Do you know what the lurid intermixture of complicated emotions produces, according to Nathaniel Hawthorne? That's right, it produces the illuminating blaze of the infernal regions. Ryan MacDonald's glorious shards of prose are both lurid and blazing, and together they comprise an anthology of complex feelings-dream-like, vivid, and never, ever obvious.
Everything gets horrible. Everything you see gets ugly. Lurid is the word. Doctor Garton said lurid, one time. That's the right word for it. And everything sounds harsh, spiny and harsh sounding, like every sound you hear all of a sudden has teeth. And smelling like I smell bad even after I just got out of the shower. It's like what's the point of washing if everything smells like I need another shower
David Foster Wallace
I started as a black and white photographer, but the colors I was seeing were just so lurid and compelling and awful at the same time. They got me looking at other contemporary art. I was gravitating more and more toward work that had visceral power, that wasn't necessarily about being beautiful but had some kind of horror in the palette.
Our dangers, as it seems to me, are not from the outrageous but from the conforming; not from those who rarely and under the lurid glare of obloquy upset our moral complaisance, or shock us with unaccustomed conduct, but from those, the mass of us, who take their virtues and their tastes, like their shirts and their furniture, from the limited patterns which the market offers.
It may be that, while we plodding realists go on, for ever preoccupied with our daily chores, abstracting a microscopic pleasure from each microscopic duty, your true romantic has the truer vision, and beholds, afar off, in all its lurid splendour and terrible proportions, the piquant adventure we call life.
Why shouldn't the death of a person you love bring you into lurid ruin? You don't know how to love the one you love until they disappear abruptly. Then you understand how thinly distanced from their suffering, how sparing of self you often were, only rarely unguarded of heart, working your networks of give-and-take.
When I was growing up as a young lesbian in the '50s, I looked in vain for books about my people. I did find some paperbacks with lurid covers in the local bus station, but they ended with the gay character's committing suicide, dying in a car crash, being sent to a mental hospital, or 'turning' heterosexual.
There is an uncharacteristic radicalism to Lewis's further suggestion that if we can find 'even one reader to whom the cheap little book with its double columns and the lurid daub on its cover had been a lifelong delight, who had read and reread it, who would notice, and object, if a single word were changed, then, however little we could see in it ourselves and however it was despised by our friends and colleagues, we should not dare to put it beyond the pale.
We were afraid of so many things: Of our children, who lived in their own world of casually lurid pleasures, zombies and cartoon killers and thuggish music. Of our neighbors, who were buying gold and ammunition and great quantities of freeze-dried food, and who were organizing themselves into angry tribes recognizable to one another by bumper stickers.
So the Bawdy Bluestocking was the proprietress of her own shop, selling lurid novels to ladies in the front and more esoteric fare in the back, from the looks of the shelves around him. He spied Pope and Crabbe, Shakespeare, of course, and names he did not recognize at all. He wondered how she chose her stock and where it came from. She must spend her days in endless research. The thought was unaccountably lovely to him.
There's no denying that the way horror has been packaged in the past has done it no favours. Lurid black covers adorned with skulls, corpses crawling with insects and scantily clad maidens being chewed into by vampires -- all good clean fun, but it doesn't do much to give the genre an air of respectability or seriousness to the casual browser.
Many of the people who consented to talk about their private lives in front of millions of television viewers would say that they were sharing their stories as a way to give comfort [to] fellow sufferers, to raise public awareness, to give a voice to their pain. None of them would ever admit that it was all about ratings and voyeurism and lurid, grotesque curiosity.
Instead of looking at books and pictures about the New Testament I looked at the New Testament. There I found an account, not in the least of a person with his hair parted in the middle or his hands clasped in appeal, but of an extraordinary being with lips of thunder and acts of lurid decision, flinging down tables, casting out devils, passing with the wild secrecy of the wind from mountain isolation to a sort of dreadful demagogy; a being who often acted like an angry god "" and always like a god.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
This is not written for the young or the light of heart, not for the tranquil species of men whose souls are content with the simple pleasures of family, church, or profession. Rather, I write to those beings like myself whose existence is compounded by a lurid intermingling of the dark and the light; who can judge rationally and think with reason, yet who feel too keenly and churn with too great a passion; who have an incessant longing for happiness and yet are shadowed by a deep and persistent melancholy-those who grasp gratification where they may, but find no lasting comfort for the soul.
The Bobbit case, which brought to life the ancient mythic archetype of woman as castrator, demonstrated that women are as aggressive as men and that sex is a dark, dangerous force of nature. But of course the feminist establishment, stuck in its battered-woman blinders, learned nothing as usual from this lurid refutation of its normal views. Classic art works like Bizet's Carmen tell us more about the irrationality of love, jealousy and revenge than do all the pat formulas of the counseling industry.
At the risk of repetition let me say again that my plea is not for immunity to, but for the most unsparing exposure of, the politician who betrays his trust, of the big business man who makes or spends his fortune in illegitimate or corrupt ways. There should be a resolute effort to hunt every such man out of the position he has disgraced. Expose the crime, and hunt down the criminal; but remember that even in the case of crime, if it is attacked in sensational, lurid, and untruthful fashion, the attack may do more damage to the public mind than the crime itself.
All those years of lurid magazine covers showing extremely nubile females being menaced in three distinct colors by assorted monstrosities; those horror movies, those invasion-from-outer-space novels, those Sunday supplement fright splashes-all those sturdy psychological ruts I had to re-track. Not to mention the shudders elicited by mention of 'worms, ' the regulation distrust of even human "furriners, ' the superstitious dread of creatures who had no visible place to park a soul. ("Betelgeuse Bridge)
They began to come upon chains and packsaddles, singletrees, dead mules, wagons. Saddletrees eaten bare of their rawhide coverings and weathered white as bone, a light chamfering of miceteeth along the edges of the wood. They rode through a region where iron will not rust nor tin tarnish. The ribbed frames of dead cattle under their patches of dried hide lay like the ruins of primitive boats upturned upon that shoreless void and they passed lurid and austere the black and desiccated shapes of horses and mules that travelers had stood afoot.
Look at us. We build giant highways and murderously fast cars for killing each other and committing suicide. Instead of bomb shelters we construct gigantic frail glass buildings all over Manhattan at Ground Zero, a thousand feet high, open to the sky, life a woman undressing before an intruder and provoking him to rape her. We ring Russia's borders with missile-launching pads, and then scream that she's threatening us. In all history there's never been a more lurid mass example of the sadist-masochist expression of the thanatos instinct than the present conduct of the United States. The Nazis by comparison were Eagle Scouts.
But yester-night I prayed aloud In anguish and in agony, Up-starting from the fiendish crowd Of shapes and thoughts that tortured me: A lurid light, a trampling throng, Sense of intolerable wrong, And whom I scorned, those only strong! Thirst of revenge, the powerless will Still baffled, and yet burning still! Desire with loathing strangely mixed On wild or hateful objects fixed. Fantastic passions! maddening brawl! And shame and terror over all! Deeds to be hid which were not hid, Which all confused I could not know Whether I suffered, or I did: For all seemed guilt, remorse or woe, My own or others still the same Life-stifling fear, soul-stifling shame.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
When I came out into the outside room again, I saw her shoe still lying there, where it had come off in the course of our brief wrestle. It looked so pathetic there by itself without an owner, it looked so lonely, it looked so empty. Something made me pick it up arid take it in to her. Like when someone's going away, you help them on with their coat, or their jackboots, or whatever it is they need for going away. I didn't try to put it back on her, I just set it down there beside her close at hand. You're going to need this, I said to her in my mind. You're starting on a long walk. You're going to keep walking from now on, looking for your home. I stopped and wondered for a minute if that was what happened to all of us when we crossed over. Just keep walking, keep on walking, with no ahead and no in-back-of; tramps, vagrants in eternity. With our last hope and horizon - death - already taken away. In the Middle Ages they had lurid colors, a bright red hell, an azure heaven shot with gold stars. They knew where they were, at least. They could tell the difference. We, in the Twentieth, we just have the long walk, the long walk through the wispy backward-stringing mists of eternity, from nowhere to nowhere, never getting there, until you're so tired you almost wish you were alive again. ("Life Is Weird Sometimes" - first chapter of unpublished novel THE LOSER)