PLOTHOLE Authors After Dark: An Interview with TheDirtySpiders

The cover for Pipe Repair by TheDirtySpiders

The Dirty Spiders

Spiders is an amateur gay erotic writer from Ireland. He joined GaySpiralStories in the middle of 2019 as a refugee from the Tumblr porn ban. He is now one of the site’s deputy admins and maintains an active presence on the site’s discord. His stories revolve around magic, psychology, abstraction and romance, and his taste revolves around gay bears, beards, object/inanimate transformation, bizarre romances, tobacco, stocky men, and, any ol’ thing he dreams up or encounters during kink roleplay.

Spiders is also a long-suspected, recently diagnosed, DCD/Dyspraxic and has graciously received editing and punctuation help for his entry in this story compilation. His home profile is visible here

This interview is part of a series with the 10 contributors to the PLOTHOLE: Loregasm Edition bundle

time.to.occur: All right, and here we are with The Dirty Spiders! Thanks for being here with me, Spiders!

The Dirty Spiders: Thanks for having me and doing all this.

T: Very happy to do it!

So here’s my first question: what is the origin of your pen name? (I’ve actually wondered about this for a long time.)

TDS: I wondered about how much to say about that. In the end, I decided I would just spit it out, warts and all. 

‘The Dirty Spiders’ is what my spirit guide calls people. People as in, us, humans. 

After a gig a few years ago with my band, we were sitting around and learned how to do shamanic journeys. I did it for a laugh, but it was very interesting, it’s like a waking dream. So yeah. That’s the pen name. 

T: That’s amazing — it sounds like a pretty powerful experience! And I mean, humans are a pretty strange bunch.

TDS: They’re very dirty, I mean, wouldn’t they be the only animals that truly pollute? 

The ‘dirty’ as in dirty/kink etc was a happy coincidence. 

T: I heard that a human bite is one of the ones most likely to give you an infection, for example.

And yeah, that is a nice coincidence for sure!

TDS: I’d say it depends on the human. Recently mouth-washed, probably less so. 

T: Your intro mentions that your stories revolve around certain kinks, as well as “any ol’ thing you dream up, and encounter during roleplay.” Do a lot of your story ideas come out of roleplay? 

TDS: Some do. 

The main source of my ideas are from the wheelhouse of my brain, so to speak. However, some of them are from RPing with other people. I like when I get an idea or a story I need to write from an RP session, just, a scenario that my mind wouldn’t have got to by itself, but is enamoured with it now it sees it.

Off the top of my head, A Strange Nap and Mating with Pops came about from Role Playing for example. 

T: That makes sense for it to be a mix. Is roleplaying something that you do often? And which do you find easier, roleplaying or doing solo writing?

TDS: Good question, and I don’t know. When I joined GSS first I Role Played all the time. I took it very seriously and I would involve even the normal public channels. My DM was my office; I would physically place myself in whichever discord I was writing in, and I would use characters from my lore to populate my RPing with other discord users. 

I guess writing solo will always be difficult for me, and RPing less ‘mechanically’ difficult, but I don’t RP any more because I feel I’ve “scratched the itch” and I’m done with it. Hopefully, I will always write solo. 

Hopefully my writing will stick and always be a part of who I am. 

T: That’s a really interesting shift! And a really interesting set of practices to start with. 

And I hear you — finding that outlet that really makes sense is so worthwhile. I hope it will be, too!

What is something unique to you — a special skill, a particular experience, or a challenge that you face — and how do you think that it has shaped or impacted your writing practice?

TDS: Skill, my brain. I was a deep thinker very young. I was a deep thinker young enough to not know that what I was doing was deep thinking. As such I spent a long time taking my mind for granted; my creativity, my lateral thinking, my oddness in problem-solving. I don’t take it for granted anymore, now I treasure it, but it took me growing up to get there, to realize what I had and how valuable it is. 

Challenge, hands down my Dyspraxia. I got diagnosed last year but I always knew there was something up. I always suspected things were just a little bit too difficult to be reasonable; that I clearly make more errors and slip-ups than your average. 

Soren Fitz (Author and Audience Member): I definitely resonate with coming to cherish that. It can take a while to realise what’s unique about us and come to love it, when we can.

Noam de Pluma (Author and Audience Member): I just looked up Dyspraxia, as I was unfamiliar with it. Very interesting, and I can only imagine how that would manifest in and impact your daily experience.

TDS: It manifests in everyone slightly differently too.

T: Like Soren, I really resonate with the idea of coming to value a part of yourself that others might see as odd or strange, that capacity to think in ways that others don’t. 

And sometimes those diagnoses can really help things fall into place, help us be more gentle with ourselves or get help that we need. Or just… be a bit of a puzzle piece that makes other experiences make more sense!

If you want to talk about it (and don’t feel that you have to), has having a diagnosis changed anything for you?

TDS: Yes. several things in subtle ways. 

It means in job interviews and academic interviews I can cite the disorder rather than having to swallow hard and say, “I am stupid, forgetful, clumsy and error-prone.” 

T: Oof, and yet we know that you recognize your own amazing creative capacity for lateral thinking and creative problem solving! But I imagine that having a disability also might have made you come down hard on yourself about mistakes before you knew that there was something else going on. I’m glad it gives you that chance. 

TDS: I will always be hard on myself insomuch as making mistakes frustrates me, and I am easily frustrated and I am constantly making mistakes.

But I know that the disorder is there also means it’s something I can give my inner critic, my inner judge. It’s remedial leeway for my inner critic as such as outer critics.

T: That makes a lot of sense to me. A way to fight the negative self-talk a bit.

TDS: Plus if you criticise yourself hard, you can compensate by loving yourself hard too and then it’s like…a wide continuum, but an even one. 

Bam. How’s that for lateral thinking 😁.

T: Haha, excellent lateral thinking. If there’s a lot of swinging between the two but you know to expect it, I guess it’s a matter of finding what works for you.

TDS: And trying not to fuck over others with your wildly swinging mannerisms. The wilder a character you know yourself to be, the quicker and more humbly you gotta accept when others say, “Ouch, you hurt me,” or “Hey, that’s mean, did you mean to be so mean?” etc.

T: You joined GSS in 2019 after the tumblr ban, and you’re now a moderator and admin. What has been your biggest surprise about joining a community of gay kink authors?

TDS: That everyone here is the same as people everywhere else. There are hurting people, confused people, non-confused people, confidant people, loving people, sensitive people.

T: Ohhh, so your expectation was that it might be different?

TDS: Possibly, but I think as we grow up we learn to not depend on our stereotypes or prejudices too much. 

I might have guessed maybe hornier? maybe ruder?

T: I hear that! I might have expected the same.

So, you’ve been with this community for a few years now. What is the kind of community feedback that keeps you writing? What’s a comment or reaction that has stuck with you?

TDS: I sometimes get comments like “This is life-changing” “wow, this was amazing.” 

My work is more like armour-piercing rifle rounds than shotgun blasts. It appeals to very few people, but for those few people, there are a significant number of crit hits.

If I can be sombre for a moment, one of my last series (On GSS, now GCS) got the attention of a guy who’d recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness. He said the story reminded him of his past relationships, and at a time when he was contemplating the end of his life. We exchanged some emails and stories for a short few weeks. 

I believe the last email I sent to him, I talked about a university Professor of mine who died in a freak accident. I only knew him – this Professor – for about three months but he was a life-changing figure in my life. 

As was this commenter earlier this year. 

Equally, I haven’t spoken to this user since our exchange earlier this year and he may well be dead and buried by now. 

Noam de Pluma: Whoa. Powerful stuff.

TDS: The experience taught me that there is nothing you can do, which – if it connects with other people – is pointless. In fact, doing stuff that connects with other people is probably the most important thing we can possibly do as human beings; even more so than our mortality. 

Singing opera? Connection. 

Writing songs? Connection. 

Painting the Mona Lisa? Connections. 

Writing porn? Connections.

T: That is truly powerful stuff. Thank you so much for sharing it.

TDS: It almost doesn’t matter what the medium or subject is, which, with a divine sense of comedy, is even true of writing kink and fetish stuff for strangers to wank to.

Sorry, to round off the question: yes. My comments and feedback tend to be very few and often potent.

T: The human connection is the point, it sounds like <3.

Well, honestly, those sound like truly special moments.

TDS: The human connection is almost unavoidable, so long as you’re doing anything “and you mean it.”

T: I hear you – sincerity and vulnerability can be extremely powerful.

TDS: I’ll try to answer the next question with slightly less philosophical gravitas. But only slightly.

T: It was a pleasure to hear your well-considered answer.

Let’s turn to the process that goes into these stories that are clearly deeply impactful to the people who connect with them. Robert Hass says, “It’s hell writing and it’s hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.” Discuss. Or, to put the question another way, what’s your writing practice like and how do you hold space for it?

TDS: It’s basically a feral kitten, fighting for a teat like everything else.

T: Now there’s a metaphor!

TDS: It’s a strong one though, and certainly not a runt anymore. 

My music and singing (my real-life job) is probably the pick of the litter. 

I write when I am compelled to write, I sing when I’m compelled to sing, I waste time and play video games when I am compelled to do that. 

I know it’s not the healthiest, but I manage the arena and oversee balance patches rather than try to micromanage my passions and vices. Trying to keep a fickle and capricious brain, but also a compulsive one, in your good books, like me with my brain, is a bit like managing a circus. 

My writing – I hope – is fine. I will continue to write and I will often feel the urge to write and feed that urge. 

T: I hear you. It’s hard to manage those impulses sometimes, and sometimes curbing also feels… bad.

TDS: Yeah, if you keep slapping your dragon on the nose, your dragon will start to resent you.

I have a compulsive brain that I’ve bent into being reasonable.

T: A dragon being a pretty unique and magical creature to have access to, though also wild and unpredictable.

TDS: If I chain it up too much, I lose my fire and my creativity; it stops bringing me things it hunts.

T: What’s the moment-to-moment process of your writing like, if you want to speak to that?

TDS: It’s hell.

I hate it more than anything and it’s the worst part.

T: Ahh, you, me and Robert Hass! Same page. (Though I do like writing when it’s going well.)

TDS: Because I’m writing gibberish. 

I’m writing something that I know will need nine editorial passes to be legible.

T: That sounds very daunting!

TDS:  It’s like I’m signing up for a 6-hour gauntlet of rubbing my face in how useless I am with language. I did an aptitude test once years and years ago to test for ADD, Autism, or something. Dyspraxia was not as well studied at the time and the therapist missed it as a possibility. 

In the language part of the test, I remember I got an 80. Like my language centre working alone without help was IQ 80.

T: That sounds intimidating. What was your reaction to that?

TDS: It made sense. 

That was all I remember thinking at the time.

T: And after that?

TDS: Spatial cognition was super high. Not like, what’s the word? Not ‘Rain Man’, but like, hitting 130 and that was as high as the test went.

I just accepted it and accepted that my brain was kinda funky and weird. I even went to university after that, still undiagnosed.

T: I’m glad that you continued on!

TDS: I feel I’ve fallen back into dyspraxia chat. 

Ehh… to summarise, I hate the writing process, but we have learned to tolerate each other. We are allies of necessity. 

T: ‘Allies of necessity’ is a great button to put on that, I think. 

Let’s talk about things that are a little less hellish!

What do you like to read in queer porn? How do your tastes in reading differ from your tastes in writing?

TDS: For reading, I don’t care how good or bad an idea is presented. I voraciously consume concepts and ideas.

I started reading by scouring CYOC and places for the weirdest concepts, no matter how badly edited or written.

T: Is novelty and weirdness a part of what you enjoy the most?

TDS: Novelty, no. Weirdness, not necessarily, but very often incidentally. I find truly free ideas tend to be incidentally weird anyways.

T: I hear you! So you don’t necessarily have a particular set of things you like to read?

TDS: No, well, yes. But it’s not searchable. 

Like you can’t open a browser and search for “truly abstract, freely developed ideas.”

T: Yeah, that’s a hard one to tag!

TDS: It’s a bit like people who like eclectic taste in music, of a certain era, you can’t Google “song I would like, from the early 90’s.”

Oh, good example. I like Love, Death and Robots on Netflix.  I mean it’s not amazing but it seems to be tied together by the concept of “animate an idea, put it in the series.”

T: I hear that! And they’re short so maybe it matters less if each one is perfectly appealing. Like, it’s about the ideas.

As much as the technical execution — which is usually beautiful/amazing.

Okay, let’s stick with what you like. Which of your favourite kink/erotica tropes do you think is the most unusual? What are your top three?

TDS: Lets see…

I’ll put them in order after.

Father / step father / friends father (like, the trope of someone’s father being in a kink story.) 

I think it’s just a ready-made knot of psychology and plot-stock all in one single word.

T: It definitely has built-in dynamics!

TDS: Yes. Built-in everything.

Knock at a door, a big man with a beard answers, “That’s for me, Dad.” You have dynamic, exposition, weirdness, everything.

Ehh… number two…

T: That’s a side of it that I hadn’t considered!

TDS: Object transformation. I’m gonna fly the home flag here. Object transformation is often the runt of the litter. When you consider how big Furries are, and body transformation, and BDSM and Hypnosis. Object transformation is like in one tiny corner, so I’m gonna fly the flag for that.

T: Actually, I have a question about that for later on, but I hear you. There’s not a ton of content for it out there comparatively!

TDS: Number three: tobacco/cigars.

And I say that because… I mean think about that for a second. Why?

I have that fetish myself, strongly, but it just doesn’t make any sense. What’s sexy-as-in-erection-inducing about cigars? I almost love how absolutely nonsensical it is. 

Maybe it’s inferred primitive social status? 

T: Have you read Cigar Monitor by E. S. Morwood? That’s a story that I found very interesting, though I have some personal hang-ups about smoke and tobacco.

TDS: Oh I have all the hang-ups in the world about it.

T: I guess that’s the thing about kink, right?

TDS: Yes, but at least some kinks almost make sense. 

T: The taboo/fear/revulsion response is definitely tied in there.

TDS: Sometimes I try to define it this way. 

A phobia is an irrational fear, and a fetish is an irrational aphrodisiac. 

Like it’s not a phobia to be afraid of a lion, it’s just actual instinctual survival sense. 

It’s not a fetish to be turned on by an attractive body, it’s just actual instinctual procreative sense. 

Whereas it is a phobia to be deathly afraid of olives. 

And it is a fetish to be massively turned on by rubber. 

T: That makes sense!

Here’s question from another author: “Who are some of the smut authors who have been influential on your work? Are you in dialogue with any authors who influence you now?”

So, sort of extending the previous question to particular authors and their approaches.

TDS: I don’t like saying anyone influences me, because it’s not a fair accusation. I am influenced by no one, but also, by everyone I’ve ever spoken to. 

You know the cow in the hurricane? 

T: Tell me about the cow in the hurricane.

TDS: If a cow gets picked up by a hurricane and spun several times and then dings a petrol pump (poor cow, by the way), the farmer both did and did not “influence” the gas station owner. 

What was more influential was the hurricane. 

T: Okay, so maybe another way to pose this question is, are there authors you admire?

TDS: 😬

T: Or that you find yourself returning to?

Hahaha, you don’t have to answer. I just didn’t expect this one to be the question that was a bit too yikes!

TDS: I am a fan of Cockatrice; and sometimes people compare our work. I admire Nocturne, even though I haven’t read his book, just a short story or two. 

I think whoever I read at the moment, I spend my time admiring them, but then eventually my mind returns to focusing on the hurricane rather than the owner of each cow, motorbike or bale of hay swirling in the storm. 

T: That makes sense! It’s hard to say where those influences start and end.

TDS: My gritting teeth emoji was, as an Irish person it’s against my nature to name names because I will invariably have to leave people out or else make a list of everyone I know who writes.

Including you. Including Martin, etc.

T: I just learned a cultural thing!

Let’s turn back to your work and, specifically, Pipe Repair.

Your work in the PLOTHOLE bundle, Pipe Repair, deals with what might almost be described as a bit of a curse – a family of people who gain the ability to transform into the first inanimate object that someone asks them to. From then on, that’s their form whenever they transform, for the rest of their lives. They’re still able to think in that form, although it seems to affect their minds. Can you talk through what drew you to this kink and what you find compelling about it?

You’ve talked a bit about object-based TF already.

TDS: Yeah, the family curse business is basically the fastest possible way to cut to the chase (which is allowable in my universal lore) and get on with exploring the object transformation. 

What drew me to Object TF was the idea that you’re dealing purely with someone’s identity.

Not their identity-as-a-person, just their identity; humanity taken out of the equation.

T: Right — that’s really interesting, since embodied experiences do shape identity. So when you take a person out of their body and the things that people think about them in that body, what happens?

TDS: The answer there being, “Yes exactly: indeed what happens!?”

T: Ahaha, I guess people will have to read Pipe Repair, hmm? 

TDS: Well I hope they do, but actually I’m also trying to make a difficult point. Let me form a metaphor.

Say you have “Billy the werewolf”, and Billy the werewolf as a human is:

Greedy for money. 

Self-cynical. 

And is deeply in love with “Lucy.”

Bam. Full moon; Lucy runs away screaming. 

Billy as a werewolf is:

Bloodthirsty. 

Vicious. 

Deeply in love with Lucy. 

Story reaches a climax, the werewolf is gentle with Lucy and their love transforms him back to human Billy. 

Basically, his ‘love for Lucy’ has become isolated and made special, by the fact it’s more ‘fundamentally him’ to love Lucy, than it is for him to be, e.g., greedy for money, self-cynical, bloodthirsty or vicious; those bits are just his human and/or werewolf situation talking. 

When you transform a person into an object, what you depict as consistent in their behaviour or character becomes more truly them, than their gender, their species (human), their age etc. 

T: Like a sort of distillation, no matter how those traits came to be in the first place.

TDS: When you take a person out of their body, you the author can write about what is fundamentally in that character’s nature, by writing about what is lost and/or retained by the transformation or loss/change of body. 

T: That is so interesting to think about!

I have a few more questions for you, if that’s all right with you?

TDS: Sure.

T: Did you work with any other authors in preparing for PLOTHOLE (either on your work or theirs)? How do you find collaborating with others on something as personal and “transgressive” as porn?

TDS: I had Dace edit for me, and you did some as well 😁.

Collaboration is cool. I happen not to, but more from laziness and erratic workflow, than by choice. 

I have a project with Daddy Aragon on the long long finger.

I know it will be good when I finally get around to starting it.

T: I hear you — finding the time when the muses are capricious and time is short can be pretty challenging.

In your own body of work, do you have a favourite story, a favourite character, or any other favourite elements? You’re allowed to pick more than one, and I promise I won’t tell any of them.

TDS: More teeth-gritting. I do love my characters and stories to all hell and back.

T: Aww, you don’t have to pick favourites. I hear you there. 

TDS: The entire Family in my Seahorse series; I feel like I know them like family.

Alien pop and human father, accidental male pregnancy, their children are human-alien hybrids, gender fluidity, identity crises, etc.

Yarif in Monster Act and Jack the Gorilla furry are tied for favourite character. 

OH DAMN, I forgot.

OK, my favourite character is Manny. He’s not been in any stories I’ve published yet, but he has been in my Role Playing. The story he gets created in didn’t make the cut (along with lots of my deeper lore stories; not enough sex in them) so he’s kinda just floating in limbo along with lots of my characters who, until there is a story they might feature in, won’t actually be appearing anywhere except RPing. But when I snuck a look at the questions earlier, I said I’d say Manny.

T: Ohhh, tell me about Manny!

TDS: I’m going to keep it short, in case I publish it later or retrospectively.

In my overarching lore, my magician character is, I guess, the “Iron Man” of my universe. In one of the more dangerous threats to the earth in recent years he turned a massively dangerous extraterrestrial entity into a harmless middle-aged chubby happy man who just loves cuddling and fucking, and is amazing at sex (there are very convoluted reasons for this).

He was created accidentally by needing to save the world. 

T: That sounds charming!

TDS: He has been living with some of the magician’s friends for the last few years and learning about, you know, life, wearing clothes, how not everything revolves around sex. 

He’s somewhere between the happy version of Buu from Dragon Ball, Vision, Eleven, etc., but just a powerless, happy-go-lucky mid-thirties human being. 

There was another part of that question.

T: Oh, that sounds like a really fun exploration!

TDS: Favourite situation: not a canned answer, but the pipe transformation in Pipe Repair

I chose it for the collection because it was and is the truest distillation of that Object-TF idea. I really scratched a fundamental itch, both metaphorically and actually, when I finished the story.

Favourite story: Seahorse. 

Favourite character: Manny (Jack and Yarif tied second).

Fav situation/element; the pipe transformation in Pipe Repair.

T: Thank you for these! It’s great to hear which characters and situations have stuck with you.

What else do you want us to know about your story in the PLOTHOLE bundle and any other stories in there?

TDS: Ehh…

I’m searching for an evil grin emoji.

There is a major easter egg that is all but invisible in Pipe Repair.

T: Ohhh, well now. How will readers know if they find it?

TDS: It is known only to me and the…less than a handful of people I’ve told.

They will have to just theorise, and then assume they’re correct. It will be like a “fridge door” realization. It’s not something I’ve written in, it’s just something I know to be the case (as the lore lives in my brain), which, the story does not contradict. 

And that’s all you get!

T: Aha, very mysterious!

Any shoutouts, last words, rude remarks, or requests for anyone reading this?

TDS: Sure. 

Tits, bum, arse, shit, vulva.

Find a story of mine on GSS and rate it amazingly highly; some of them have so few ratings that they’ve not even got their starting scores yet, AND I’M MEANT TO BE AN ADMIN OVA HERE!!

T: Heheheh, you heard the Spiders, folks! Feed your authors!

Thanks for the deep-dive into your experience, Spiders!

TDS: Thanks for the very professional and awesome interview.

T: My pleasure! ^_^

TDS: Not as much pleasure as the last word.

👉 😁 👉

PLOTHOLE: Loregasm Edition is a bundle of 10 authors, 17 stories, available until June 15th 2022 on itch.io. It contains porn with plot, stories with worldbuilding and lore alongside some very hot erotica. 

You can find Pipe Repair along with 16 other stories here