Archive for June, 2014

me: “Damn. I overslept this morning.”
other: “Til when? Eight or something?”
me: “Five.”
*cue incredulous stare*

Tis a conversation that I’ve had many times to my amusement. The fact that I tend to (voluntarily, without a gun to my head) get up most days between two and three in the morning, tends to bestow upon me more odd looks than if I had announced I came from planet Romulan or danced naked beneath a grove of Cypress trees. A little understandable considering that some article I came across (and of course, can’t find now) stated that only about three percent of people rose before the sun.

Yet a few days ago, I was speaking with a new friend of mine (a musician) and to my surprise, he didn’t blink at all. Rather, he nodded. “I used to love getting up at 3 am. I used to do some of my best work then.”

me: “Yes! It’s so peaceful. The whole world seems to be asleep except for me.”

Then my friend brought up Jung and his theories on the collective unconscious, which got me thinking…perhaps it wasn’t just the serenity of the hour, but the fact that so many people were in the midst of sleeping which heightened my senses, my creativity. Could I not be tapping into some of their dreams and nightmares?

While some writers believe their stories fully come from within themselves, there are others who believe they are tapping into something “other”. As Isabel Allende said, “I spend ten, twelve hours a day alone in a room writing. I don’t talk to anybody. I don’t answer the telephone. I’m just a medium or an instrument of something that is happening beyond me, voices that talk through me. I’m creating a world that is fiction but that doesn’t belong to me.”

While surely some of my beliefs and life experiences bleed into my work, I’ve always leaned more towards the second camp of thought. As I was discussing with a dear writer friend of mine, as she was trying to explain her process of creating her characters and plots, I mentioned how to me, it felt more like the people and events already existed, had occurred, or was occurring, and I was simply telling their story.

The creator vs the chronicler, if you will.

In any event, it hardly seems accidental that most creative persons prefer either early morning or late night for their endeavors. While I’m sure they exist, I’ve personally never met a scribe who called themselves an afternoon writer. Perhaps due to circumstance one may have to do their writing during the day, but it is during the dark hours that most of us are called to our art.

Girl-Writing-By-Lamplight

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“How is it that two of the sweetest women I know, write horror?” A great friend sputtered not so long ago to me.
“And we’re both vegetarians, to boot!” I joked back.

Though my friend was teasing (a writer, herself, she’s well-aware of such fallacies), the stereotypes of writers of certain genres certainly does exist amongst some, perhaps even much, of the general population. No doubt that many who read my stories would envision a female- Carmilla-pale, sheathed in black, dark and broody by nature.

So what did drive me towards horror? Is it the sign of Scorpio placed in the North Node of my chart? The North Node indicating a soul’s purpose in this incarnation? It is said of such people that we are the “truth tellers”. We see through the superficialities of societal masks, and dive deep into the murkiest swamps to discover the hidden treasures beneath. We hear the beauty in Discordia. With the ability to see the wounded child behind the adult’s coldened eyes, it might be little wonder that those with such a placement in our charts are often drawn to becoming healers in the psychiatric fields.

Is it Lilith placed in the fifth house of my chart? Lilith, the first woman, who positioned there, inspires one to create authentically, without self-censorship.

For horror writers must often venture into those uncultivated forests of the mind, those same wilding paths that most avoid. Yet, to explore darkness, to have a love of the fallen and forbidden, does not equate to possessing a gloomy and depressed psyche. Rather, it is the ability and desire to understand, even if not necessarily condoning certain actions.

It is ability to find beauty in the most unexpected of ruins.

While a lot of horror stories deal with twisted, even disturbing subjects, they often are the least cynical or nihilistic. More often than not, good triumphs over evil. And even those with tragic endings often also leave glimmers of hope and of newfound understandings. Who did not pity Frankenstein’s monster- despised and abused from birth- until he allowed himself to be swept away by those waves?

Robert McCammon said in an interview, “There are scenes in all of my books which are over the top in terms of violence, of gore. But that is not the core and crux of the work. The core of the book will always be the human element. I want to tell a human story about a person’s journey through a forbidding or threatening world.”