A Story for the Fallen: One man stays away from windows and puts his back to the jambs of doorways, using the framing as a shield. No moving if the refrigerator compressor kicks on – you need your ears – every sound. Stay clear of the lamp – make no shadow. Don’t anticipate the recoil […]
After intensity, especially the kind that’s hostile to oneself or someone else, there can be a kind of zen reboot. You run headlong into the darkness, reckless, lose yourself in it. Then comes the sensei telling you to embrace inner calm, to release everything you’re gripping fiercely, to stretch, to flow, and to let be. […]
Rewrite of a story from Oct 29, 2006 We had a large family together, ten children in all, some more successful than others. We were happy, oldest to youngest. But life throws curves to life, and ours was that our house caught fire with the children trapped inside. The flames were impossibly hot, but I […]
“Written performance” may be the clearest description of what I do, but literary performance is the correct term. When most people hear the phrase “literary performance” they think of public reading of literature, perhaps dramatized. That is not actually what it is, though there can be no objection to the casual use of that phrase […]
Have you ever learned so many names at once that you forgot your own for a moment? And when those names and voices come to you out of the darkness, when you wake into them, in that space where you don’t know if you’re dreaming or not, do you even know who you are?
Defined: Emo Horror (“emotive horror”) focuses on the horrible in unhappy emotional qualities like sadness, grief, regret, breaking, neglect, misfortune, etc. Plots resolve not so much with triumph (or its failure) over monsters or horrible people, but with overcoming (or not) emotional horror itself. Origin: In music, Emo is short for emotional hardcore, a style of […]
You look down a spiral stair, hear nothing, see nothing, but feel it breathing there… In Hitchcock houses – that’s what my Aunt Eleanor called them – you always feel as though something could go terribly wrong, at least once, but maybe only in several generations – so you hope it’s not yours that finds […]
Don’t swing so high, my parents said. You’ll learn to fly, or you’ll wind up dead. You kick off with your knees. Your feet leave the ground and you immediately tilt back and encourage them skyward.
Hacking Horror: I want to tear apart the horror genre and dig into what makes us do more than cringe. I want to know what makes us weep, and what we do about it. I am not interested in: gore for its own sake – gore porn titillation with ritual or apocalypses or the demonic, which depends on […]
What is genre hacking? Breaking the rules of a given literary or artistic genre while conspicuously using the distinctive elements of that genre. The genre I’m interested in working in: isn’t really a mainstream bookstore shelf genre (which is an outdated way of classifying literature, and publishing companies will hopefully come to realize this, when the last […]
On the seventh floor, on the corner above the store, in a room with Him, sat Edmund Grimm. Edmund was not a saint, nor a sinner. He barely went out. His laundry was picked up, his groceries delivered. There was little need for interaction with the world. He didn’t even own a television. Edmund’s apartment […]
Exactly 30 days ago, I began work on a series of writing goals:
The girl with peacock eyes didn’t go to ordinary school – she went to extraordinary school. There are all kinds of extraordinary gifts out there. Most people just hide theirs. If you’re too bright, you don’t want to be regarded a nerd or impractical or boring. If you’re too creative, you don’t want to be […]
My manifesto to the world. I wrote big at first, until the walls were all covered. And when I needed more space, I wrote smaller words onto the larger words, using each letter as a wall. And then words onto those words, too, layering them like Russian matryoshka dolls. Words are like that – they […]
There was a bridge that no one crossed, because it stopped where it shouldn’t. Over the water, where it wouldn’t. But lovers went there, and the lost. The slats, though a little dark in spots with mildew, were tightly fitted, and the carriage bolts, though oxidized and smudgy, were firmly seated and strong. It was […]
Everything was fine. We were fine. We were a family. Until the tree came up through the floor. It didn’t happen in a day, or a month, not even in a year, though by a year’s time we could feel the strangeness of it. It wound through our lives like blood courses through veins, spreading […]