Writing with the Dead

(c) TheBrassGlass

(c) TheBrassGlass

I found inspiration while sitting with the dead.  Their buried bodies beckoned me to join them and write.  The dead don’t impede while one is trying to concentrate.  They lie idly by, allowing masterpieces to blossom.  No comments, no critiques, no interrupting questions.  The dead provide a quiet, nurturing atmosphere.

Today is warm and sunny as I aimlessly drive through Bucks County–going nowhere and anywhere.  The act of writing, at this point, has left me.  It’s as though the spark that makes up my inner most self–my soul–has abandoned me on this blue-green, wayward planet.  The words no longer come, and I am anxious and agitated.  My life’s purpose has disappeared, leaving me empty and lost.

A small cemetery comes into view while traveling down a desolate, pothole riddled road with no dividing yellow line.  Something inside of my mind whispers to stop.  Instinctively my body takes control and steers the car off into the megar gravel parking lot.   Without a thought as to what was occurring, I exit the car and walk to the grass covered plots.

The landscape is speckled with headstones, which are old and hand hewn.  Green lichens and mold cling to the cool white stone.  Some markers stand as clean slates, the body’s identity wiped away by the hands of the weather and time.  This cemetery is ancient.  The dead have been here for many centuries.

It is well cared for, this small cemetery.  The grass is low and the surrounding trees are maintained.  It is picturesque.  Somebody truly loves it, devoting their time to care for the hallowed ground that houses these long dead people.

Sun filters through the trees creating little pockets of light among the shadowed darkness.  All is quiet and serene.  The only sound of life comes from the birds in the trees and from my own breathing.  Here in this land of the dead, a solace for the boundary of time, I find peace.  A peace that is limited by mortality.  A peace of knowing there is only one chance to achieve dreams.

And then they come to me, pounding into my head.  Reverberations and echos drown out the natural sounds of the cemetery.  Words.  They fill my brain and suddenly I find them spewing from my mouth.  I speak out loud stories–stories of my own creation–and they fall upon dead ears.  Quick!  A pen, some paper!  I hastily run to a sunny spot shining amongst the graves, fall to the ground, and pull my pen and moleskine from my purse.  In handwriting, illegible to anyone ‘s eyes but my own, I fill up a page.  Then another.  And another.  So on and so, the lined white pages of the notebook fill with loops and curls, all the while I sit in a fevered trance surrounded by the dead.

They watch me, quietly and uninterrupting.  This living being sitting atop their graves spilling words from her brain onto paper.  She has found herself while sitting among them.  But what will come of it?  The answer is unknown, but the dam has broken.  A flood is unleashed and the world once again seems brighter, happier.  There is a future.

The dead speak of these things to the living.  This life is unique and should be cherished.  It is the only time that this instance will be lived.  One must find inspiration and take hold of it with both hands.  Feel its invigorating life force, for once a life is over, the creativity for that person ceases.

I had to travel to the dead to find my reason to live.

The Martin Lastrapes Show Podcast Hour and Me!

MLS_Cover

I had the pleasure of being a guest on the Martin Lastrapes Show Podcast Hour and let me just say it was a hell of a lot of fun!  Martin, being a fellow horror author, was just a doll.  We spent about 90 minutes talking about writing, the macabre, publishing, and everything in between.

My introduction to Martin Lastrapes was in 2012 when I first read his novel, Inside the Outside.  I absolutely loved it and shelved the book with my other horror tomes (yes, there is a very special shelf in my house dedicated to this genre).  Then in September 2014, I watched Joanna Penn’s interview with Martin and remembered, “Hey, that’s the dude who wrote that awesome book with cannibalism”.  Disclaimer: I am not a cannibal (and not a fan of red meat), but I have been on a cannibal kick because my current novel-in-progress delves into cannibalism.  I enjoyed Joanna’s interview with Martin.  Much of what he said I found to be akin to my own writing process and thoughts on the horror genre.  It inspired me to write a review of his interview, which is titled “What’s for Dinner? Literary Horror, Cannibals, and Vampires“.

Well, Martin read that post, and my blog, AND The Sarcastic Muse!  Then he reached out to see if I would be interested in doing a podcast episode with him (to which I responded with an enthusiastic “YES”).

So without further ado, here is my episode of The Martin Lastrapes Show Podcast Hour:

 

You can also access this podcast episode at the following links:

 
 

It’s Alive!

Well, my sabbatical went a little longer than expected.  I apologize for that.  2015 has not been very kind.  Hoping that with the seasonal transition to Spring I can rebloom and get back to the old writing habit.

I wish I could provide you all with an update on how the novel is progressing.  It still lies at the halfway point.  I am going to be optimistic and say the first draft is halfway done instead of halfway started.   Starting this week, I am going to make a slight change to the blog.  As you all know I also blog for The Sarcastic Muse every Wednesday.  That schedule will remain in place along with the Thursday posts here.  The “Before I die… Bucket List for the Macabre” will be dropping to every other Monday starting in May.  Unfortunately, I was spending more time researching weird and sinister places than actually working on stories for publication.  If only humans didn’t need to sleep…

Author Robyn LaRue has been helping me get back on the writing track.  I am sort of her test subject at the moment for The Writing Habit.  I’m not quite sure how I feel about being the “guinea pig” for once.  Usually I’m the one in the lab coat with the scalpel.  As long as my brain or fingernails don’t end up in specimen jars all is well.  If you are interested in what she is up to, send me a message.  If I don’t respond, that means I am dead in the meat locker in her basement.

So stay tuned as there is more mischief, mayhem, and macabre on the way!

The 8 Scariest Short Horror Films Online

I am going to take a short sabbatical from writing until March.  However, I don’t want to leave you all bored until then.  Fellow horror author friend, Chris Musgrave, shared this link with me and I thought you would all enjoy.

Lights Out is my favorite.  What is yours?

http://www.shortlist.com/entertainment/films/the-8-scariest-short-horror-films-online

Are you Alive or Dead?

(c) Jie Qi (CC BY 2.0)

(c) Jie Qi (CC BY 2.0)

I once heard that when you die, you relive every second of your life all over again. This is more than just your life flashing before your eye.  Your whole “existence” relived as though you are living it for the first time.  So that begs the question, your existence right at this moment: are you living it for the first time or reliving your whole life before die (which will happen within the next few seconds)?

Why do I feel like this is like a “Schrödinger’s cat” kind of question…

If this were true, while reliving your life would you consciously know you that are experiencing it again?  If you are consciously aware, then you can most likely have the power to change things.  And if you can change things, could you live your life the way you wanted it?  Think about it… you could redo your awful high-school experience, not date that jack-ass in college, choose the career path that you really wanted, subtly hint to a dear friend they “may” have cancer and will die from it.  If you are consciously aware of this ‘reliving’ experience you can make the life you wanted.  Being consciously aware, you would already know everything and the actual outcome of the original path.

But you know… this “second chance” is not reality.  You could try to be that evil persona that lives deep inside of you.  That hidden persona that everyone has, but refuses to acknowledge.  You can act out the hurt on all the people that you have wanted to hurt.  Be the assassin, thief, marauder, sadist, monster of your dark thoughts.  Morals, ethics, everything-out the window because there is no impact on anyone in reality.  Your life is only all about you, isn’t it?  Does it really matter what happens to other people, as long as you are satisfied?  You become a serial killer.  If you got caught, so what!  You may be thrown in jail, you may get the death penalty-but that’s ok!  Hey, you are about to die within the next few seconds in reality anyways.  This whole “reliving your life again” is just playing out in your head.  And in your head there are no consequences.

Right?

Right?!?!

Well, you did just live the last moments of your actual life in your head replaying your life cast as Jack the Ripper.  Is that really how you want your life to end?  To be an eviscerating serial killer instead of someone who actually did a lot of good in their real life.  Someone who didn’t intentionally murder anyone.

You got caught up in your last moments of who you wanted to be instead of reliving who you actually were.

So what are you:  Alive or Dead?