Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How I Came to Write This Story: Glenn Gray


Glenn Gray


Basically, it was like this: I gotta write another muscle story. I’d been working on this novel about black market steroids for a while. I needed a break. I wanted to write some stories about the muscle world; steroids, rage, gyms. The psychopathology associated with the hardcore element of this subculture. And the characters that populate this world. Figured it would help flesh out that world in my mind.

The first story was “Jacked,” in Thuglit (thanks Big Daddy). Then “Mr. Universe,” which ended up in Blood, Guts and Whiskey (thanks again, Big Daddy). Then “Muscle Chick,” in PWG #3, “Balls to the Wall,” in Pulp Pusher, “Johnny Boy,” and “Strong Island Disco Doorman,” in Powder Burn Flash, “Marvin K Stein’s Killer Penis,” in OOTG 6 Sexploitation, and “Ass Shot,” in the long silent, Shred of Evidence.

Then I figured if I wanted to put a bunch of these muscle-themed stories together as a collection someday, I would need a couple more. Some longer stuff. Brainstormed. Decided to tap into the crazy days I spent pumping iron in Venice Beach in the early 80’s. Out came “Venice Beach Birthday Boogie.” Steve Weddle and crew were kind enough to accept it for an upcoming NEEDLE. Awesome.

Okay, maybe one more.

Bigorexia. In my mind, that’s a word that begs to be a story title. Ever since I heard it, I knew it had to be a story. Bigorexia is a real psychiatric term and is relatively new, coined in the 90’s. Roberto Olivardia, PhD wrote the first article in 1996 describing bigorexia/muscle dysmorphia. It’s also referred to as Adonis Complex. Some refer to it as reverse anorexia, and it’s part of the spectrum of body dysmorphic disorders. It’s like this:

Anorexic: I’m so fat. I can never be thin enough, even if it kills me.

Bigorexic: I’m so small. I can never be big enough, even if it kills me.

There are multiple criteria that need to be filled to make the diagnosis. I wanted the character in this story to exhibit most, if not all, of these traits. So I already had a fully fleshed out character. I wanted my character to be the ultimate bigorexic, not just using steroids, but site enhancement oils too.

I get the whole concept of wanting to be big, muscular. Training like crazy, dieting. Feels great. I even understand the desire to use anabolic steroids, to get to new levels. I mean, you still need to train like an animal, eat right. It’s damn hard work. Muscle doesn’t just “happen”.

BUUUUTTT. Injecting site enhancement oils. Man, that’s a whole different ball game. Instant size with no work. Once I started researching, I was hooked. Fascinated. Googled, “synthol freaks,” and was blown away by what I saw.

Who does this?

To this extent?


Site enhancement oils were first developed by a German bodybuilder, Chris Clark in the early 90’s, as a way to fine-tune right before a contest. Just a few cc’s. Maybe if the calves were weak, you could give them a little boost. Or maybe one bicep was a tad smaller, asymmetric, you could add a bit of oil right before a show, even things out.

BUUUUTTT. Some people just can’t control themselves.

It’s a disease.

Now, there’s a story.

Glenn Gray has numerous stories published both online and in print. He has stories forthcoming in Shotgun Honey, Pulp Modern, Needle and Beat to a Pulp: Round 2.


Anonymous said...

Patti - Thanks for hosting Glenn.

Glenn - Thanks for sharing a little about this whole world of those who feel so compelled to build up their bodies. And I'll bet your character was really interesting for having that particular syndrome...

Al Tucher said...

And a creepily great story it is!

Charles Gramlich said...

Definitely a great title. Some of these titles, as you say, scream out for a story to follow.

EA said...

What a story. I love how you have taken a human phenomenon from our culture today and placed it in a story so anybody can understand it.

redhedkev said...

A web search of synthol freaks is very unsettling. Nice job freaking us all out Glenn! ;-)

Matt said...

I have read this guy's stuff, don't let his goofy photo fool you, he is on a tear. His characters are becoming increasingly neurotic and interesting. He mentions a book, I hope he completes it. He has the potential to deliver something that will really blow people away---expose the whole ugly underbelly of ego to the light of day: "the greatest antiseptic."

Paul D Brazill said...

The way he tells it, along with the pic, makes it seem so ..normal. Beaut!

David Cranmer said...

Glenn can hook a reader faster than anyone I know. And with such offbeat topics at that. Thanks again for sending "Bigorexia" my way, sir.

Ron Scheer said...

I knew about bigorexia but thought the site enhancement oils were something you made up. Either way, it made a great story and thanks for the story behind the story. Used to live near that scene on Venice Beach. You are right; there's a story in every person working out there--not to mention all the voyeuring.

Glenn Gray said...

Patti, thanks for having me, and David, many thanks for publishing the story.

And to the others, appreciate you stopping by and commenting!

pattinase (abbott) said...

My pleasure.