Tuesday, September 19, 2006

How to Breed a Horror Writer, Part I

Yes, I know... I've been a bad blogger. It's been damn near a month since I've updated this thing, but there's been some good - no, check that - great reasons why, and I'm going to let you in on those reasons in the next few days. But first, there's been some posts recently at Shocklines that have sparked some thoughts in my addled brain.

The post on what inspired/influenced you to become attracted to horror was one... and it got me thinking back to how I arrived to where I'm at right now.

Let's do a little review of my developmental years...

Fourth grade... was when I wrote my first short story. It was a fantasy tale with titled something like The Amazing Adventures of the Apple people, and involved a brother and sister discovering tiny people living inside apples and how humans had been eating them unknowingly for years. I remember the expression on the teacher's face as she handed my story back. She didn't know what to make of me. A little kid with a scary story like that? Hmmmph. I should keep an eye on him. Maybe a trip to the guidance counselor is in order.

Fifth grade... my mother and I are watching Halloween on tv. As cliche as it may sound, it actually was a dark and stormy night outside. Just as Jamie Lee Curtis leaps fromt the closet with knitting needles in hand, lightning knocks out a transformer in front of our house. We both yell out, but on the heels of that feeling comes a rush that I don't quite understand.

Sixth grade... my mother buys me my first Famous Monsters magazine. It has Bobbie Bresee on the cover and a huge article on her new movie, Mausoleum.

Seventh grade... my English teacher gave us a humorous poetry assignment.
I went full bore, writing lines that made fun of the teacher, witty snippets like:
"Mr. Woodward, he is so dumb, he sits on his finger and leans back on his thumb."
(I didn't say it was intelligent poetry, but it rhymed okay?)
The following week, Mr. Woodward made me read it aloud to the class. I remember him in the corner of the room, snickering to himself as I read the poem, the rest of the class in fits of hysterical laughter.
That was the first time I recall seeing the effect on people that I could create with words.
This is also the same year I swipe my uncle's paperback of Stephen King's Carrie and am quite literally blown away.

Eighth grade... I write a piece of historical fiction for a contest. I busted some serious ass, did the research and three rewrites before handing it in.
My teacher accuses me of having my parents help write it. He flat out told me there was no way I wrote that paper and he refused to enter it into the contest.
I watched the Exorcist during one of the ultra-rare occasions my parents were away. During the head-turning scene, the screen door banged open and shut and damn near made me leave a piss stain on the sofa. But the split second after... I laughed. I laughed so hard that I cried, by myself in the living room.

Tenth grade... I begin writing my first novel in long hand. It was about a demonic werewolf creature called Sareth. I never finish writing this, but most of the people who read the horrible ways that some of the characters die give me odd looks as if they're suddenly unsure of me. The ones who don't give me oddball looks are the same guys I've remained friends with for over twenty years.

Eleventh grade... I write an article in the high school newspaper making fun of every group in the school. The geeks, the jocks, the heads, the preps. The article pisses off enough students that the principal approaches me to make sure I "still feel comfortable" walking around school without a security escort.
I do.

Senior year... Our English teacher had a nervous breakdown over the summer and we have a substitute for the first six months. She's fresh out of college and full of enthusiasm. She assigns free-writing exercises, putting the first thing that comes to mind down on paper and not stopping until she tells us to. I write a first person account of a man who is buried alive and has to endure a fly crawling down his throat. The finalé entaile a ridiculous amount of maggots. The substitute English teacher grades the paper and hands it back to me with a large A+ underscored in red Sharpy. But that's not what gets me.

What gets me is what she says as she hands it back. She tells me she read it the night before, alone in her house and had a hard time going to sleep later because of it.

But the look on her face wasn't one of revulsion - her look told me she enjoyed it.

Coming soon... Part II (Safety in Numbers)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy Wolfbane!

I remember Sareth! Creeped me out!

Made me question your sanity too ... but now I know for sure your insane!

So your Mom fanned the flame way, way back. Thanks Mom!

9:43 PM  

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