but I feel like short fiction collections don't get, they don't get the attention that like novels too. And I, I suspect it has something to do with the fact that maybe not all readers, like reading short stories, I think people like to maybe invest in something they think is more like worthwhile, like, you know, where the whole world is kind of built for you. And you can go in and explore and spend as much time with these characters as you want. But, I mean, I come from the world of like playwriting with like 10 minute plays, and like what plays and that's where I really started my love of writing. And I feel like that informs a lot of my love of like, short fiction, you know, so. But yeah, just, I mean, just, that's a long way of just thanking you for your very kind words about about the book, because it really does mean a lot to me. And it means a lot to me that Titan is putting this out again,
Bob Pastorella 18:55
every everything, the way you're talking about. And when Michael said it, it reminded him of an album. It's like it really hit home for me, because it actually does. It's like it's one of those, it's like that album that like every song is a banger. You know what I mean? And there's very few albums that can ever do that. And there's very few short stories that can do that. But one of the things that, you know, if you're going to say, hey, you know, I'm looking for a type of collect short story collection about people that are basically doing shitty things to one another. Then I would say, you know, you definitely check this out, but it's much more than that. It's like you had this ability to like with internal thoughts, you go there. And so many writers would take that and go out to the extreme. And what I saw was a massive sense of maturity and restraint. And that's really hard to pull off to where we When you restrain that, it allows you and allows the characters to to present an emotional, you know, roller coaster for you. And when you're reading that you actually experienced that and you don't you don't see that very often. I mean prime example, you know, body to burn, it's, it's, there's so many internal thoughts every buddy in the world has these damn thoughts in their head, right? Like what man? What if I did this? What if what if this happened, you know, and I'm definitely not trying to spoil anything, but you take it to its inevitable and horrifying conclusion. And I still didn't see it comment. It was like most Shit What the hell is gonna go on? And it's like, because you're so emotionally invested in this character, because it's so relatable. And I mean, I gotta say, Man, that's that's that's an incredible restraint Bravo on that, because anytime that especially anything that deals with fire, I've tried to written write my own story about an arsonist years ago. And I had the same thing and you knocked it out of the park. I mean, it was just an even though your story is not about that. It deals with fire. And it's like, you know, shit, I'll never be able to do that. So that's kudos for that man. That was that. The part
Eric LaRocca 21:26
that oh my gosh, that really like, oh, that brings a tear to my eye, like, thank you so much. That really means a lot. And that story means a lot to me. Um, you know, if I could just like, I don't want to do TMI, but like, I feel like I should explain where that story came from, if that's okay. Yeah, so, prior to the pandemic happening, I was in a really dark mental place. And in, I believe, 2019 or 2020, I forget, I was diagnosed with OCD, and, you know, intrusive thoughts, especially. And I was, I was suffering from them for quite some time before I eventually sought help and, you know, tried to, you know, get back on the, you know, the path that I originally was on with, you know, mental health and therapy, and all of those things, but it was a very scary, it was a very frightening time for me, going through that. And just kind of, for the first time, I was really like, afraid of myself, I was afraid of these thoughts, the whole world around me. It's, it just felt like I was living in like a permanent nightmare. And I couldn't escape it. Like, every every, every person around me seemed like a possible threat. Every just everything was an issue for me, you know. And, and it was really, really frightening. And I eventually, you know, spoke with a therapist and was able to get the medication that I needed. And two, three years later now, like I am a lot better than I was. But it was very scary when I when it first developed, because I had never really had those intrusive fantasies and thoughts before and I was like, what, what the hell is wrong with me like what is going on in my mind, and I was just obsessing over things. And thankfully, I was able to work with a really phenomenal therapist. At the time, I was living in New Hampshire with my parents. And I was able to get the help I needed. But it wasn't until maybe a year later. So I think I think it was like started the pandemic maybe like a month before the pandemic began when I was living in Cambridge with my boyfriend. And I just started writing the story about this woman who suffers from intrusive thoughts, and she's tasked with taking care of an infant her her sister's, her sister's baby. And I really appreciate that you said that there was so much restraint in the story from going to the extremity that I could have gone. And I hope I think that's because like I obviously really identified with the protagonist, I had been in her shoes. I knew what she was thinking I really cared about her and I really sympathize with her. It was a difficult story to write. But coming out on the other side it was so hugely cathartic For me to write that piece and not give her a happy ending, I know that the temptation might have been to assign her a really, you know, maybe, maybe not like a really happy ending, but maybe she ends up like in like a limbo sort of state where it's neither good nor bad. But I, I'm of the mindset like when I, when I read books, when I watch films, I don't need to be. I don't need to be placated with some sort of, you know, false fantasy of like, everything's going to be okay. I prefer this is just me speaking. Like, I prefer to see fiction that's bleak. And I prefer to read fiction that's dark, see films that are dark, that are nihilistic, where, you know, the life has no meaning stuff like that, like I find comfort in that for some inexplicable reason. And I wanted to approach that story bodies are for burning with that same level of like bleakness. You know, because when I was going through those really hard times, like, I didn't know if everything was going to be okay. And a lot of the time, like, it didn't seem like it was going to be. And I think it was a more honest ending. To end on that note, if it's okay to get like in spoiler territory, I don't care. You know, I just, that's how I wanted to kind of treat the piece. And, you know, it's one of it's one of my favorite pieces I've written and it was just so cathartic to write. And I'm really glad that it's resonated with with so many people.
Michael David Wilson 26:49
Yeah, I mean, this one is, in my top three of the collection. And, I mean, it's almost impossible for me to say like, oh, this is number one. Because that oh, so well done. But I mean, this, this story, like it, it genuinely made me uncomfortable throughout. And I mean, even when, when I read, you know, the title bodies are for burning, and I'm always making notes when I'm reading and I just wrote, is this a threat or a promise, you know, that was the initial kind of reaction to that, that statement? But, I mean, I very rarely feel as uncomfortable as I did. You know, reading that one. I think the last time I felt that uncomfortable was when I was reading the girl next door by Jack Ketchum, which is one of my favorite novels of all time.
Eric LaRocca 27:54
And that's high praise. I love that book.
Michael David Wilson 27:56
It's so so good. Now, I'm aware too that particularly since becoming a parent, any kind of violence to to children or threat to children is something where I become incredibly anxious so that there was so much within this in the I mean, if you look at it, it wasn't it wasn't necessarily what happened on the page that made me feel uncomfortable, but it was what could happen. And I guess that is the whole point of intrusive thoughts you know, you're being invaded is not what happens within reality, but it's just that possibility. So I thought I was so tense that they were you know, that there was a point where I was like, I don't know. I don't know if I should keep reading. I don't know if this is good for me. I don't know if if this is going to make me ill you know, I don't Am I gonna have a moment like the people who reacted to guts by Chuck Poehler, Nick and the live reading? Is something bad gonna happen, but it's like, slight No, come on. Mike, are you you're a horror writer, you're a horror reader. You're part of this is how you keep breathing. You keep going. I'm so glad you know that they did.
Eric LaRocca 29:33
I love that. It's, it was almost like an endurance test for you.
Michael David Wilson 29:36
It really really was and I mean, I think we're not going to talk about the specifics of the ending. I mean, we've skirted around it I want people to to read this to experience for themselves, but this is a weird comment, but I just feel like it was it was the right ending like of older possibilities of all the directions you could go in like, this was the perfect way to end it, as you say, with with your stories, there's no guarantee that it's gonna be feel good. But this was the way to end that story. So, again, hats off to you.
Eric LaRocca 30:20
I appreciate that. Thank you. I feel like, you know, there's an there's an inevitability in that story, where it's like, you're rolling along, and you reach a point where you're past the point of no return. And things are just, I mean, that's like a lot of my stories. It's certainly like, things have gotten worse since we last spoke, where, you know, the tension just gets ratcheted up again and again and again, until, you know, just something awful truly happens. And that that's the kind of horror fiction that I just love to read. I mean, it's, it's like you said, the girl next door by Jack Ketchum. I mean, that book is a perfect, it's a perfect ex escalation of violence. Just in how how that unfortunate situation unfolds for us over the course book. So I sincerely you know, I appreciate the comparison because Ketchum is a master to me.
Michael David Wilson 31:26
Yes. Yeah. Absolutely. And, I mean, I love to, as well like the realism in you know, with bodies for burning, there are so many moments where Haley is, she's like crying for help. She's doing it in these subtle ways, but nobody can see, nobody is noticing. And I can only imagine because, you know, I haven't experienced intrusive thoughts to that degree. It This must be what it's like. So you're, you're enabling us to get inside that, that headspace awesome to see this? Yeah.
Eric LaRocca 32:09
I mean, that's, that's what it felt like for me. I mean, it wasn't to that extreme, where, like, I felt like I was reaching out to people, and I wasn't getting the help I needed. That's not my experience. I think I wrote it that way, just to create more conflict and create more drama. But in my own experience, I can definitely say, like I said, like, It was horrifying. And it things just seemed so bleak, in that I would wake up every morning. And I would think to myself, is this what my life is going to be like, for the rest of my life thinking, these thoughts and suffering from these like obsessions, and not being able to differentiate between what's going on in my head and then like, reality, you know, it's, it was really, really uncomfortable to live like that until I eventually got the, the attention, the help that I needed. But I mean, it was bad in the point that I mean, I had to go to the emergency room one evening, because it was so debilitating, it was awful. And I've never really shared that publicly. But I want folks to know, like, I don't appreciate I don't, I don't approach this subject lightly. I come at it with a lot of a lot of trauma and a lot of experience with these thoughts. And this situation. And this story is deeply personal to me. So I mean, people are going to react to it, however they react to it. But hopefully, they'll they'll give this episode a listen and realize that it does come from a place of sincerity in me.
Michael David Wilson 33:58
Yeah, and of course, I mean, you said that it was a very difficult one to write. And you also said that by the time you'd finished it had been a very cathartic experience. But I'm wondering, I mean, given that this is so deeply personal to you, was there a reluctance to write it? And in terms of the actual approach, when you were writing did you have to get yourself in perhaps a mental state that might be different to your other work? Did you have to safeguard yourself and put like things in place to make sure that you are safe and that you are okay, because you can tell from the reading just how much energy you know. I mean, we talk about like, kind of, you know, the trees grew because I bled that you were bleeding onto the page, you know, So much that you had to put into this.
Eric LaRocca 35:03
Yeah. That's a great question. And I'll tell you, when I was writing it, I was afraid there was a part of my brain that was afraid that by exploring the subject and analyzing it, dissecting it further, I would conjure those bad thoughts again. And it would debilitate me again. You know, luckily, I had been working at the time, like with a great therapist, and I was, you know, on working with medication. And that didn't happen, thankfully. So, I definitely had to put myself in the right headspace to approach this story and work on it, and make sure that I was comfortable with what I was talking about. And, you know, I, I never want, I think, good art comes from like pushing yourself and pushing your boundaries, obviously. But you don't want to push yourself to the point where you do like irreversible harm to your psyche, or you know, it, that's just, it's not healthy. But I will tell you, there was, I didn't necessarily have like huge reservations while writing the piece. I felt like it was a fairly smooth process, given that it was like so personal and I knew intimately what I was writing about, and how I wanted to portray this character. But that all said, I reached a point when I was curating this collection to send originally to Off Limits press. There was a point when I thought to myself, Should I even include this in the collection? You know, I it wasn't, it wasn't published previously, like, the first time it was published, it was in the collection, the strange thing, we become another dark tales. So I really wrestled with myself over this and, and thought, do I put this out there? Do I put this story out for people to love, hate whatever. And I forget exactly how it came about. But I just, I think I just decided at the end of the day, you know, this piece is written, and I'm proud of it. And I stand behind it. And I just decided to to include it in my in my submission, but there definitely was, there was huge hesitation on my part, to include it in the in the collection. And there was a long, a pretty decent, pretty long period of time, where I thought after I had written it, I thought, that's a story that I'll just keep for me. Like, I won't put it out anywhere, I'll just keep it for me, it'll be like my personal little story that I can reread and maybe share with some of my close friends, but I don't necessarily need to put it out to the public. And I actually have a few pieces like that, like over the past year, past few years, like I have, I have a novella that I wrote last summer, and I don't think I'll ever publish it. I think I'll just keep it like in on my hard drive. Like, I don't think I'll ever publish it. And it's not because it's not, it's not because I think it's not up to my level of quality of work. It's because I don't I just don't feel the need to share it. You know, I feel like it's it belongs to me in such a way that's so personal. And the minute you release something for people to you know, read, criticize what have you, it becomes something else. I don't want to say it becomes tainted. It doesn't because that's part of the business like people need to be able to read and criticize work that we put out that's that's just the business. But there there's definitely a piece that I have, like just on my hard drive that I I I just don't think I'll ever really put it out and I just I don't care too, you know, but this this piece bodies are for burning. It felt more cathartic to put it out so that people could read it because I thought, well, maybe someone else who is afflicted with the same things like maybe they'll appreciate it. Maybe it'll resonate with them. And, and that's kind of how it how it came to be. But it's funny, like how we decide what we want to put out and what we don't want to put out. It's, yeah, it's like a fine line between what we put out and what we keep for ourselves. Because, you know, I feel like now like, we share so much of our lives, like on social media, and I'm very active on social media, and I love being active on social media. But there are some things that I just want to keep for myself, and just like for my boyfriend, and for my very, very close friends and family, you know?
Michael David Wilson 40:45
Yeah, yeah. And I wonder cuz you said there was reluctance as to whether to include this one. And it occurred to me, as you were saying this, I mean, in terms of the stories that you submitted to off limits, why are they the stories that we see or where that extra ones that you decided, or your editors decided, for whatever reason to cut, you
Eric LaRocca 41:14
know, the eight stories that are in the collection that are that are being published that were published with off limits, and now being published with Titan. They were the only eight stories that I that I submitted. And I know it's short for a short story collection is only like 45,000 words. So it's a very tiny slim volume, but I think it packs a punch. I think it packs up pretty fierce punch. And, you know, I like I'm, I'm cool with brevity. Like I don't like things that overstay their welcome. I like getting into a story, you know, exploring spending time with the characters and then getting out, you know, I don't need to spend like a lot of extended periods of time with with characters. I mean, I love like epics, I love books, like the stand and you know, Michael McDowell of Blackwater series, like, I love books like that. But I have to be like, in the right headspace to just approach books like that, you know, I'm just more more inclined to appreciate shorter works of fiction and like, novella length work. But you know, as far as, you know, publishing the book, the the pieces, the stories that are collected, I submitted them to off limits in the order in which they were subsequently published, you know, I made sure I went through. Because there was such a, there's such a pressure on the author to really be thoughtful about how you present the collection to readers and make sure that it feels like that album that you're talking about. You want the pieces to like, speak to one another. You want the stories to interconnect in a way but also not be like too redundant. You don't want them to be like two derivative of one another. So I sat with the collection for like, a week or so before I submitted it, and really thought about how I wanted to structure the book and which stories I put in the collection, because there were definitely there were other stories I could have put in the collection. But at the time, I just decided, okay, I want these specific eight stories. And I think I think it worked out I think, I mean, who knows, there might be like a trees group because I bled their volume to like, down the road. But
Michael David Wilson 44:05
yeah, and that, you know, I'd rather for both my own writing and firm, whatever I'm reading, I'd rather someone go with brevity. And you know, they make sure that the stories that will count rather than putting things in potentially to pad it out or as filler, it's like that. That's not what I want. It's like I'd much rather have let's say 45,000 Words, where I'm just blown away, then have a 90,000 word collection where I feel like well, this was the high note but this one, you know, I could have done without and I mean, it is a difficult one, I guess what as you're putting your collection together and like I mean, at the moment, I certainly have enough short stories that I could do Have a collection out. But, you know, if I'm to do that, then I want them to sing I want it to be the right collection and for them to all go together. So, yeah.
Eric LaRocca 45:14
I mean, yeah, yeah. No, I mean, I would much like you said, like, I would rather read a collection that is slim and concise. And the like, I'm reading hit after hit after hit, then read a book that has like, all this filler, all this unnecessary fluff. And in my, in my experience books like that, like, you end up liking maybe, you know, a third of what you read. And the rest of it, you're not like really impressed with and we saw like, Okay, that was a maybe that was like a three star book that was like, which isn't bad, like three stars is fine. But obviously we all want, we all want five star. And, you know, we want, we want we want to be remembered we want our work to resonate with people and just going back to your out and you're mentioning of like, an album, like a musical album. Like I obviously like love music. I don't know if either of you are like fans of Lady Gaga, I'm going to be kicked out for a minute. Like I love Lady Gaga, or one of her best. Her best album is the fame monster. And it is eight songs. It's only eight songs. And I thought of that album while you know putting this collection together. And that's why I kind of landed on eight stories because every song on that album is just like a it's just a hit. I mean, you have like Bad Romance, you have telephone you have Alejandra like the her biggest hits are on that album. And I just I wanted. I wanted to create something like iconic and I wanted to create something that wasn't didn't have any filler. And just like was hit after hit after hit. And hopefully I've I've created that. But I don't know how many horror fans are also fans of Lady Gaga, but maybe someone can identify.
Michael David Wilson 47:27
I actually think based on previous conversations I've had with people more friends than you might think. And actually, I mean, in terms of Lady Gaga, she does have this almost like Hora ascetic in terms of like stylistically different things that she will do and experiment with. I mean, she she's an innovator, and she's doing interesting things. So I think that people, even if, you know, her music might not be what they necessarily normally respond to. I think a lot of people will appreciate Lady Gaga from an artistic sense and to see, okay, this isn't someone who kind of fits the mold, or is going along with things to be commercial or to sell out. I mean, Lady Gaga did the opposite. It's like, if there's something you want her to do, then she's probably just gonna deliberately do the opposite. So
Eric LaRocca 48:32
yeah, I can relate to that. Definitely.
Michael David Wilson 48:36
Yeah. People can tweet us that this is how are you know, are you someone who's got some love for Lady Gaga? Do you dislike Lady Gaga weigh in with your thoughts? But talking about hips, we come to the strange thing we become. And so this is, of course, the near stylistically. So things have gotten worse since we last spoke. So yeah, I mean, I'm sure as you were writing it, or as you were including it as I'm not sure what the order was that you wrote both of those stories, but you you probably knew that even if subject matter is very different that people would make a comparison. So I'm wondering in terms of revisiting that form was their reluctance was their excitement? What was the mindset?
Eric LaRocca 49:40
So that story is it's very, obviously very special to me, but I wrote that piece before I wrote things have gotten since we last spoke. I wrote the strange thing we become like a year before I wrote and things have gotten worse and at the time Um, I was really enamored with still am, but like, you know, books like House of Leaves, and trying to think of other like mixed, like the epistolary kind of storytelling and just like unconventional ways of telling stories, but I wanted to approach a story with basically, I had this idea of a cancer patient, or someone who's terminally ill, who decides to essentially do like a type of ritual, let's just say that because I don't want to give too much away in her final months toward, you know, eventually passing away, and I wanted to have it be very voyeuristic in the sense that we are reading, we feeling we're reading something that we're not supposed to be reading, and that is at the heart of the strange thing we become. And that's at the heart of things have gotten worse since we last spoke. Anytime that I want to really. I feel like I feel like that kind of storytelling, epistolary type storytelling, yes, so unnerving. It's so uncomfortable when you read it, because no matter what, no matter what you're talking about, because you're reading, like, the most intimate, like personal details of someone, someone's life that presumably like they didn't intend to share, I mean, in the strange thing we become, it's set in like a message board. So she was posting it for people to read. But it feels it still feels very voyeuristic in that we're reading something that is there's just something off about it. And it's uncomfortable, and but it's also like, really captivating. Like, we can't stop reading. And I've had, obviously, so many reviewers compare, things have gotten worse to the strange thing we become and, and a lot of a lot of folks say that, you know, like, if you're a fan of things have gotten worse, like you'll enjoy the strange thing we become, it's obviously very different. It's not as like graphic as things have gotten worse. But um, you know, I, I'm trying to think like, when I was in that headspace, I think I just, I had this idea for so long, and I was struggling with a way to present it effectively. And it really wasn't until I realized that I needed to present it as like, message boards. And like first first person, like, you know, right, like writings ripped from, like a Reddit thread that I was like, Okay, this is how the story like this feels organic. To me. This feels like something that someone who's in the process of trying to understand their grief, this feels like, right, like, it feels like something someone might do if they had a loved one, and they were trying to connect with other people. And, you know, a lot of people go online to connect with others, you know, especially, it felt especially apt during the pandemic, because we were all in our houses, and we were all just online permanently. At least I know I was. So that's, that's kind of where the root of that that story. That story takes place. And you know, I remember workshopping it, I workshopped it at like, a writer's group that one of my friends invited me to in Boston. And the reactions from the group were so all over the spectrum with this is phenomenal. Everything from this is phenomenal. Like this made me so uncomfortable to I don't understand this, like I don't get it, you know, and that, let me know. I mean, that's basically the same reactions, I got to things have gotten worse since we last spoke. I like verbatim, the same reactions. And I think that really excited me and kind of queued me into realizing I had something unique here. Because the worst thing that can happen to any author is like you release something and just people are indifferent to it. You know, they have like no reaction. They don't love it. They don't hate it. They're just kind of in the middle. But when you have Have people reacting to something on both sides of the spectrum, you have people who are just like trolling you and saying how much you suck how terrible of a writer you are. And then you have people who are saying like, This is amazing. Like, let's, let's give you reward, like, let's do this, like, you know, all of you when you have that, like, it's like very polarizing. That's the word like it's when you're that polarizing. Like there's something to be said about the discussion that follows. Anything like that, you know, any work that produces that kind of reaction. And that's the kind of work that I have always been drawn to. I've always been drawn to films that are, like, despised or loved. Like one of my favorite films is the baby of makan. I don't know if you've heard of, of that film, but it's by Peter Greenaway. And it's a it's like one of my favorite films. It's like one of the best films I've ever seen. It's like a film that just is so perfect and vile and awful, but it's just also beautiful. And it made me fall in love with films again. But people hate that film people like despise it. They think it's like point A Peter Greenaway is like, worst films that he's ever done. But it's so polarizing. Another film like that is mother by Darren Aronofsky.
Michael David Wilson 56:34
That was literally what I wish didn't get off. Yeah. Yeah.
Eric LaRocca 56:39
You know, people hate that movie. It got I think, like a, like a D or an F rating on like, some film site, some like, very prestigious film site. But it's one of my favorite movies. And like, you know, that I, I think work like that. If you can, if you can put up with the hate and the trolling, which I'm learning how to deal with. If you can put up with that. You know, it's it's important to have work like that. That is super polarizing.
Michael David Wilson 57:13
Yes. Yes. Well, let's talk about the title piece, the trees grew because I bled there. And I mean, why did you decide to rebrand the collection with this one as the title piece?
Eric LaRocca 57:34
That's, that's a great question. I, I felt like the first publication of this book, The strange thing, we become another dark tales. It was a matter of personal choices, and also just a matter of the title sounding a little bit like Stranger Things. And when people would reference the title, they they would, they would, like quoted incorrectly, they would call it like the Stranger Things we become or, you know, like they wouldn't, they wouldn't like say the title correctly. So that was a big reason as to why I changed the title. But also, I felt like this story really anchors the collection in a lot of ways because it really is the heart and soul of what these all of these stories are about in that they're about human relationships fraught with suffering with betrayal, with you know, hurting one another. I feel like this story really exemplifies what I'm trying to get across with my fiction, and that I just love exploring the worst things that human beings can do to one another, like the worst things possible that we can inflict upon each other. And this this story, in particular, actually, if I'm remembering correctly, I think this was actually the very first story I wrote out of all of these collected tales, the eight stories in this collection, and it's really it's really unique how the story came to be. It's actually I wrote it out as a play first before I wrote it as a as a short story. I wrote it as a play the very first draft first incarnation of this idea where you have a person who is literally giving pieces of her body to her lover. That the first time I wrote this piece was a script for a 10 minute play. And I remember the I think the title for for this particular play was like something awful like I think I called it like starfish or something. because in the play in the play, she refers to herself, as, you know, wishing that she could be a starfish and like regrow parts of herself that she gives away. And then I started workshopping it with a small theater group in Boston. And I kind of let go of the more like, aquatic imagery that I was, you know, putting into this piece. And I just, I came into thinking about like nature and about specifically about, like trees regrowing limbs. And that seemed just more striking more like, visually compelling than, you know, like them like a starfish. I mean, a starfish, though, would have been apt, and still would have been, like, you know, irrelevant to what I was trying to say. But I just felt like trees, and, you know, exploring them and, you know, linking them to this poor woman and like how she's literally giving parts of herself away, I felt it was just a much stronger connection. And I, you know, how I said yesterday, how I workshop, the strange thing we become in a, in a writers group in Boston, I workshop, this play in a writers group in Boston, and the same exact reactions happened in this workshop where I had the whole spectrum of responses, I had people who absolutely loved it, who thought it was like, you know, really unsettling, really disturbing, really heartfelt, very tender, and then I thought, and then I had people receive it, who thought it was, you know, virtuous, and just, you know, ridiculous, all of all of those, you know, negative things. And it was really eye opening for me, because in, in a lot of ways, it was my first time really opening myself up to that kind of criticism in being in the room with that kind of criticism. You know, I had, I had received criticism, previously, just, you know, online, and through, you know, small reviews with short stories that I had published. But, you know, this was my first real instance of being in the room with people who, you know, didn't particularly care for what I have written. So it was, it was a really unique experience. And I obviously took a lot of the feedback that both sides gave. But as I was, you know, drafting the the next draft of this play, I thought that the characters, the way in which I'm trying to present them, it seems more like there's more of an opportunity for some internal dialogue that you really can't show on a stage. And I felt like this particular piece would really benefit from, you know, internal examinations, thoughts from the the main character, and you know, what she's going through what she's thinking about, while she's, you know, literally giving parts of herself away to her, her lover. And it occurred to me, you know, try, I just thought one day, you know, maybe I should really explore this as a short story. And I started working on it as a short, short piece of fiction, and I thought it was a lot stronger. I thought it was definitely more powerful. You know, I sent it to a few friends got their advice, and they felt they felt similarly, they had read the play as well. And, yeah, that's, that's basically the birth of this particular story. It was, you know, I, if I remember correctly, it was I think it was the first piece I had written for this collection. And like I said, yesterday, the collection was kind of assembled haphazardly. But I always knew that this piece, even when it was titled The strange thing, we become another dark tales. I did feel like this piece was an anchor for the collection, in that it really was really brutal. And really, just it It talked about everything I wanted to talk about in this collection, just in these few short pages.
Michael David Wilson 1:04:53
Yeah, and I think, too, I mean, talking about your experience and having this kind of same A public critique of it. I mean, that meant that you were essentially bleeding. And you know, you had your own question, well, how much are you willing to give, you know, for this art and for your art? And I mean, I wonder, what was it like having that as your first experience? How did you deal with it? I mean, it's quite a rude awakening, in a sense, any sort of criticism we get, but particularly that first time, and particularly having a room full of people, it's like, oh, you know, at least if you're reading a review, you can click it away, but you just can't click people away in real life.
Eric LaRocca 1:05:46
Yeah, it was really frightening in a lot of ways, because I had never, I had, if I had done any work shopping, before, the workshop was always I don't want to, I don't want to give the impression that this particular workshop that I went to, for this play was like rude or crass in any way. But I found the folks there were like more honest, and more unfiltered. And previous workshops, I had been to the everything was kind of soften. And in a lot of ways, maybe that wasn't as helpful for me, because why I'm quite sensitive. And I do need that gentle hand guiding me, you know, I do need, I do need some folks to tell me, you know, this is not working for me, we need to, like, change change course, do something else. So it was a very frightening experience. But I think at that point, I, I was still a little immature. And I don't think I was prepared for it, I definitely was not prepared for what would come two, three years later with, things have gotten worse since we last spoke. But I think I've reached a point now where I can hopefully separate myself and my worth from the art. And any comments I receive about the heart, I know are just about the art and not about me as a human being. Because I feel like we're so programmed to immediately take and absorb any criticism directed at our work at like what we literally birth into this world. From our minds, we take that to heart, and we're obviously upset when someone doesn't like what we've created. And that's fine, it's totally fine to have those feelings to have those thoughts and be upset when people maybe don't understand what we're trying to convey with our art. But, you know, that criticism does help the writer. And it certainly helped me with that particular story. Because it grew and parts of it really were strengthened because of the criticism and the critiques that I received. And I feel like, now that story is so it's such a like, complex, complex arrangement of like a bird's nest almost in that, like, if you took a piece away, like the whole structure might kind of disintegrate a little bit. But I really feel like that story was really vetted quite, quite, quite a bit by by these people that, you know, took time out of their, their schedule to really vet it and give me their honest, their honest feedback. But I'm at a point now where I feel I feel honored when anybody obviously reads my work it is I mean, to have someone take time out of their day to read your work, you know, you're not owed that person's time and that person's energy to read your, your book. So I'm obviously you know, super, super grateful, but in the workshop setting it just to answer your question. It was very difficult in the beginning, but I think all writers really would benefit from from that kind of level of of critique, because it does really help you in the end.
Michael David Wilson 1:09:36
Yeah. Yeah. And, I mean, I certainly agree that this feels the anchor in the collection, and I mean, it is almost a pivot 2.2 is kind of at the center point. So it's like the perfect positioning for it. But of course, I mean, the whole collection, it's about it. Love, it's about pain. It's almost about endurance. And so the question both at the center of the collection, and of course, at the center of the story is how much you willing to give to those you love? And then examining what exactly are your limits? So I want to kind of turn that on to you and ask what do you think if you if you're to consider what is it you're willing, or not even willing, but just able because, you know, we want to give everything but we have to understand that there are limits to protect ourselves. If we give an amount, then we might fall to pieces, and then we can't help anyone anymore.
Eric LaRocca 1:10:50
Right? You're talking about, like, what I would give to another person or to like my art, what do you what do you mean, exactly?
Michael David Wilson 1:11:00
I think that I think the Bofur interesting. So I think both like, what would you give in terms of like a romantic relationship? And then what would you give for your art? And I know that, you know, we kind of in in the previous conversation, like the original one, about a year ago, we did talk a little bit about romantic relationships and boundaries. And, you know, what one is comfortable giving, but I do think it's an interesting thing for us to examine. And it is probably beneficial for all of us to look at it to help us be successful within our relationships.
Eric LaRocca 1:11:45
Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, I would say the most important relationship in my life currently, other than my relationship with my parents, is my relationship with my boyfriend. And I, as I said, like, in the previous installment that we recorded, a lot of these stories were written during the time that I was, like, first falling in love with him. And the two of us were kind of figuring things out, like, I was living in New Hampshire with my parents, but I would come down, like to Boston every weekend, and spend the weekend with him. And then we'd be apart for, you know, four or five days until, like, I would come back again. And then eventually, we started living together, but then the pandemic happened. And I had to go back to New Hampshire. And then, you know, finally, like, a month or two before, things have gotten worse came out from weird punk i, we moved in together in Boston, we're living still. So as far as you know, what I what I would give, I mean, like, Ali, who's my partner, I mean, I would, I would give him anything like anything he asked for anything you wanted. I feel like he and I have really developed a really a really profound level of trust between one another, you know, we we can go to each other with with any problem. And most importantly, I feel like we really, like respect one another, which I feel like is really key for a lot of successful relationships. Um, you know, Ali is he's a writer as well. And he, he writes like, young adult fiction, young adult fantasy. So very different than what I write. But it it concerned me in the beginning, I shouldn't say the beginning but it concerned me when things have gotten worse, started really popping off and like things were happening for me. I was worried that things might sour between me and Ollie, because there might be like, some jealousy. And he might, he might, he might show to me that he's happy for me and my success, but you know, deep down he might feel some resentment. Because that's normal. And that's that's how human beings are. And I'm definitely someone who studies human behavior and how we treat one another and the awful things we do to one another and how, you know, a lot of my pieces are about how the ones who were in the closest contact with end up hurting us the most. But with with Ollie like he has never showed me any sort of Have resentment any sort of animosity whenever I have like, a any sort of success, he's always so supportive, and so happy for me and I know it to be genuinely true. Because I feel like I really do know him. And like, the three years that we've been together, I feel, I feel confident in saying, like, I know him in a way that not a lot of people know him. And I know, because of that, like I would, I would do anything for him. And, you know, we've given each other a lot, we've taken from one another, and we've given when we were able to, and that's, that's what a great relationship does, like there's that given take, obviously, I was writing this story, I don't know, I don't want people to think that, you know, the, that I'm so you know, careless about human nature, and that I think all humans are like, inherently evil, like with, with stories like this, you know, where you have a character who is just giving parts of herself, you know, day after day, a lot of these stories, I mean, they're, they're rooted in a place of truth in me, and that I do believe we are capable of doing awful things to one another. But it's also I'm also just trying to tell stories, and I'm just trying to, like, create compelling conflict for characters in stories. And sometimes, sometimes there's not, you know, a deeper, more profound meaning to a piece, other than the fact that I really just wanted to tell this particular story. I mean, there are themes that I want to play with and, and whatnot, but I hope people don't think that I view all relationships as like, you know, toxic and difficult because I don't, because my own relationship with Lee has been so successful. And just so wonderful that it almost confuses me, like bewilders me, how I'm able to write about some of the stuff when I'm so confident and so, like, pleased with my own relationship. But also to answer your question about, like, what I would give in terms of my art. I think it's a really interesting question. And I think I've given a lot over the years for my, my writing, I mean, I'm, I'm someone who, like, I knew I wanted to be a writer, when I was like five years old, I knew I always wanted to create and tell stories. And because of that, I feel I sometimes feel like I missed out on other important life moments, because I was so focused on, like, perfecting my craft and telling my stories. You know, there are so many holidays, I remember from youth where I was present, but I wasn't like entirely present because I was so fixated on reading something or writing a scene that I really wanted to write. So in a lot of ways, I feel like I've given a lot of myself to my writing over the years. But that said, I feel like now I'm able to step away when I need to I'm I'm somewhat useless when I'm writing a novel, and, you know, I'm, like, off, maybe doing chores around the house, and Olli will ask me something and I'll be like, half listening. Like that stuff does creep in from time to time, just because I am, you know, thinking about what I'm writing and I'm thinking about the next scene, but it's not as bad as it once was, thankfully. And it's, it's gotten better in that I've been able to compartmentalize certain aspects of you know, writing and just my personal life and I really try now not to let the two of them like intermingle too much. And I really have been really trying not to, like if I see a bad review, or you know, someone says something nasty to me online. Like I really, at for a while I was really just depressed about it and would therefore, not necessarily take it out on Ollie, but I would not be myself around him. And he would know that I was different, and it would affect our time together. And I feel like now I've reached a point, hopefully, where I can separate myself more, and I'm still working on that daily so that those things don't bleed into my time with him. Because, you know, the time with our loved ones is like, so precious. And yeah, I'm someone who thinks about mortality, like, constantly, I'm always about like, death and the end and to have a, you know, to have to look back on your life and think, Oh, I wasn't really present for any of that. I just don't want that to happen to me in the end. And I think that's what, that's what actually really scares me is realizing that I missed out on a lot. So yeah,
Michael David Wilson 1:21:12
yeah, yeah, I totally relate to that. And of course, I said, affair about having gone through some quite difficult things recently. And I know that listeners are aware of that, to some extent, because I spoke about it in the Jonathan Jan's episode, and had said that I hadn't seen my daughter at the time for over 18 months now. I've said, in an outro, which maybe some people haven't listened to. So this might be the first time that they're hearing it, but I did. About a month ago, now see my daughter again, for the first time. So that was such an, you know, I'm gonna say an amazing experience, I can't put it into words. And it was kind of it was kinda like a movie, because we hadn't seen each other for 20 months. And then, when she saw me in the distance, she ran over to me, and I picked her up, and they hugged her. And actually, I probably shouldn't describe it too vividly, or I'll get to, I'll get too emotional. But it was, it was just like the perfect reunion. And so I'm so I'm so happy about that. But I mean, having gone through that trauma, and even, you know, before I was separated from her, I was very conscious, just to not take any moment or any person for granted. And I'm so aware that any interaction I have with someone might be the last interaction I have with them. And as maybe a strange way to live, but it just means that like, it does keep me grounded. And so if there's something that annoys me, or like there's the potential for an argument, or a bit of uncomfortableness with a loved one, I do think to myself, is this something worth fighting for? Is this, I just tried to put things into perspective. And of course, sometimes it will be like, well, well, yes, this is something where I need to raise my feelings and my opinion, but then other times, it's just like, This is so trivial and mundane in the grand scheme of things. And living in that way. It just helps me to become a better person. And I think it just means that like, I put out more love into the world if I'm operating in that way. So I completely relate to everything you're saying there.
Eric LaRocca 1:23:59
Oh, yeah, that I mean, that sounds like such a beautiful moment. I think you're right, like, it's it, you kind of reach a point eventually, where I'm someone who really hates conflict. I hate fighting with people. It makes me just so anxious and so uncomfortable. So I, I try usually to like defuse any sort of conflict, like very early on. And I think that's a healthier way to live. Yeah,
Michael David Wilson 1:24:32
yeah. Yeah. So Well, talking about conflict, which is obviously baked into all of your stories as it is all good stories. We're gonna jump into you're not supposed to be here and this is another one that is in my top three of your collection. And goodness this is a master class in pacing in and of itself. I mean, it starts off almost pleasantly. But there's just something a little bit disquieting, a little bit off. I mean, even the title, I mean, that should be a red flag of itself. You're not supposed to be here. There's a sense of foreboding. And, of course, when the protagonist is approached by the couple that I mean, it's the husband initially. And He seems nice on the surface, but you can tell pretty much straight away like, there's something not genuine about this, and then it escalates. And of course, you give a number of clues, your signposts things. I'm reluctant to say the specifics, even though I can I know exactly what they are. And what I want to say, because I want people to experience this for themselves. But there's just there's little comments, there's little visual clues that people are given as well. And so it, it just is so disquieting. And then it it turns into something I guess, like mild spoiler, it turns into something more akin to funny games for me, and oh, my goodness, I love but I, yeah, yeah, me too. And, of course, I mentioned bodies for burning being one of the stories, you know, that most affected me. And that was in my top three. And there is like a clear pattern. And it's obvious where I find trauma begins, like any time where a child is in danger. It says a lot about my relationship with fortitude. And it's like, those are the ones that clearly trigger me the most. And then they're also the ones that I'm like, Oh, well, well, that was a great story. I mean, I'm sure a psychologist would have a good time talking to me. But my goodness,
Eric LaRocca 1:27:18
yeah, children like them. I'm quite terrified of children sometimes because I'm afraid of the responsibility. Like I don't have any children. I'm absolutely terrified of the responsibility of caring for another living thing. And I, you know, as I said, in the, in the past, the last episode, you know, like, I suffer from OCD and intrusive thoughts, and a thought that creeps into my mind, like, quite often is, you know, a thought about taking care of a child, but doing saying something to them, or doing something that will completely alter their future. And being responsible for that in like a negative way that, like that burden, thinking about that, like haunts me, you know, because I felt like, when I was growing up, there were definitely adults around me that should not have been around children. And I feel like a lot of children learn to grow up, when they're confronted with an adult that doesn't know how to interact with children. And more importantly, you know, maybe he doesn't even really like children. And, you know, those, those interactions can be so scarring for for those that are, you know, developing and that are becoming like, people. So, that, that's a huge fear of mine is, you know, being responsible for like another, another human and, you know, doing something that will cause like, irreparable damage to them. And, you know, that's something that I think about a lot actually, just, and it feeds into my my horror in that, like, I'm someone who is a worst case scenario, type person, you know, I immediately think of, alright, what's the worst possible thing that could happen to me today? What's the worst possible thing that could happen if I do XYZ? And I don't know if I don't know if that mindset is really helpful for you know, being around being around children, but I feel like a lot of readers can really relate to the idea of children. ran in parallel children being subjected to just, you know, all kinds of really awful things by adults. I feel like I just my own personal experience, I really grew up when I learned that adults weren't always there to take care of you, adults could hurt you. Adults could do things to you that, you know, would harm you, maybe not physically, but psychologically, they could damage you. And I had to come to terms with that at a pretty early age. And it was It wasn't fun. And I feel like it really, it left me with a lot of trauma, just dealing with that. And that's why I come at it with with that level of concern.