Confession of a Horror Writer

Hey Brownies! Thought I forgot about this place, didn’t ya? Not a chance.

I love Netflix, man. Don’t you? If not, don’t fret. I’m a huge fan of the b-movie, the foreign produced show, and the independent flick… whether it’s horror or thriller or science fiction. These movies are, in my opinion, a lot more raw than mainstream movies. That’s not to say mainstream movies are all bad (but, let’s face it, they’re mostly shit).

As you know, Brownies, I prefer horror. I watch it, write it, read it, play it in my video games, dream about it at night, imagine it during the day… you get the picture.

But, here’s the confession…

I’m losing my taste for some of it. Okay, that’s a lie… and if this is a confession, I should be honest, yeah? It’s not some of it… well, it is some of it, but it’s a very specific some of it.

Last night, I watched an Australian movie called Killing Ground. To put it simply, a couple goes camping and is terrorized. Now, the movie’s description on Netflix leaves it up to your imagination as to how they’re terrorized. Here’s the description on the ‘flix

“An idyllic camping trip to an isolated beach turning into a harrowing ordeal after a young couple discovers an abandoned tent and a lost child.”

Vague description, right? I was hoping for a creature feature (such as Man vs) of some sort. Maybe even just some sort of animal attack movie (such as Backcountry). But no, instead the movie treated me to some pretty blunt human on human violence. There’s stalking, rape, murder, and other acts of violence. Some of this is shown, some of it is implied, some of it half-shown, half-implied.

Increasingly, I find myself not wanting to watch these movies where people are just psychopathic killers. In some cases, I just turn them off and don’t watch them. In others, I’ve hesitated to turn them on at all. Most recently those would be The Purge franchise. I know people laugh about it becoming a reality, but really? There’s a huge portion of our society here in the United States that can’t even give gay people basic human rights, so much so that gay and lesbian folks at murdered just for being them. Others want to strip women of their rights, and do we want to talk about the rise of the neo-Nazis and the sudden reemergence of the KKK in America? These hate groups, these murderers and fascists, are front and center and active and fucking supported, but the idea of a Purge is farcical?

Shit, son, if you don’t support gun ownership, you might want to rethink that position.

We get enough of this human depravity in real life, don’t we? The examples are everywhere: here, here, here, here, and fuck, even here. And those are just here on my home soil in the United States. World wide it’s even worse.

We are truly horrible to each other. When I was younger, I knew that of course, but I still held a measure of hope for people in general. As an avid reader and movie watcher, the stories I read, people always bonded together in the end to defeat evil and survive. They made sacrifices to ensure someone’s survival… their wife, their children, strangers, whatever.

While I certainly think there are those types of people out there, I don’t think nearly as many of us are truly that sacrificial. But more importantly, I don’t think good is as strong as evil. I don’t think there’s a balance anymore. Why don’t we hear about more people escaping death, more people actually thwarting their would-be murderers?

I’ll tell you why… because they don’t. The people die, and that’s what we hear about on the news. That well of hope I had as a kid is gone and it’s just hard to continue to watch this shit play out on screen.

I think, for awhile, I’m going to stick to monster movies, creature features, sci-fi invasions. and urban fantasy movies.

Fivers for Creating a Writing Space

Hey there, Brownies! I found the rough draft of this post laying around in the archives (from almost 2 years ago!) and thought I’d finish it up and put it out there. It speaks a lot towards why I decided to bastardize some Ikea kallaxes and a piece of pine into a desk (see posts here, here, here, and here…) and get a spot of my own carved out in the new house.

Finished picture is down at the end, by the way.

Enjoy!

  1. It’s yours, man. Set it up any way you want to. Books here, pens there, Keurig there. Put some of the knick-knacks or artwork your kids or your spouse or your bestie (or all of the above) around the edges. Or don’t do any of that. Have nothing but a pad and a pen of paper or a laptop or a voice recorder. Use black lights instead of white; use candles! Don’t want a chair? Then use a fucking couch! The point of this exercise is you’ve created your spot, the place where you feel most likely to be at ease and productive, the one area that is yours and your alone. Screw design sense, screw fashion, go against the grain. Or, if those things are important to you, I’ll fuck off and you do your space, Hero. It’s special, this spot, and don’t forget that.
  2. You can tell people to bugger off much easier. Like, announce it to the world you live with that THIS IS YOUR WRITING SPACE, and when you’re in it, they are officially on MUTE. Grouchy kids? Upset spouse? Tell them to hit the bricks and don’t feel bad about it. You’ve spent the time to create your special space and you’ve told them exactly what it is and what you’ll be doing while in it, the least they can do is respect that. The unfortunate fact is they won’t… and we all know it. But, you’ve laid the ground work for yourself to tell them no, so don’t be afraid to use your words. Try telling the noisy fucker at Starbucks to shut her trap and see how fast hot coffee covers your face.
  3. It’s familiar. It’s like a comfortable hug for your pissy little muse who has social anxiety but craves Starbucks anyway. Here, in your own writing space, you know where everything is (duh, you designed and set it up), and creativity can happen much easier. You don’t have to spend time laying out your little two-person table with a laptop, a manuscript, a coffee, your phone and MP3 player, and that odd assortment of other stuff that you vibe with. You’re not suddenly digging for a red pen to massacre said manuscript because it’s right there, in your pen jar! Shit, your pencil just broke? OH LOOK A SHARPENER! See what I mean? Writing away from home has its benefits, trust me, but there’s nothing like having a spot at home.
  4. It’s reassuring, which varies from being familiar. If you’re like me and you have a family you live with, there’s always a sense of guilt when you leave to go write. Your sense of guilt may be huge or it may be small, but unless you’re a heartless shitbiter, you feel some measure of guilt. You’re not helping with the homework or the dishes or, Lort forbid, something really really bad happens–like a nuclear war–and you’re out at Starbucks with the fucksticks of America. Not so if you’ve got a great spot at home. Remember, you’ve learned to tell everyone to bugger off, so you have your peace, but you also have the ability to help out when needed and return to work posthaste. And, in the case of catastrophic events, well, you get to die with the people love most instead of the fucksticks who voted for the one ranked Most Likely to Start a Nuclear War. The point is this, though: you’re at home, so you’re not always worrying you’re not pulling your weight there. If it’s an issue, you can tug the rope and go back to work.
  5. Everything is “free” and it works. Yes, free is relative, because you’ve already bought the items I’m going to mention, but the low cost sure beats cafe prices. I mean, you make your own coffee at home and it sure beats $5.00 for a large mocha choca crappacino from Starbucks. Want a deli sammich? Hit the fridge and make the exact one you want. Need a resource book? Grab it from your shelf, or go online with your RELIABLE AND SECURE AND FREE WiFi to find what you need. Guess where you’ll always have an outlet to plug in your laptop? That’s right… you personal, creative writing space.