Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bad tastes

by Josh

Let's take a journey through one of my favorite cookbooks, the Diagnosis and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR).
I just love this book. It's insane!

The DSM-IV offers a smörgåsbord of 15 (yes, 15!) categories of clinical disorders. And you thought the menu at your local diner was expansive. Best of all, each disorder comes with free nuts.

By far the most popular category is Mood Disorders, because you never know when you'll be in the right mood to go off the deep end. Some of the recipes in this category include Bipolar Disorder (Sherlock Holmes edition) and Depression (Roderick Usher variant). In my first novel, Nuclear Winter Wonderland, my villain was a manic-depressive nuclear terrorist. Here he would fit right in.

My favorite of Dick Wolf's cop shows, Law & Order: DSM (ha), pulls many of its cases from the hearty appetizers known as Sexual Disorders. And here you thought all sexual disorders were related? Only incest, my friend. Sexual disorders can range from issues of gender identity (see, Norman Bates technically wasn't psycho), paraphilia (don't stand so close to me, Humbert Humbert), and that come-one, come-all: sexual dysfunction. The titular villain of my second novel in the Esme series, Before Cain Strikes, suffers from this one, but that's actually a secret not revealed until my third novel in the series, because if there's one thing I can't abide, it's premature manifestation.

By far the glitziest page in our cookbook is devoted to Psychotic Disorders. Some entrees you can choose from here include such juicy dishes as schizophrenia (patron saint: Joan) and delusions (patron saint: Adolf). For an alternative, if you're already especially pleased with yourself, sample a Personality Disorder. There's the obsessive-compulsive (yes, you, Mr. Monk) and the borderline (be careful with that ax, Lizzie) and the personal favorite of my villain in my novel While Galileo Preys: paranoia.

As for me? Like Jeannie I gravitate toward the busy platters offered by the Anxiety Disorders. Unlike Jeannie, I tend to favor Panic Disorder, which I enjoy so much that I decided to bless one of the supporting characters in While Galileo Preys with its succulence. Want to know what a full-blown panic attack feels like? Oh, who doesn't! It's all there in lucky Chapter 13.

I could go on and on about the DSM-IV. Certainly the DSM-IV goes on and on. And I haven't even gotten to Somatoform Disorders or Adjustment Disorders or Impulse-Control Disorders or...oh, it's crazy how many recipes are offered here. Really, take your time with it. Don't bite off more than you can chew (because that would be an Eating Disorder).

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to bounce.

One of the advantages of living in a rubber room.

9 comments:

Sophie Littlefield said...

wow. you make me want to put this in my research library. i need another such book like a hole in the head (ha!) but I keep thinking it could make for much richer 2ndary characters

Rebecca Cantrell said...

I want to buy a DSM now! It sounds so delicious.

Thanks for the great post, Josh!

Enjoy the bouncing!

Joshua Corin said...

Sophie & Becky, it's a really helpful reference book for cracking those crackhead secondary characters...but be warned: you will begin to start diagnosing yourself with all sorts of funny ailments...

Gabi said...

I'm so glad you're not a premature manifester.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Gabi, he SAYS he's not a premature manifester. But only his editor knows for sure.

Gabi said...

Rebecca,
You are absolutely correct. We won't KNOW unless we KNOW. And if we did KNOW, we'd hardly be likely to go blabbing around town although I will naturally expect you to tell me.

Joshua Corin said...

All rumors of my premature manifestation have been greatly exaggerated...because size does not matter.

Shane Gericke said...

Sounds like some great bedtime reading, Josh, that DSM.

But for the love of god, don't mention premature manifesting to anyone else. Glaxo and Pfizer might hear and create a whole new ad campaign starring a gecko humping a weird insurance woman in two bathtubs: "Manifesting early? Buy PRENO and slow till you're sho ..." Then stuff it into every nook and cranny of Law & Order, the nightly news, and reruns of Matlock till we scream for relief. Whereupon there will be another drug ...

Gabi said...

You might want to add 'delusional disorder' if you think that size doesn't matter. Or histrionic personality disorder for buying into that myth from the locker room. Let me tell you, the story in the women's changing room is totally different.