Saturday, April 26, 2008

Going Commando..Again

"High Seas Cthulhu" did not win a Stoker award from the Horror Writers of America. It was nominated, but no soap. Still...another chance at some acclaim might come for "Frontier Cthulhu", from Chaosium. Apparently The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design (AAGAD) and the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) have announced that the anthology, edited by William Jones, is in the running for an Origin Award.

I'll let you know more about whether or not the mustard is cut, but until then...I attended a book signing in Flint today. William Jones was at a Borders signing copies of his newest book: "
The Strange Cases of Rudolph Pearson". I believe these were advanced copies he made available. I'm not sure and it doesn't matter. I'm looking forward to reading this collection of Lovecraftian horrors, all the stories in this anthology woven together to present a story arc. I'll let you know more when I've had a chance to finish it.

Finally on the writing front, sort of, I attended yet another conference this past weekend. It was a mish mosh of open source computer software folk along with gamers and lovers of science fiction and fantasy. Yes, the Tron Guy was even present.

I wish I could say I behaved myself. However at one point I believe I unleashed upon the unsuspecting member of a panel I was attending. I know. It's hard to accept that I can be confrontational or in any way controversial. I won't name names, but let's just say that my face will probably be posted in the lobby of future conventions, a red circle with a line through it upon my image. I figure it will be a year or so before my friends allow me to live down this maniacal outburst. Currently, I have become part of a threat: "Don't make me go all Stewart on you."

In my defense, I am not the seven foot tall gentleman with the pot belly and elongated limbs who screamed his outrage at the way the panel discussion was proceeding. Rather I was the target of the seven foot gentleman's wrath. Sigh. Well, when you live in your mother's basement, sipping Bosco through a straw, pretending to be a woman in order to browse the lesbian chat rooms while at the same time trying to peruse the online fetish sites, I can understand how difficult it is to handle stressful public settings. Again, I wish I could tell you more, but my sense of decorum and etiquette prevents me from going into more detail.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Finding My Humanity

Horror writing wears on an author. If one looks at what one is writing--really looks--it is disturbing. In something I am working on now, a short story called "The Innocents", a woman commits suicide by stepping in front of a truck. The scene is described in a manner meant to shock the reader and to pave the way for a series of supernatural events. However, when I reread the scene, I stop and think about it in real terms and become depressed by the tragedy it represents.

Sitting in a horror film can have the same effect. The fantasy element drops away and instead of suspense, one identifies with the suffering and feels a sense of weightiness. This is someone's child. This is someone's friend. I know, I know...we aren't supposed to question what we are witnessing. It's an abstract, a plot device.

While we all have a curiousity about the morbid, it's human nature after all, it still is there. Thank God for catharsis in a horror film---if it comes. But even then, what is represented by the violence and the horror remains, like a film, on one's psyche. And we aren't talking just about horror, think about the films you've seen over the past year or two, and the television shows. Even in the comedies.

Maybe I'm being too sensitive. But occasionally, just occasionally, I have to stop and reconnect with reality and the true emotions, remembering that the misery of one often has a ripple effect on the many, and that the horrific is not necessarily something to be celebrated.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Thinking About The Deity

At the writers' group a woman named Jessica mentioned an interest in religion. This sparked an image in my mind, and as I haven't written any fiction here in some time, I thought I would allow myself the opportunity to flow and see what happened.

The priest leaned forward and whispered in Carson's ear: "God's coming for you."

Carson stirred, eyes flickering open to stare into the darkness. He tried to sit up, but didn't have the strength. The priest, a solidly built man with large calloused hands, leaned closer so that Carson could smell his breath.

"God will be here any minute now. Can you feel it?"

Carson inhaled. It was unsatisfying. He tried inhaling more deeply, the effort feeling false. Pointless. He settled on shorter breaths, listening to the wheezing within his chest.

The priest smiled. "You don't remember Him, do you? That's what's scaring the hell out of you. You don't remember."

Carson shook his head from side to side.

The priest stepped back, nervously glancing toward the window. "I have to go. I don't want to be here when He arrives. I'll come back when it's all done. When it's over. I'll tell people you received last rites. They'll cry for you. A couple years from now someone may even remember your name."

Carson strained to say something. The priest waited. Carson strained again, this time his voice coming out in a low growl. "Don't go. Don't..."

"It wouldn't matter if I stayed. You know that."

The priest paused on his way out the door. "Do you want to know a secret?" he asked.

Carson stopped breathing.

"It's sort of my confession."

The priest waited. Nodding to himself, he whispered: "Yeah, that's what happens. That's what always happens."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Rebellion Is On

Thinking out loud...

Science! True daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart,
Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?

The movement was characterized by emphasis on the self and by a profound expression of emotion in rebellion to the dawning industrial age and the Enlightenment. In a time when the ego was threatened by the advance of the machine and the depersonalizing influence of an urban environment, the Romantic pushed for the elevation of the spirit.

In much of the reading we've been exposed to in this class, I can't help but make some comparison between today's educational inquiries and the Romantics. Much of what I've read in my recent class seems to point toward the self. It's student-centered and a sharp contrast to the corporate demand for outcome based and standards based education. The trend toward expression and creativity, the idea that deeper thinking should penetrate over rote memorization and drills.

While we are past looking at Industrialization, one can argue that Globalization has produced a rebellion in American culture that seeks to resist the emergence of an educational and cultural system that embraces corporate needs and wants. The Neo-Romantics see change and try and put their imprint on it, to somehow help guide it to be more humane, more people-centered. In a time when American culture is reactionary and increasing jingoistic and xenophobic, the push is to look for commonalties while embracing differences with a synergistic eye.

Again, just thinking out loud..writing helps me think about things.