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Book Sample: "Prep, part one: Teaching"—the Opening to "'My Quest Began with a Riddle': the Caterpillar and the Wasp"

"Teaching" is another piece of the module, "Brace for Impact" (2024), another book sample for my upcoming monster volume (rough ETA, mid-2024) and of which the opening section "Hugging the Alien" is already available on this blog.

Note: "Brace for Impact" is actually a full module that divides into over thirteen pieces (clocking in at ~85,000 words, ~209 pages, ~139 images, and sixteen new exhibits). "Hugging the Alien" is the first chapter; "Time," the second; "Teaching" (the opening), the third; "Medicine," the fourth; "Facing Death," the sixth. The others are actually too erotic to feature uncensored on Blogger, so I will be posting them on my (18+) website, instead. Click here to see the promo post for the entire sample module and links to all thirteen pieces.

Abstract: "Teaching" focuses on the duality of monstrous language when employed in either direction, but generally in opposition, during dialectical materialism; i.e., as a means of introducing children to fear and dogma (to serve the state) or as a profoundly playful and performative means of worker liberation: getting children to learn as early as possible about their world (and the language that composes it)—to learn from the imaginary past as monstrous-feminine. In other words, "Teaching" explores how learning happens when playing with trauma, confronting and voicing it in symbolic terms whose duality must, in turn, be repeatedly puzzled over through incessant examination and application; i.e., theatrical/Gothically poetic metaphors the likes of which often involve animals-as-monstrous. This prep section thoroughly invokes Medusa through "the caterpillar and the wasp" refrain, but will branch out to adjacent forms of monstrous-feminine expression to explore teaching more broadly as a powerful Gothic-Communist device.

(artist: Waifu Tactical)

About my book: My name is Persephone van der Waard and I am currently writing and illustrating a non-profit book series on sex positivity and the Gothic. Made in collaboration with other sex workers, the project is a four-volume set called Sex Positivity versus Sex Coercion, or Gothic Communism: Liberating Sex Workers under Capitalism through Iconoclastic Art. As of 2/14/2024, my thesis volume and manifesto volume are available online (the other volumes shall release over the remainder of 2024). To access my live volumes, simply go to my website's 1-page promo and pick up your own copies for free. While you're there, you can also learn about the yet-unreleased volumes, project history and logo design/promo posters!

This post is only the opening to the "Teaching" chapter. Due to its size, but also the erotic content* they feature, parts one and two of the chapter body won't be posted on here; they'll be posted tomorrow and the day after tomorrow on my (18+) website's on-site promo series:

  • "Teaching" ("Prep, part one"): Focuses on the duality of monstrous language when employed in either direction, but generally in opposition, during dialectical materialism; i.e., as a means of introducing children to fear and dogma (to serve the state) or as a profoundly playful and performative means of worker liberation: getting children to learn as early as possible about their world (and the language that composes it)—to learn from the imaginary past as monstrous-feminine. In other words, "Teaching" explores how learning happens when playing with trauma, confronting and voicing it in symbolic terms whose duality must, in turn, be repeatedly puzzled over through incessant examination and application; i.e., theatrical/Gothically poetic metaphors the likes of which often involve animals-as-monstrous. "Teaching" thoroughly invokes Medusa through "the caterpillar and the wasp" refrain, but will branch out to adjacent forms of monstrous-feminine expression to explore teaching more broadly as a powerful Gothic-Communist device. Length: ~90 pages.

Due to its size and multiple topics, I've divided "Teaching" into three total pieces:

      • "'My Quest Began with a Riddle': the Caterpillar and the Wasp" (chapter opening—on my old blog): Introduces the chapter goal (learning from the past as monstrous-feminine to liberate it from Capitalist Realism) and outlines the poetic, educational refrain: the caterpillar and the wasp. Length: ~6 pages.
      • "Angry Mothers; or, Learning from Our Monstrous-Feminine Past" (chapter, first half): Establishes the monstrous-feminine as something whose ancient past is forever in development—for the state or for workers. I consider this idea through Alien, but also my own work as inspired by Alien and the cuties that I work with. In short, it asks how I learned from Scott's "ancient" past (and similar stories) to touch on post-scarcity in my own work. Length: ~26 pages.
      • "Solving Riddles; or, Following in Medusa's Footsteps" (chapter, second half): Considers the monstrous-feminine as something to learn from in a variety of multimedia forms; i.e., starting with a broader relationship between our bodies and minds as interconnected with themselves and media at large, then narrowing down to conflict, mothers-in-conflict, and liberation. Total Length: ~58 pages.
        • "Spilling Tea" and "Meeting Medusa": Articulates how we can encounter "Medusa" in everyday life—a touch of the extraordinary lurking in those we meet as normally policed or controlled by the state. This classically falls under a male/female binary, which I will try to hyphenate based on my own experiences and expertise (scholarly synthesis). Length: ~14 pages.
        • "Teaching between Media and our Bodies, and a Bit of Coaching": Shifts focus, expanding on the monstrous-feminine as something to consider (and teach) through a) the space between multiple forms of media and our bodies, and b) is something to materialize and grasp at through coaching behaviors (of which I shall demonstrate). Length: ~19 pages.
        • "Conflict, Mothers-in Conflict, and Liberation": Concludes the chapter/subchapter by concentrating on themes of conflict that double as praxial struggles insofar as language hermeneutically functions; i.e., always in conflict in a variety of ways. I consider that variety unto itself, then regard it in relation to mothers (and the monstrous-feminine) as trapped, fighting for liberation. Length: ~25 pages.

*My website is 18+ and contains full uncensored images of everything being discussed and exhibited. To that, "Angry Mothers" and "Solving Riddles" will contain a variety of erotic nude images discussing psychosexual trauma. The purpose is art criticism and education regarding erotic Gothic media. Here's a censored example:

Artist Permissions: Any publicly available images are exhibited for purposes of education, transformation and critique, thus fall under Fair Use; private nude material and collabs with models are specifically shared with permission from the original model(s). For more details about artist permissions, refer to my book's full disclaimer.

(disclaimer exhibit: Artist: Harmony Corrupted, who provided me with various materials from her Fansly account to use [with her permission] in my book, including cum photos. Per the stipulations I have laid out, above, I have left her nude body—the nipples, booty and unspread pussy/asshole—uncensored, but have censored the cum splashes. The educational value is maintained, regardless. However, for those of legal age who enjoy Harmony's work and want to see more than this blog can show, consider subscribing to her Fansly account and then ordering a custom/tipping through her Ko-Fi. You won't be disappointed!)

Prep, part one: Teaching; or, "My Quest Began with a Riddle": the Caterpillar and the Wasp

"My quest began with a riddle: 'A thousand years ago, Gandahar was destroyed and all its people killed; a thousand years ago, Gandahar was saved, and what can't be avoided will be.'" 

—Sylvain, Light Years (1988)


This section is about developing Communism through pedagogic metaphors; i.e., as something to foster through the teaching of various riddles, of which monsters are. This requires mothers, except Communists aren't just mothers to the world, forced to nurture it through a patriarchal curriculum; they're teachers, stewards and protectors of something to slowly transform into: a post-scarcity habitat by modifying status-quo boundaries. Except anyone who's ever been a parent will tell you that children have no idea what boundaries are; they must be taught what they are and how to recognize, respect and uphold them: as something that—like a stuffed animal or lullaby—becomes a flexible heirloom, one passed down by a given generation along to their own children, and their children's children, ever onwards in the direction of post-scarcity. To that, there is no "final form" except constantly evolving to adapt against capital until it becomes a thing of the past; i.e., transforming like the wasp or the butterfly and their assorted larvae.

Capital maintains scarcity through menticide: canonical, unironic violence and myopic threats of force to serve the profit motive, thus uphold Capitalist Realism; i.e., teaching children—either through an explicitly authorized, or at the very least, tacitly condoned and expected Pavlovian conditioning—to behave like William Golding's Lord of the Flies (1954), predictably resulting in aggressive territorialism (us versus them) internalized through carceral violence, fear-fascination of the alien/fetish, and overall punishment; e.g., knee-jerk and automatic isolation (the corner), humiliation (the dunce cap) and corporal punishment (spankings). Communists abjure scarcity through campy irony and a pedagogy of the oppressed unconcerned with profit, instead raising healthy boundaries and tearing down harmful ones collectively through a mutual understanding that respects all parties equally and fairly.

For capitalists, "life isn't fair" by design, an adage dominating and essentializing the inequalities of nature through fear and dogma, false hope and fatal nostalgia—gods and masters, churches and states; for Gothic Communists, dogma is the enemy of workers and nature save when using monstrous language to express our rights as natural and unalienable, envisioned through hope towards a better future and post-scarcity nostalgia. This terrifies capitalists, insofar as it can be attained through the language of violence as something to perform in ways that invoke human monsters, thus ourselves, as oppressed. If we can accommodate the minds of the public from a young age, we'll have paddled capital's bottom without laying a finger on it. Get dunked on, nerds!

In turn, children fight on the playground. If the state and its proponents consider us entitled special snowflakes, then good. They don't own us, nor our children nor ideas (our "children"). With the latter, we can teach the former to see the world differently—by not playing nice against the state through labor action and propaganda. Per Marx, one shapes and maintains the other and vice versa; per me, we camp canon to replace its harmful variants thereof (the twin trees): fatal mimicries in nature reflecting a convergent humanistic duality as something that animalistic language can impart through eternal battles the likes of a caterpillar and a wasp. Just as life and death are part of the same indivisible cycle, these animals represent complex disguises through human simulacra. Either can be used by future children who grow into their true forms in defense of a better world—fighting for it as stewards of nature who consider morality as alien to animals (the wasp and the caterpillar utterly indifferent to human emotions), but nevertheless something that can ease the collective suffering of all lifeforms on Earth; i.e., through our own monstrous-animal stories preparing the world for post-scarcity or bust. Mothers are monsters, detectives, teachers and protectors—all one in the same, and all good for workers provided they don't serve capital!

Much love, my ducklings! 

Your Commie Mommy,


P.S., I tried to cram as much into the "Teaching" element as I could; i.e., while the metal was hot. "Prep, part one" is probably my favorite chapter in the entire book, having swollen like a hungry caterpillar (or wasp larva). Have fun with it!

Prep part one (the second part of our prep series) teaches things that concern people and popular media in concert and conflict: the imaginary past as something to learn from. This involves theory and paradox as things that—under the current state of the world—are rather hard to wrap our heads around. I will do my best to summarize that struggle here; i.e., teaching said past (the Wisdom of the Ancients) by using animals (a popular device for children in particular) less as an Aesopian moral (strict prescription) and more as a monstrous-feminine allegory designed to work like a puzzle. When engaged with, its pastness teaches you to think in sex-positive healthy ways that, apart from valuing and liberating mothers as educators, also celebrate nature as part of us: "Animals are your friends."

(artist: Eric Carle)

Our friends are the caterpillar and the wasp, which as we've already demonstrated, carry out a complicated parasitoid relationship—one (the imposturous mother) eats the other (the infant) after ostensibly raping it to pass its own brood along. Except, while rape is not something that animals can actually do, humans absolutely can, and generally express so in animalistic humanoid language (e.g., Amazons and knights, from Volume One, but also The Fox and the Hound [1981] and similar stories about forced alienation expressed in anthropomorphic language). And yet, while such a fatal pairing would not seem to jive with human interpretations of "friendship," one could also not exist without the other because both have evolved side-by-side.

The same homeostatic concept applies to humans and other animals, but also our manmade trauma as expressed through animalistic metaphors; i.e., that which can either compound trauma or address it in theatrical ways that more or less are unique to human development. No other species on Earth makes art, wears drag or does BDSM, etc, meaning the Earth's holistic salvation, as attained through iconoclastic media, is entirely up to us. We are the stewards of nature, and friends to all forms of life threatened by capital and the elite—ourselves. To that, we're not so different from these tiny critters doing bug stuff from moment to moment. Indeed, we can learn from them as alien to us, but similar amid differences that bring us closer to nature as something to respect and defend from profit, thus genocide.

Without nature, we will all die, and Capitalism is a system of death we must overcome through death as something to confront: a kind of "death therapy" (vis-à-vis Dr. Leo Marvin, from What About Bob? 1991) invoked through intimations of death being part of a healthy cycle/ecosystem that engenders plentiful conditions for all life, not an unstable Cartesian loop that will eventually burn itself out. History is something doomed to repeat itself as it has under Capitalism for hundreds of years based on "civilized" systems begot from "Rome" as a highly invasive and infectious ghost of itself; equally viral, though, is the maternal side of that ancient exchange—nature as monstrous-feminine, meaning a "dark mother" to learn from in a variety of ways that extend to art, porn, and BDSM as I invigilate it: a dark mommy dom inside my book-as-Russian-doll: a "castle gallery" filled with walking fortresses whose mise-en-abyme yawns backwards and forwards, and where you can get lost orgasmically inside—all while distinctions like inside-outside, male-female, monstrous-feminine, naked-clothed and correct-incorrect become suitably hyphenated:

The rest of the "Teaching" chapter divides in two halves:

All the while, the larger riddle may as well be, "What does a children's lesson have to do with the monstrous-feminine?" Once-risen, what are these dry bones trying to impart? The furious howl (and patriarchal quelling) of ancient hysteria's yawp should be a big fat clue: nature-as-abject; i.e., something to enslave and abuse within a moral capitalist order that routinely moves money through nature as something to harvest, as food, as sex, etc, owned by a Cartesian (settler-colonial, heteronormative) hegemon.

And yet, as should hopefully become obvious, I want you to ask similar questions yourselves while thinking about teaching through monsters; i.e., things that simplify as "caterpillars" and "wasps" and yield more complex rarefactions like Medusa and the xenomorph when investigating the patterns I provide in poetic, lecture-style forms. I'll provide signposts, of course, but I also want this chapter/module to feel especially "without training wheels"; i.e., to let you stretch your proverbial wings according to my admittedly neurodivergent approach.

We're two books in, so that should feel as less of a threat and more of an opportunity. Even so, I can still give an abstract:

In the simplest of terms, nature is the past, is monstrous-feminine as something to learn from in ways that can help us survive the impending disaster of state shift (climate change)—the revenge of surviving our generational tyrants through healthier nostalgias to retreat into and bring back (vis-à-vis the monomyth, except we're destabilizing "order" as a genocidal structure). While the predicament is generally one of "home" as threatened, engagement often occurs through the people who touch us while being thoroughly puzzling unto themselves; i.e., as riddle-like beings that—when poetically engaged with on an active, conscious level—suddenly take on friendly markers of the monstrous-feminine: monster mothers and dark mommy doms that, when symbolized as nightmares-made-flesh, can help workers liberate themselves by synthesizing praxis to develop Gothic Communism. Think of it as a memory aid with visual elements—to diagnose a larger problem through an "autopsy" in quotes; i.e., operating on a dying thing that appears fully dead but is actually quite alive and pissed off, but also… playful? Anyone who's read a Gothic novel or played Castlevania will tell you, a Gothic castle is a playground; so is a willing body working through trauma. Both are two sides of the same coin. 

Playing with dead things in an open, critical manner is definitely a lost art, one where fluency is acquired by children; adults, with practice. In turn, it helps us navigate the cursed, damned, tomb-like feelings that Capitalism routinely supplies on purpose. The horror isn't something to see because we want to, but something whose rising emergency can no longer be ignored regardless of the cryptonym preceding it:

(exhibit 33b2c1a1a: "Dreams about cataclysm, the end of the world, are very common!" Yet, patriarchal forces deem dreams as "mere hysteria," "existential dread" and "madness": poor Cassandra tilting at windmills. Per Fischer's adage, those conditioned by capital find it far easier to imagine the end of the world as nothing to them [a myopia] then dare to imagine Communism; i.e., a post-scarcity world without Capitalism. Threatened with Capitalism's routine disasters, pacified workers cling to "their" canceled futures: dogma that makes them angry and scared, thus easier to control, thus able to be weaponized against labor by the men behind the curtain. It behooves us, then, to listen to these feelings of disintegration, incarceration, paranoia, unreality and impending devastation—of the sky falling and the Earth opening to receive us. In the end, Medusa cannot be killed with military optimism; her gaping maw will devour the world and return to a primordial posthuman state unless we restore the stability and balance Capitalism [the Capitalocene] has made alien to us.)

We're clearly focusing on the human element, here. So while it's true the castle is a good place to look for answers by playing with it yourselves, escaping Capitalist Realism is likewise taught within the home-as-alien: by career weirdos/motherly educators like myself. 

In turn, learning happens just as often through ludo-Gothic BDSM, the palliative Numinous, and so on as taught by humanoid agents (meaning this module's focus isn't really on Gothic castles, but people as "castle-like" in a Gothic sense). To prevent the returning Destructor's total revenge, we ask the Archaic Mother, "Who hurt you? Why are you cursed with blind rage?" Medusa shrieks, "Capitalism! It kettled me, tortured me, waited for me to snap, then punished me over and over! It broke me into pieces and pieces, into a furious swarm of bees!" From there, we change the structure one brick at a time per worker as part of something bigger than any one person. If all goes poorly, Medusa eats us; if all goes well, Medusa sucks our dick instead of biting it off (or bakes us a cake, tells a joke, snuggles, whatever)—with flamboyant sarcasm, hellish delight, morbid humor, Gothic disintegration during fatal inheritance (doom), and with such an incredible strangeness and existential dread to make Don Hertzfeldt (above) green with envy ("Rejected Cartoons," 2001)! Win-win!

This concludes "Teaching"; onto "Medicine"! After that, check out my website for the uncensored samples!


Persephone van der Waard is an anarcho-Communist, sex worker, genderqueer activist and Gothic ludologist. She sometimes writes reviews, Gothic analyses, and interviews for fun; or does independent research for her PhD on Metroidvania and speedrunning every now and again. She's also an erotic artist and a writer. If you're interested in her work or curious about illustrated or written commissions, please refer to her website for more information.