Anima — the unconscious or true inner self of an individual — the soul.
The Trouble with Furries opens and closes with this line. The book is a dark psychological journey traversing through the 1990's gay club scene. The original manuscript involved a lost soul, told in a tone reminiscent of a mashup of Trainspotting, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, and what you would imagine Studio 54 to have been like. I felt the story was too much of a downer and needed a twist.
The first time I met a furry was in Arizona in 2006 — I did not even know what the term “furry” meant. His name was Devon and both of us had begun a security job at the same time. During training, I noticed that he had a wolf tail attached to his belt. My curiosity was piqued and I decided to ask him about it. At first, he did not want to talk about it, but after a few days of prying, he opened up about his involvement in a strange anthropomorphic world. He had a Myspace page with a profile picture of him donning a horse fur suit — one that he had borrowed. Devon had a strong desire to buy one of his own. The cost was prohibitive, but he was saving to meet the couple of thousand dollars needed to purchase it. Apparently, there was a whole community that he was engaged with over the internet. His dream was to get the suit and go to a furry convention in California. Devon's story was bizarre yet interesting, especially seeing the look of obsession in his eyes when he described the furry world. There is an uncanny gleam of excitement when someone shares their devotion. For a few months I talked with him and heard his stories. As our friendship grew, we saw the film, Eragon, which features a talking dragon. Devon was convinced that it was an interspecies love story. Devon knew I was a writer and wanted me to write a book about furries, but we ultimately lost touch. I filed all of it away until 2013, when I decided to write the story.
Furries was the twist I needed for my dark story to make it into something unique. The animalistic characteristics functioned as a metaphor to a more base human nature. The protagonist of the story, Daniel, is not only coming out into the underworld of sex, drugs, and techno — he is also coming out as a furry, a wolf. I researched the furry community and discovered two disparate aspects. One was a world of creativity and pretend, while the other was a twist on identity and fetish culture. I do not fully understand what it feels like to be a furry, yet I can imagine one's desire to change and be someone or something else. The psychology is fascinating. The story drew me in, yet felt unnatural to me all at the same time. This uncomfortable feeling assured me to see it through as the book took on a new dynamic. Modified with animalistic terms, it became a cautionary tale that dips into dark fantasy.
The Trouble with Furries is the last of my revised previously published works. All my past content has been changed and repurposed during 2017, building a back catalog. I am content to let the past stand, imperfect and strange, and move on to new works in the coming year and beyond.