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31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Little Things

During the Halloween season, people reach for the big scares: movies, haunted theme park rides, horror conventions, creepy costumes. And, I think, they neglect the little details that permeate our lives that are truly unsettling.

Take the following spam comment I got on one of my older entries:

“How should I tell him the bad news?He is respectful to his elders.What happened to you? Please fetch a chair from another room.Don’t forget to keep in touch.what a lovely little girl she is!what a lovely little girl she is!Follow me.Can I help you? Bob has always had a crush on Lucy.”

Spam is almost always nonsensical, but follows a thread of sanity. “I like entry. You should write more peanut allergy entry.” Mostly coherent, but on an entry in which I don’t mention allergies at all. That’s fine.

This one…this one makes no sense in the context of a comment. It just doesn’t fit. And I can’t help but try and put the comment into a context that makes sense.

She’s an older woman, in a room of white, floor, ceiling walls. She’s sitting on a cot, rocking back and forth, curled tightly in on herself. She doesn’t  stop talking, just a constant low murmur directed at no-one, her eyes drifting around the room in aimless directions. She’s worried, agitated.

“How should I tell him the bad news? He is respectful to his elders.” Rocking in time with the words, back and forth. She starts to cry. Crying with no sounds. “What happened to you?”, her hands reach up and clutch her thinning, grey hair. “Please…fetch a chair from the other room.” Tears run down in her face leaving bright tracks under fluorescent lights. “Don’t forget to keep in touch.”

Her tone changes. Fear, trickling into her tone, her breathing increases, becoming erratic.

“What a lovely little girl she is! What a lovely little girl she is!” Rocking back and forth, faster. The words a ward, a charm, spoken emphatically.

She stops rocking, her breathing back to normal in an instant, and turns to you.

“Can I help you?”

She smiles, revealing teeth too even and white to be anything but false.

“Bob always had a crush on Lucy”.

You hear footsteps behind you.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Gauntlet

Way back in the beginning, you may recall that I said that 31 Days of Spoooktacular was part of how I planned to force writing to become a habit for me. Writing has always been something I do sporadically, intermittently and with no true pattern. Even over the course of this year, where I’ve given myself the goal of writing ten entries a month, which I have done so far, I don’t evenly space those entries throughout the month. Usually they’re all shoved in at the end of the month and then I go on another, three week long sabbatical.

But with 31 Days of Spoooktacular, you get one entry a day, every day, for 31 days. And that’s great for me and great for you and everyone is happy, except for people who aren’t so interested in me writing about horror day in and day out. But, if you remember, I said that in order to successfully form a habit, you have to do it for around 70 days. I need to continue to write every day for another 30 days (and some change) before it becomes rigidly locked in as something I just do as an impulse.

It just so happens that there’s an event for the entire month of November that dovetails so nicely with my needs. That’s right, I’m doing NANOWRIMO. Again. But this time, I’m picking up that gauntlet and I am slapping NANOWRIMO in the face with it. I am going to write a 50,000 word novel and then some. The way I see it, I’ve been in training for NANOWRIMO this whole month, a light workout to get me into shape for what’s to come.

And by the end of it, I’ll be the better for it, I think. I’ll have mastered a skill that has eluded me almost my whole life; the ability to stick with something through to the very end. I’ll work on a project, sometimes very close to the ending point and then just sputter out, within spitting distance of the finish line.

But not this year. I can feel it. I have the idea that I want to write about. I have the tools to write it. And here, on October 24th, I think I’ve managed to prove that I have the ability to sit down in front of the computer everyday and put words to screen and keep going long after the point in which I should have stopped.

I have never written a novel, though I have tried. For me, just finishing one, even it’s terrible, will be a triumph of sorts. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

31 Days of Spoooktacular, for all of it’s goofiness and beer tasting and horror conventions, is just the beginning.

-D-

PS Check out my profile here and cheer me on all next month. Or not. It’s fine.

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: A Repeat

I’m copping out tonight. Not for any real reason, except that maybe I don’t want to put you through some half-assed attempt at something. Instead I’ll just pull something out of the long ago for you to read. There are two reasons why this entry might seem familiar:
A) You’ve been reading my blog for over a year. Good for you.
B) You bought my book of horror short stories for less than a dollar and recognize the Introduction. Even better for you!
I hope you enjoy reading it, if you haven’t already.

Since I write horror, I often feel the need to defend it. It’s the creepy, inbred cousin in the writing family, the one that you just know is going to pull an Ed Gein and live in a house decorated with body part furniture he got from a satanic Ikea.

For me horror, in most of its forms, functions as a way for people to deal with the horrors of everyday life. We all have little fears and worries that crop up; cancer, heart disease, car accidents, choking, Alzheimers, robbery, exploding suns, etc. And there’s really not much we can do about these things. Bad shit happens, sometimes there’s nothing you can do to avoid it and that’s just a fact.

But horror in fiction is our way of dealing with these mundane monsters. In the beginning of the story, we’re given something to be scared of. Our fears are crystallized into a palpable form, crammed into gruesome figures wearing hockey masks and waving machetes.

And then it’s dispatched. Sometimes with a magical talisman (silver bullets, crosses and holy water), sometimes the heroes just beat the crap out of it. The movie or book conjures up a boogeyman and then dismisses it by the time you hit the last page or the end credits.

And even if the monster’s end is ambiguous, his tale ending with a question mark rather than a full stop, you can tell yourself that it was only a story.

That’s something you can’t do in the real world. There are no silver bullets, holy water wouldn’t even chase off a goth kid and garlic is only good at being delicious.

Horror, at its best, lets you forget the real monsters, the terrible things that can happen in the every day, and, instead, gives you a fear that can actually be dealt with and vanquished.

-D-

 

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Halfway Point

It is now the 16th of October and the halfway point, or a little over the halfway point. 31 doesn’t really split equally very well.

I’m torn with how this is turning out. It’s really hard to write non-stop about one subject for 31 days and keep it interesting for both myself and the people reading. I kind of gave up on that a long time ago. It’s kind of like how NANWRIMO isn’t about writing a good novel, it’s just about writing a novel.

I’m trying to build some good habits here by writing every day and writing semi-coherently. And, so far, I think that’s mostly happening. Except for the days that I did a beer review that required the entire six pack. And I think it’s becoming slightly more natural to sit down in front of the computer and have words come out, in a way that it hasn’t in a long time.

In fact, in general, this year, has been a good year for the blog: More views, more subscribers, more likes. And every year has been an improvement. It’s not improving fast enough for my tastes and I’d like things to go more, but I’ll take what I can get at this point.

What I’m saying is, I’m kind of pleased with how the blog is going. I hope you are too.

But I need to think of something new to do tomorrow.

Think, think.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Reflection

I’m still reeling a bit from the convention yesterday. I’m not a person that really likes big crowds of people and I don’t like big crowds of exuberant people. So yesterday was a bit overwhelming.

But, as I mentioned briefly in my last blog entry yesterday, there is something invigorating about being surrounded by a bunch of people who are doing what you want to be doing, who are enjoying what you enjoy. I write, on occasion, horror, but I surround myself with the things I like and the things I’m familiar with and it doesn’t really do a lot to get me going creatively.

I need to and should, go outside of my comfort zone, trying new fictions, new places, new art forms. The convention, in a lot of ways, was not geared toward someone like me. I don’t wave my freak flag high. I keep it locked in a chest in the basement behind a padlocked door. There were people with fangs and people with spines showing and and people on stilts and people with mohawks (!!!!!).

And all the things! There were posters and toys and little sculptures and pins and paintings and indie films and actors and make-up artists and authors and pythons.

It was overwhelming and wearying and tiring and by the end, I needed a sit down.

But I’m ready to start contributing again, I think. Ready to start putting those stories back out there and wincing as they’re sent back to me, but sending them out again anyway.

It’s about adding to that wonderful cacophony of scary that I saw on Sunday. It’s about going back there one day, not as a gawker or a viewer or a spectator, but as a maker.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Rock and Shock (The Prequel)

I know I’ve already talked about this once already, but I cannot stress enough how excited I am about Rock and Shock. Pinhead and Michael Myers and Jason and Candyman are all going to be in the same room together at the same time. And I will do my best not to call them that to their faces.

It’ll also be interesting to be in a place where I’m not the biggest horror freak. There be hundreds of other people there, all of them either on my level or more so. I will blend in and fit in with the crowd and that will be nice.

Horror, both in movies and in books, has been a driving force in my writing. It’s what helped me decide that I want to be a writer. It helped me decide what I want to write about. It gave me focus for something that needs to be focused in order to be useful.

It’s important to me in a way that other genres, that I also love, are not. It fuels my creative drive and that is a vital, important thing and Rock and Shock is a way to actually meet the people who make that genre possible.

There will be giddy squealing, is what I’m saying.

-D-

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Entry X

So! For the second time this year, I’ve forced myself to write ten entries in a single day. I’d feel bad about making this last entry a cop-out, wrap-up entry, but I don’t.

So there.

In the future, I’d like to avoid this little bit of tom foolery. Shouldn’t be too hard. All I have to do is actually update my blog in a reasonable fashion so that I have the proper number of entries up per month.

Ha!

Anyway, it’s been fun, but I’d really like to go watch Hellraiser now. If, for some reason, you missed any of the entries I wrote today just click on the following links.

Entry IX

Entry VIII

Entry VII

Entry VI

Entry V

Entry IV

Entry III

Entry II

Entry I

 

Thank you and good night,

-D-

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