“That was my first brush with death, the final form of violence.”
It’s a cliché that all literature revolves around sex and death, but there’s more than a bit of truth to it. Even in our sanitized, civilized world, sex and violence, when we experience them, often turn out to be defining moments in our lives. Whether its losing our virginity to dealing with a bunny boiler, joining the military to witnessing a DUI, bloodletting and bumping uglies remain the anchors around which the human experience is moored.
Scattered Scenes of Sex and Violence is Benjamin Welton’s comedic, frank look at lust and death. Comprising 14 episodes from Welton’s own life, he relays his failed sexual escapades, run-ins with his own mortality, and more with brutal honesty and a clear voice.
This collection includes several stories published by Terror House Magazine in 2019.
“Benjamin Welton’s Scattered Scenes of Sex and Violence is a remarkable book that defies categorization. Part-memoir, part-social commentary on the millennial generation, Welton weaves his narrative through ‘scattered’ experiences with a diverse number of individuals, vignettes that aptly portray, like a movie, different scenes in the life of the author that smoothly shift from comedy to horror to a poignancy for something better that lives within the pages. Welton’s portrayal of the millennials is as a ‘lost generation,’ as Gertrude Stein once said. The heart of darkness in humanity dances across the pages in the form of meaningless sex, ear-destroying heavy metal music, unending boredom that is punctuated by an eternity of college beer pong tournaments. For the millennials there is nothing to look back upon as meaningful, and the future seems just as empty. Yet the poignancy is there in the beginning of the narrative when he writes, ‘We were on our way to see my grandparents. They have been married since 1953. Whenever I think of them or whenever I visit them, I see a better version of America. A version of America that has been lost and will never come back without a lot of tragedy in between.’ For his generation, Welton believes the meaning that they seek is ‘we crave the grave and the bedroom above all.’ Welton’s generation has lost its soul, had it stolen away, or never had one to begin with. The pages bloom with existential emptiness, and though religion is mentioned several times in the work, it as almost as an afterthought, for there seems to be no true spirituality in this quixotic quest, whether rampaging across Eastern Europe, American beaches, or college campuses, some meaningless pop culture activity takes center stage, an assault on ennui that doesn’t work, all a form of American emptiness, a type of hypocritical tripe searching for meaning that just isn’t there, ‘no different from Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, or Miley.’ Welton’s book may become the classic work of presenting the millennial generation as a culture waiting for the sun to rise and illuminate the darkness. — Ralph Monday, author of Empty Houses and American Renditions and Bergman’s Island and Other Poems
Scattered Scenes of Sex and Violence is also available in e-book format. To purchase the e-book edition, click here.