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Book Sample: "Prep, part two: Medicine"

"Medicine" is another piece of the module, "Brace for Impact" (2024), the 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: "Medicine" focuses on pacing ourselves medically when seeking knowledge as a limited category through the infinite, dialectical-material gradient of Gothic poetics; i.e., as a sphere of discourse that overlaps the medieval and the medical when employing (and enjoying) the dialectic of the alien as something to hug and fuck.

(artist: Lera PI)

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!

Prep, part two: Medicinal Themes and Advice; or, "Doctor's Orders": Prep for Surgery and Aftercare

"I don't believe that young man's ever been to medical school!" 

—Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story (1995)


This is a medical disclaimer less in earnest and more in partial jest; i.e., a reflection on the medieval/Gothic as combining medicine, torture and sex to reflect on the poetic flavor of my current volume—just eight pages, but a fun way to reflect on things and think about them differently. That being said, I'm not a doctor and this isn't medical advice; it's just food for thought given by a medievalist who's loved medicine ever since she was a kid.

Scrub in, interns!

Your Commie Mommy,


(artist: SGT Madness)

This volume, more than the others, is about thinking about things as a means of interrogating our surroundings through the Humanities. This includes ourselves and our bodies as things to listen to. Continuing our prep, the medieval combines sex and violence, but also medicine ("psychosexual healing" in a tight black dress); similar to BDSM, surgery requires prep and aftercare. To avoid surgery gone wrong(!), and on the topic of medicine overall, here's a disclaimer of sorts: any project, no matter how big or small, affects all parties involved; treat it accordingly. This extends to various vices and temptations expressed in the Gothic as potentially addictive—less as in "chronic," but acute insofar as their effects impact the human involved overall; e.g., sex can kill you, especially as to how it effects your heart (a "sudden and prolonged decrease in blood pressure," as the warning label for Viagra goes; i.e., you die). It's not psychosomatic, or a mental mimicking of symptoms, but actual symptoms that do damage over time. This is often expressed in quotes by torture play (evoking angels of mercy who killed their patients, and revenge fantasies that speak to historical-material realities). But beyond roleplay (whose fantasies are often sexual; i.e., to fantasize; e.g., for kept women [or closeted queer people] to escape their prison-like lives, and men to fulfill their own traditional gender roles or abandon them) it doesn't alter the fact that sex and "torture"—while certainly medicinal—can inadvertently kill you.

Don't think so? Let's use me as the sample patient. For me, I'm a 37-year-old trans woman taking estrogen and antiandrogens for my gender-affirming care; the estrogen raises my blood pressure and the antiandrogens lower it, but likewise, my desire to help others also comes into play. When I write, I focus; when I focus, my blood pressure goes up and I forget to breathe (emotional trauma gets brought up, which activates fight or flight per fear aroused through "danger," and I also get turned on—all complicating factors/comorbidities). Except, I also like to help people in ways that are exciting and "traumatic" through calculated risk. To that, I'm not exactly dying for my art, but the book is most certainly work (on multiple levels, all children are) and this "torture" affects me in ways that, if going on for a prolonged period, can have a noticeable effect. I manage my symptoms with medication, but still, I'm only mortal and like to be aware of what I'm doing when "giving birth."

Furthermore, writing about BDSM and medicine, I've discovered a paradox of the healing profession to which the Gothic addresses: medicine as a deliberately and reliably dry source of information (sterile bedside manner) often invites sex/power fantasies (roleplay trips, kink: "playing doctor") to spice things up (and heal from trauma sustained during abuse of all kinds, including by malpracticing doctors with god complexes); more recent fantasies of the nurse, nun or librarian (naughty or not) present her as defying the institution repressing her true self from head to toe in tell-tale uniforms: penetrative medicine ("the stick"); whips, hooks, and chains; leather and holy artifacts to profane, strict disciplinarian regimens/"Spartan" medicine (and punishment), alchemic draughts, and so forth. These medieval allusions of intense widespread suffering (e.g., the Black Death) aren't just memory aids, but intersecting collocations whose prolificity suggests an ongoing and vital connection—a theatrical balm to "sponge" societal woes and a sexual boon with potent, drug-like qualities with critical potential to boot. Yet, drugs or no drugs, pregnant people are vulnerable, especially if their child threatens the state-as-Puritanical; the latter views it as poison. I'm an enemy of the state on principle, so my "baby" is too (not to mention it's full of anti-capitalist propaganda in a time of rising fascism).

I'm applying all of this to the creative process as give and take, and as Paracelsus put it: "All things are poison and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes a thing not a poison." Condensed to "the dose makes the poison," and pursuant to the Communist Numinous as a "dragon" to chase, the clash with capital is why we're here: sparring with authorities by evoking authoritative forces; e.g., the Numinous. Capital defends capital as thieves versus whistleblowers, the former killing and/or blackmailing the latter or otherwise discrediting them: dispatching assassins, forcing elicit confessions, turning brother against brother or de(s)posing of them in court with limitless funds, bulletproof contracts, Radcliffean surveillance and bottomless pockets, etc. Exposing that bloodbath/carving of meat is why we're here. But as gluttons for punishment with impressive stamina—and ones addicted to the birthing of empathy at birth by accident thereof—we still need to pop them out "in moderation"; e.g., babies, books ("babies"), boners and loads; i.e., some strain is important, but don't damage the oracle, 
mid-séance (the Gothic goofball making you laugh until you're sick).

To that, we want to be on good terms with our people, but also our "substance abuse"; i.e. knowing when to lead us by the hand to bed, but also to cut off those drunk on sex, cum, BDSM (sub drop), food, or stimulation in any form that combines these and others. To those who have "had enough," who get absentminded and forgetful, mid-jouissance (me: forgetting to take my blood pressure pills), there's no shame in quitting forever (over my dead body—"I was born a knight; I will die a knight!") or throwing in the towel for a smaller period. Likewise, surgeries—literal or figurative—get exploratory and addictive (doctors love to cut; so do I—to the truth of things). Birth (as literal or figurative) isn't just painful, but an endurance test for those with health concerns trying to heal the world in ways one person cannot alone, try as they might: physical, mental, sexual, emotional.

Per the Gothic, these manifest in reality and fiction on different levels. As such, grief and love (as things to express) bleed into sex and violence as a composite morphological statement. Metal or flesh fatigue can and will set in, especially when we take on the struggles for others routinely ignored by the mainstream (who only sit up and listen when people exactly like them [or who they tokenize; e.g., Jewish people aping their colonizers[1]] are affected; i.e., "think of the white, cis-het men!" This is a valid concern, but "missing while girl syndrome" or "think of the incels" [courtesy of Jordan Peterson] gets hella old when the Kurds or the Palestinians [or anyone in the Global South] is experiencing genocide. You can care about both, but only speaking out about Whitey is complacent, thus complicit in genocide. This isn't the early 1800s and you're not Jane Austen writing Mansfield Park [1814]; it's the Internet Age, wherein the people who devote the entirety of their platforms to the colonizer group are aiding in settler colonialism).

So do what you love while helping others. But also, be careful—cautious, as well as solicitous and nurturing to all parties involved. Yes, we and our "good work" (slutty but salubrious) bare it all to not just walk the line like the rockstars[2] that we are, but slink and strut our stuff between pleasure and pain, stress and release, life and death (a vibrating closeness to penetration within thresholds—what feels good for all parties, ace or not); but, "first do no harm." Sex and death are funny in jest (so-called "gallows humor" is a whole 'nother can of worms[3]); sex, drugs and rock 'n roll can do the trick in moderation (do not do "a Jimmy Hendrix or Janis Joplin," members of the ill-fated "27 Club"); but dropping needlessly dead due to gross negligence (willful or otherwise) from one's attending physician? Whatever the practice, it kind of defeats the point. Though we often play at them, we're not gods. So don't skip your checkups, however routine! Check in with yourself and see where you're at; take your vitals and remember to rest and relax. Unwind to the degree that you can (not everyone can and that's valid; but if it is possible and you don't do it anyways? That's a horse of another color).

Traditional Western gender roles generally portray healing roles (sexual or otherwise) as "maternal." Except, mothers need days off and this holiday is frequently a psychosexual, monstrous one (moonlighting as an Amazonian protector/vigilante detective). In the alien-fetishized language of prisons, torture dungeons and hospitals (a fine line between them), "'mommy' has needs" that address unseen woes/scratch various itches. Sometimes, though, someone needs to play nurse with themselves, a "battle medic"/Amazonian mommy dom in the place of God who nurtures, feeds and fucks depending ("'Mother' is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children." If you think otherwise, you've never gotten between a loving mother and their child): food, sex, medicine, enrichment (games, puzzles) and sleep, etc. Someone who cares, who's "a handful," feisty. Husky and growling. Secretarial and sweet. Lucky and healthy. Ample and tasty (delicious, full of "gravy"). Holy and hot (thick thighs, zettai ryōiki[4], big buttocks, hair and tits, etc). That female/monstrous-feminine portrait of "The Miller's Tale" is us, cuties, so measure up to your own needs by looking after yourself as you actually deserve/want to be treated—well.

(artist: M_doodles)

This wellness plan includes intake of various sorts: meal plans, work-life balance, ergonomics. You can't help others without helping yourself. So give thanks without literally carving yourself up when trauma comes home to roost (in terms of healthcare, the ghosts of past friends or family members classically manifest as complexes; i.e., survival guilt; e.g., I was harmed, and wrote this book to help others see the ghosts of trauma inside it and their own lives).

To that, do what you need to "right the ship," release stress (eat, gamble, laugh, fuck [aka "sexersize"]…) to the speed, music (whatever slaps), texture and sensitivity (leather or lace), intensity and depth you require. Then, after you "bounce back," go where you need to be in order to help those you can. We all wanna put these ideas to practice—to fuck-start Capitalism's face to bare better, new-and-improved fruit; i.e., strap-on-style; e.g., like Eowyn vs the Witch-king[5] if the sword was strapped to our Shieldmaiden's crotch and she "chose her slain" by shoving it into the shadow lord's mouth and down his unhappy throat, Better-Call-Saul-pilot-style ("Put your wang in its throat hole!")—the death knight/Skeleton King "taken" by the lacey female paladin (aping Monty Python's Sir Lancelot: "'An accident?' You shoved your sword through his head!"):

(artists, from top-left to bottom right: Petar Meseldzija, Frank Frazetta, W.M. Kaluta, the Hildebrandt brothers)

Except, instead of rapacious, rotting scapegoats[6] to skewer like throwaway straw dogs, our Dark-Ages approach to wedding sex and force wants (needs) to abstract the post-capitalist metaphor and take it to an ever further (albeit non-jousting) extreme; e.g., with Frodo and Sauron (from The Return of the King, 1955):

And far away, as Frodo put on the Ring and claimed it for his own, even in Sammath Naur the very heart of his realm, the Power in Barad-dûr was shaken, and the Tower trembled from its foundations to its proud and bitter crown. The Dark Lord was suddenly aware of him, and his Eye piercing all shadows looked across the plain to the door that he had made; and the magnitude of his own folly was revealed to him in a blinding flash, and all the devices of his enemies were at last laid bare. Then his wrath blazed in consuming flame, but his fear rose like a vast black smoke to choke him. For he knew his deadly peril and the thread upon which his doom now hung.

From all his policies and webs of fear and treachery, from all his stratagems and wars his mind shook free; and throughout his realm a tremor ran, his slaves quailed, and his armies halted, and his captains suddenly steerless, bereft of will, wavered and despaired. For they were forgotten. The whole mind and purpose of the Power that wielded them was now bent with overwhelming force upon the Mountain. At his summons, wheeling with a rending cry, in a last desperate race there flew, faster than the winds, the Nazgûl, the Ringwraiths, and with a storm of wings they hurtled southwards to Mount Doom.

But please, remember they have kick. So camp, thus butcher canon to your heart's content, but also beware: self-care is community care. Pound what must be pounded (smite whatever "ruins" on whatever "mountainsides"); then steady on, girls!

(artist: Bütcher)

This concludes "Teaching"; onto "Facing Death" (when it posts)! After that, check out my website for the uncensored samples! To that, the follow up section, "The Medieval," can be found on there!

[1] Tatiana Seigel's "Over 1,000 Jewish Creatives and Professionals Have Now Denounced Jonathan Glazer's Zone of Interest Oscars Speech in Open Letter" (2024) quotes the letter as saying,

The use of words like "occupation" to describe an indigenous Jewish people defending a homeland that dates back thousands of years, and has been recognized as a state by the United Nations, distorts history. It gives credence to the modern blood libel that fuels a growing anti-Jewish hatred around the world, in the United States, and in Hollywood (source).

It's literally the American Hollywood elite posturing as besieged for a fellow Jewish person speaking out against a settler colony and the best they can do is equate critique of an Israeli enthostate to "blood libel"? Big yikes. They can't admit they were wrong without giving the game away so they close ranks and die on that hill. It's not like the conflict affects them in any meaningful way.

[2] E.g., Daria Zaritskaya, above, is a total smoke show "baddie" who really knows how to strut her stuff and "rock it/slay" at the same time. Unlike the Gothic, rock 'n roll was recuperated from people of color in America and sold to white audiences, but both wavelengths still speak to the oppressed through the potential for pseudo-idolatry whose enjoyment often contains class-conscious allegories of various kinds. These are often packaged and sold as "rebellion," handed out copiously like bread-and-circus opiates for the masses, but this commodified status doesn't preclude a valid critical/medicinal role; per Zizek's idea of universal application, I can listen to '80s rock (much of it insubstantial fluff, it must be said) and still feel motivated/elevated by that in ways that feel good without negative side effects. That's the nature of critiquing popular media, of finding enjoyment while applying Sarkeesian's adage to root out the pernicious aspects, thus make society a little more active at treating the sickness of Capitalism rotting their brains.

As for Zaritskaya, I can't really fault her for sticking to the golden oldies, crooning about desire ("love" as a product). Yes, it's all rather safe and trite, but she's still giving something back through looks and performance: one, she's drop-dead gorgeous, bar zone; two, her makeup is on point; three, her outfits are absolutely sick; and four, she's a fabulous rock singer (that husky allure with just the right twinge of Benatar-snarl hits just right). What more could you ask for as far as doing her job goes? Furthermore, in a world that treats women like sex objects, Zaritskaya owns it with style—a total package that, in these dark times, absolutely makes a difference. She's a muse who—provided she doesn't endorse genocide or "pull a Judas Priest" and release an album with Zionist overtones (re: "Invincible Shield and Zionism")—should be free to rock out and break hearts till the cows come home. "YouTube's finest," indeed (source: Rock the Joint)!

[3] Gallows humor is a theatrical means of disconnecting due to compassion and alarm fatigue (from waves of terror). Except, Capitalism is a race against time, which means we can't afford to reflexively involve ourselves in collective platitudes and false hope (which neoliberalism and fascism are built on). We need to actively diagnose the root cause, not fall back routinely on empty coping mechanisms during trench warfare; i.e., compartmentalizing while hurling towards disaster as having its own (compartment) syndrome, and which can trigger when the floor beneath crumbles into fragments and the walls close into a tighter and tighter corner. Losing false hope, we can desperately pacify and grow complacent, even violently complicit—second-guessing what should be second-nature: trading wider catharsis for local, short-term power fantasies (the dominant, the slayer) that revolve around unironic rape and murder instead of calculated risk as a subby acclimation towards mirroring symptoms, not harm. The entire operating principal behind ludo-Gothic BDSM as I authored it is calculated risk; i.e., as a submissive gesture (favoring unequal power against a dominant), which in BDSM is the polar opposite of the dominant picking up a weapon to kill the enemy through force (homoerotic "jousting"). Against the end of the world, such high-strung masculine threat displays are utterly meaningless, little more than a forlorn Crusade resorting to vulnerable scapegoats; i.e., of which the crusader carves their white, Cartesian image into (white genocide flows outwards, away from white boys conducting genocide as always): woman, twinks, and other marginalized groups (eating the pie inwards, placing the so-called "upper crust" at the heart of things, not the outer rim).

In other words, our group coping mechanism needs to expose and address systemic issues, not contribute to them as dependent on/addicted to military optimism; i.e., incumbent on the rape of nature by design, martyrdom of the male stooge in love with war culture and spilling blood. Again, it's a can of worms that, left unchecked, will eventually spill over everywhere, bathing the world (and the idyllic, resort-like home) in a reversal of Exodus, an ignominious closing of the Red Sea to drown exile and conqueror alike; to avoid internal bleeding and total exsanguination ("bleeding out"), our folie-a-deux' chez folie needs to exist in quotes, our blossoming "agony" and ribbons of explosive, fiery pleasure leaning in a less bloodthirsty (and unironically alienating and fetishizing) direction, regarding the monstrous-feminine (from a metal/NWOBHM standpoint, less Saxon's heteronormative Demin and Leather, 1981, and more Accept's queer-coded Balls to the Wall/"London Leather Boys," 1983): it's not a vampirism state fangs can ever hope to match. "Hurt, not harm" when experimenting and broadening your horizons, cuties! Fuck to metal, but remember to worship Satan responsibly! 

[4] A Japanese phrase that translates to "absolute territory." Per Wikipedia, it "refers to the area of bare skin in the gap between overknee socks and a skirt or shorts" (source). In short, it's uniform fetish slang that focuses on fixation by Japan as being eco-fascist and psychologically incestuous. We'll explore eco-fascism and incest in Japan in Volume Three, but here's the source; i.e., Terry McCarthy writes in "Out of Japan: Mother Love Puts a Nation in the Pouch" (1993):

Satoru Saito, head of the sociopathology department at the Psychiatric Research Institute of Tokyo, doubts that mother-son incest is any more common in Japan than elsewhere. But, he says, "emotional incest" between mothers and their sons is almost a defining feature of Japanese society – "the entire culture has this undertone" (source).

[5] A classic scene of "pure medieval lust" whose chaste military eroticism—begot from a cushy Oxford dweeb gentrifying war with a lore-heavy and built-world/treasure map refrain—is displayed most nakedly during Tolkien's neutered take on the courtly romance; i.e., during the famous (and entirely unfair) duel that has been remade a million times (source: Lady Fellshot's "Looking at a Scene…" 2011).

[6] (From Volume Zero): 'Basically, Blue Beard from Charles Perrault's "Blue Beard" (1697), the demon lover holding the delicate female swooner captive and relayed through fairytales or operas (and various other Gothic stories; e.g., the "black novel" or "noir/black detective story" as peering into the imaginary site of the black space/shadow zone as routinely fabricated by the ghost of the counterfeit, feeding the profit motive). Facing such a sexy beast, a less bellicose heroine might swoon and face almost certain doom; an Amazon, on the other hand, might pick up a sword and stab the fucker—a proposition that can certainly be cathartic but needs to be exercised with care to avoid harmful xenophobia as something to execute on- and offstage as informed by these kinds of stories; i.e., TERFs attacking trans people when their own trauma is weaponized by the status quo, turning them into harmful imitations of Dacre's woman-in-black, Victoria de Loredani; e.g., Ellen Ripley—formerly traumatized by the myth of the black male/crossdressing rapist—is handed a gun by James Cameron and told to play cowboys and Indians in service of the state: "Become vengeance"' (source).


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.