Sunday, December 16, 2012

Messages from the Dead--Angels? Ghost? Or Wishes.




Ebenezer Scrooge was a greedy, hard-hearted character in the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol.  After being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, his tight-fisted ways change and he is transformed into the epitome of giving, caring, and the Christmas spirit.

These spirits took Ebenezer on a journey to show him the evil in his ways, and revealed to him the terrible outcome of his life. The precious money that he spent so much time cultivating and saving would be stolen by the same poor and needy people he spent his life scorning. His employee, though poor, enjoys his life despite his pittance of a salary, and his family bitterly mourns the death of his ill son Tiny Tim. Scrooge's death affects no one, and he is shown his lonely, unkempt grave with not a soul to give it care. He begs the spirits for help.

He rises on Christmas morning thrilled at having another chance at life and quickly changes his ways.

Although A Christmas Carol is a fictional novel, the premise is not uncommon. We are a people obsessed with ghosts, angels, and the afterlife. And rightfully so. It is one of the only areas in out lives we cannot properly study.

We hear stories on a regular basis about messages from the dead, clouds that look like angels appearing the same day a loved one dies, and phone calls received from a phone that is not plugged in.

Death is final. We don't get a free pass for another try, a second opportunity to say something to a loved one, or the ability to know what happens after our eyes shut for the last time.

We desperately hope there is something good waiting for us after we die. We want to follow the white light and see our dear departed loved ones lining the halls to the Pearly Gates.

I had emergency surgery at 19 and was rushed to the hospital with very serious internal bleeding and had surgery the same evening. I remember being told to count backwards from 100, and made it to about 98. The next thing I recall is hearing my name being called as if through water or from deep within a cave. I also saw the white light at the end of a tunnel. I remember the voices and the light fading, and the darkness closing around the glow like a television would shut off in the early 70s. The circle just got smaller and smaller then winked out. This happened two or three more times until the voice calling my name won and I opened my eyes. Looking up I saw the doctor and a bright light over my bed in the hospital. He smiled and told me they had a hell of a time waking me up because I had a reaction to the anesthesia. I told my sister I saw the white light and heard the voices from beyond--but they were the doctor and the ceiling light.

That experience was enough to make me jaded about any of the white light stories I had previously heard.  I mocked the clairvoyants like James Van Praagh or Sylvia Brown when they said they could "see" the dead around a person, and got messages from them.

And then my grandfather got sick. He was in the hospital for a while and we knew it was only a matter of time. After visiting him one afternoon I was downstairs doing laundry and it got a bit dark--I figured a cloud went over the sun. I dropped a piece of clothing and bent to get it, and when I stood saw tiny red, blue and green lights. I figured it was a head rush from standing too quickly, but them I started to think of my grandfather. He told me not to worry, and things would be fine. He also said to take care of my grandmother. The sun came back out from behind the cloud, I shook off the creepy feeling, and walked upstairs. Two steps from the top the phone rang. It was my mother telling me my grandfather had passed away.

Yup. Could be a coincidence. I sometimes get lightheaded when I stand up too fast--and I see checkerboards and lights too. But something about this made me believe a bit again. Not completely--but I cannot discount the afterlife 100% anymore.

As for angels, that is another story. To believe in angels one has to believe in a Christian God and a heavenly hierarchy. That would also mean the belief of Lucifer, the rebellious angel cast down from heaven into hell. That will have to be another post.




Many believe they have guardian angels, and feel their presence.  Many stated they were saved from a car crash because the wheel somehow miraculously turned at the last minute saving them from certain death.



We cannot understand what happens after death. We don't know why some are taken from us so young and without warning. We want desperately to know our loved ones are in a better place, and no longer suffering. We wish for signs and guidance when we are having a hard time, and hope a benign force can help lead us to the correct answers.

My next post will be a continuation of this theme--but a bit darker. Can we also be visited by less friendly and more malicious beings? Next week I'll tell you about the time I watched my bathroom door open by itself, and a few other experiences I've had.

Please tell me any of yours--I'd love to know!

 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Missed the Leonid Meteors? Find Them Here With Pics and Superstitions


Leonids Over Niagara Falls

We pass through the remnants of an ancient comet every November during the Leonid meteor shower.

The night sky lights as minute particles within the comet's ice flash as they pass through the earth's upper atmosphere and burn up in a beautiful flash of light. More info from Huff Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/20/leonid-meteor-shower-2012-return-tuesday_n_2162177.html

The peak of the Leonid happened this morning, with up to 20 flashes per hour. View a few here if you missed them.

http://www.space.com/18498-early-leonid-meteors-caught-on-camera-video.html 

The world has been captured and sometimes frightened by heavenly bodies as long as history has been recorded. Many cultures have been shaped by superstitions, some relating to the comets and meteors they saw in the night sky. For example, some native Americans had beliefs relating to meteor showers that struck fear: 

  • The Blackfeet of Montana believed a meteor was a sign that sickness would come to the tribe in the coming winter, or that a great chief had just died.
  • The Kawaiisu (California) thought a meteor that started high and fell to the horizon was an omen of sickness and death.
  • The Cahuilla thought a meteor was the spirit of their first shaman, Takwich, who was disliked by his people. Takwich was said to wander the skies at night looking for people far from their tribe. When someone was found, he stole their spirit, and sometimes even the person, took them back to his home and ate them.
  • The Shawnee believed meteors were beings "fleeing from the wrath of some adversary, or from some anticipated danger."
  • (From Meteors and Meteorites http://www.crystalinks.com/meteors.html )

    The following are two quotes form the 1949 book The Encyclopedia of Superstitions from 1949:

    Falling, or shooting stars, are souls coming down from heaven to animate new-borne children.

    When death occurs the flame of life lights up a new star.



    Some superstitions could bring good things. It is said if when you see a meteor you can make a wish before it disappears, your wish will come true.
    Or, if you see a shooting star and say "money" three times, your pockets will be full.

    The Einsisheim meteor depicted in a 1492 etching.


    Although we now know what a comets and meteors are, we still hold onto many superstitions relating to them, and probably make wishes on them--it sure can't hurt.

    Some interpretation of superstitions from 100 Unfortunate Days:

    Day 98

    Some popular superstitions and my interpretations: a black cat crossing your path is bad luck. I think any cat crossing your path is bad luck because they are familiars of the devil. The black cats are the worst because they are the most evil. Their souls have been charred and they are diseased and if they scratch you, you will most likely die.

    If there are thirteen people at the dinner table, one will die within the year. This is probably a flat-out fact. One out of three or four women get breast cancer, several are probably just old, someone there is probably brewing some kind of heart disease and accidents happen every day. One of those thirteen is in for it.

    Breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck. Probably based on the idea that your image contains a part of your soul.

    I don’t believe in any of the traditional superstitions—but I have some of my own. For instance, if I pray too much the devil will get me. If I look at myself in the mirror in the dark I will see something terrible. If I am not around when my children are sick they will get worse. If I want something really bad and I get it, and I will be very unhappy. The devil is there at 3:00AM.

    I would love to know if there are any superstitions you believe in and why. Looking forward to hearing about them :)

     



    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    Unusual Art from the Usual Artists--the Dark Side of van Gogh, Cezanne and DaVinci


    Cezanne riveted us with his bright still-life paintings of fruit and lush fabrics and their slightly altered perspective.



    Starry, swirling skies, multi-colored blooms and luminous cafes made van Gogh a favorite,



    and DaVinci always fascinated us with his machines, forward thinking, perfect dimensions.



     Degas gave us a back-stage look at enigmatic ballerinas,



    and Picasso used shapes and shadows to change the art world.



    We are used to seeing certain things from certain artists.

    We expect to see skinny walking skeletons dressed like Santa from Tim Burton, or dark and morose,  unfortunate children sketched in ink by Edward Gorey, but we do not assume the classic artists to have a dark side. We expect soft, blurry flowers and gardens  from Monet, or achingly perfect depictions of people sitting near a window by Vermeer.

    Although we know van Gogh had a dark side by the famous and terrible story of his ear, we do not see his angst in his glorious pictures, unless we look for it. The Philadelphia Museum of Art had a display of many impressionists. I was very ready to feel bright and cheerful and to soak in the glow from the flowers and sunshine shown in the paintings.  I was not ready to see some of the more dark works of some of these same artists.

    As I turned a corner I came across and small but stunning painting of skulls by Cezanne. The feel of his work was there, but the subjects opened a new corner in my brain. I was not used to this. This was new, and I was practically shaking.







    The slightly upturned table so familiar to Cezanne's works was not covered in a rich fabric and lovely fruits and a bowl. In this painting it had death upon it.

    Van Gogh has the ability to make you want to be part of his paintings. His cafe glows, his fields sway, and his flowers remind us of nature's beauty. And his bat shows us of the dark side we so rarely see in his art.



    The picture of a skeleton with a cigarette also by van Gogh made a recent appearance as the cover of the David Sedaris's book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and also shows a bit of humor.



    And two rats also by van Gogh--another surprise.



    And here is a deliciously bleak Picasso.



    A skull by Degas.



    DaVinci was the slight exception. His medical drawings, machines, and inventions could lend themselves to the slightly macabre. Here is an example.



    So yes, we have Tim Burton, Edward Gorey and Charles Addams--but we also have the web. We can find the dark and mysterious paintings and pictures from impressionists, post-impressionists, modernists and any famous artists that only the curators and collectors previously had access to.

    And I am thrilled.


    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    Nostradamus--Are His Predictions Coming True? Did His Daughter Leave a Terrible Legacy?

    Michel de Nostredame, better known by his Latin name Nostradamus, was an apothecary and seer of the 16th century. Although studying to be a doctor, he was expelled for his practice as an apothecary, but was still called "Doctor" my many contemporaries.



    His later works turned to the occult after he wrote a popular Almanac and then his well-known predictions written in 4- lined quatrains based on astrological equations. It is interesting he became such a famous "seer" considering his predictions were notoriously inaccurate, and he many times blurred the possible "correct" divination with an incorrect mathematical problem because of a missing birth date or day.




    Many say that his past predictions have come true, and that 2012 will bring World War III and a World Religion. Some of his supposedly accurate past predictions are:

    * The great fire of London in 1666
    * World War II and the rise of Hitler
    * September 11th
    * The rise of Napoleon
    * The death of the Kennedy brothers
    * The creation and use of the atom bomb

    Click here for a more detailed explanation:  http://www.smashinglists.com/top-10-nostradamus-predictions-that-have-come-true/

    Nostradamus lost two children and his wife to the plague (even though he created a rose pill that was supposed to cure it), then married a widow and had six more children. Some say he fathered several illegitimate daughters, one that left a terrible legacy of evil and destruction in her wake.

    Read here about Anna, from the soon to be released anthology, The Daughter of Nostradamus.


      The sun turned black but for the burning red smile of a demon.  Its ruby rays incinerated the unfortunate few who remained outdoors. 
    The wind blew cold from the east and hot from the west, and its howls caused deafness in the young and insanity in the old.  The children slept too long in their beds, for to open their eyes now would mean the plague.
    A dark haired woman screamed and threw back her head for she knew the child inside was killing her.  It clawed and scratched and she feared for the lives of her kin.  She was cursed with this, her thirteenth child.  Her blood was weak and her husband left many years ago when the crops would no longer grow. She did not know how this child was growing inside her.
    She knew the birth would be her end.  The gods were angry and the earth was covered with loosed devils tonight.  The baby ruptured forth in a spray of blood, and its mother bled to death as the eclipse ended. 
    The newborn spent its first night on earth in a pool of his dead mother’s still-warm blood, and slept peacefully there until morning, when he was found by Anna as she delivered her homemade bread. She picked up the bloody infant and ran home to her sister, screaming the signs from her dreams were all around, and the demons had left a son.  That night she cut her palm with a spirit knife, and poured her blood onto the fire and prayed for the black ghosts to take back their child.   
    She bled for the first time that night, and in her dreams the wolves waited at the fringe of the forest, but they were not allowed in the clear.
    Anna and her sister lived alone, for their mother was exiled from their village. Anna, with her piercing black eyes and raven hair was considered to be the daughter of the black-eyed magician who passed through town years before. Upsetting and intriguing the townspeople, he came before the drought and made disturbing predictions of the future while seeking herbs for his rogue medical practice. Her blonde haired, blue eyed mother and sister never argued the point.
    The baby’s cries jarred her in the darkest part of the night, and she knew she would care not for this dark boy. Her wakefulness was burden enough, for her visions and nightmares often kept her sleepless for days. She knew he brought with him a stain, a faint grey mist that would settle and then spread.
    When her sister Mina awoke in the morning and found the child gone, she would tell her his siblings came to find him in the night.
    She listened to his cries for another moment then went to him.   
    She lifted him from his bed and picked up her knife before walking into the forest. Although her sister believed Anna’s thoughts about the child were muddled for an infant can be nothing but innocent, she knew she needed to snuff the black spirits in the evil boy.
    The woods were quiet as a tomb, and she knew the ghosts were watching and waiting for the dark task to be complete.  The animals burrowed deeper underground and the birds flew away as she entered.
    It was kinder, she thought, to plunge the knife into his heart than to leave him alone and alive to be devoured slowly by the creatures that walk the dark.  She placed him under the sad arch of a willow tree, and looked at him one last time.  His eyes looked calmly back at her, and she pressed the knife into his heart, and once again in the other direction to form a cross so evil would have to avoid him and he would be taken by the angels.
    He did not cry or whimper.  He closed his eyes and the wind began to blow. Anna looked up at the moon and knew her soul was lost.

                                **************************************************
    Visit the Daughter of Nostradamus page on Facebook--enjoy the fun and evil pix.  Click here:  https://www.facebook.com/#!/TheDaughterOfNostradamus

    Friday, October 12, 2012

    Terror by Red Death--My First Horror

    Edgar Allan Poe was a brilliant and possibly mad poet and writer.

    The genre of horror cannot be mentioned without including him in the conversation. He may have been depressed, alcoholic, and lovelorn--all of which provide fertile ground for all sorts of terrors. He also happened to be a master of words, and the combination makes for gorgeous and horrible tales.

    When I was in third grade our teacher told us we were going read Masque of the Red Death in her class, and I was ecstatic, not because I was a fan of Poe and that young age, but because we were going to read something that had the word 'death' in it.

    I considered myself a ghost story and horror fan at that age, but my interest leaned more to Tales from the Crypt comics from Oh! Johnnies, a store that sold everything from magazines to fountain sodas, and Dracula with Bella Lugosi. But then Mrs. Walsh, my third grade teacher that had a plastic peace sign on the chimney
    of her house, gave us a thin books of Poe's stories right before lunch on an overcast spring day.

    I read the first page and was astounded there was this kind of writing in the world. It resonated with something dark in me, even at eight years old. I walked home for lunch with my nose in the book, and told my mother all about it over a bowl of macaroni and cheese. She listened carefully as I told her of the colored rooms and how the matching glass windows infused the rooms with gorgeous light. I told her of the black room with the blood red window, and she told me she did not like that, and wrinkled her nose.  This tickled me.



    By the weekend I had enlisted my poor five year old sister to be a victim in my Off-Broadway edition off the book. Being the director, I had to tell her a little bit about the plot, but she was not old enough to process the details, and heard only--blood, death, and monsters. She basically had a fit and cried for the next hour, and I got into a bit of trouble. All this drama somehow made the whole scenario more delectable to me, and I have never been the same. I ponder why I love the fear, the nerve-wracking tension, and the constant search for a book or movie that will actually scare me.

    I read the story at least three more times before the teacher made us turn in the books. I went to the library to look up other stories from Poe, and although I liked others, especially The Black Cat, none affected me like dark tale of Prince Prospero, his opulent surroundings, and eventual demise because of the Red Death.

    I considered doing a similar color theme as the chambers of Prince Prospero's castle to the bedrooms in my previous home, but there was something just a tick too dark for even me to live with, and the stained glass windows would certainly be tough to recreate.

    Although I have read endless horror books, poems, and stories, The Red Death was my first love, and remains one on my favorite pieces of literature--and a clock chiming at the midnight hour will forever send a chill down my spine.

    I wonder if it has anything to do with my love of short stories--and germ-phobia...

    Please read the short but terrifying tale below.

    http://www.online-literature.com/poe/36/

    My short and bloody tale Absorbed on Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/Absorbed-ebook/dp/B005SUBYYI

    Monday, October 1, 2012

    Jack White at Radio City--More Than Music

    Although the Lincoln Tunnel was closed due to an accident and getting into NYC and Radio City was murder last night, Jack White made it worth my time and suffering.



    He started his set at 9:00PM with Missing Pieces, a song that seems to be about losing more body parts than just your heart in a bad affair, then burned through his songs like devil was on his ass.  He seemed angry and moody, but his dark vibe and almost frenetic pace made for a hot and riveting concert.

    His six piece, all female band is painfully talented. They looked beautiful and made me wonder if they all sold their souls. His Grammy nominated back-up singer Ruby Amanfu swayed and shook her tambourines, and her ringing yet soulful voice was a perfect match to Jack's jagged vocal hammerings.

    But as I watched I knew something more was taking place here. Jack White is more than a musician.

    During the song Cannon I was taken somewhere else. The hard, heavy, and unrelenting guitar riff was menacing, the stage simply lit in black and white shadows, and Jack's raw vocals transformed the venue into a haunted house, a place of evil and monsters, and it was glorious. The simmering anger you felt in the earlier songs was transformed into a diabolical thing here, and whatever shadowed alley he was going to scurry down--I was going with him.

    That was way better than drugs.

    He interacted with all six women on stage in an intimate and connected way--his contact seeming to fuel their intensity and dedication to the songs. They watched his every move and the set was flawless.  Ball and Biscuit took the blues to the deepest shade of indigo, and the frenzy of its culmination was a lost-in-space, nerve blasting experience. 

    That was way better than....you get the picture.

    Everyone in the audience was on their feet from the moment Jack White stepped on stage, until we shuffled out a bit sad that he only played for an hour and a half. He uttered only two words to the audience during the entire show, 'thank you', as he and the band stood close, linked arms, and bowed.

    There were no pyrotechnics, flashing images, or opening acts to dilute the music, yet the stark atmosphere induced some type of hypnotic time warp and an almost southern modern-Gothic feel.



    Having an eighth row seat gave me the delicious illusion that Mr. White and I made eye contact several times, although I am sure it was my then beat-addled brain sending cosmic wishes to my rapidly pounding heart.

    I have a weakness for talent: an extraordinary ability to draw, paint, play guitar, articulate, create mood, write, or influence people. The ultimate is a mind-blowing combination of two or more of these talents, and that is what I experienced last night.

    I wanted him to talk to us, his audience, to give us a hint of his humor, thought process, or just for him to speak to let us know he was human. But then the odd, blurry feeling may have been lost, and the night would have taken on an entirely different feel. In a blustery, pissed-off way, it was perfect.

    Too short? Yes. But, oh, so sweet...

    His set from last night:

    Missing Pieces
    Weep Themselves to Sleep
    Love Interruption
    Hotel Yorba (White Stripes)
    Top Yourself/Maggie's Farm (Raconteurs)
    Cannon/John the Revelator (White Stripes)
    Screwdriver (White Stripes)
    Rock Island Line
    Blue Blood Blues (The Dead Weather)
    Trash Tongue Talker
    Papa Was a Rascal (James Booker cover)
    Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (White Stripes)
    I'm Slowly Turning Into You (White Stripes)
    We're Going to Be Friends (White Stripes)
    Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy
    Hypocritical Kiss
    Ball and Biscuit (White Stripes)

    Encore

    Freedom At 21
    Sixteen Saltines
    Seven Nation Army (White Stripes)
    Goodnight, Irene (Lead Belly cover)

    Page from 100 Unfortunate Days that shows my soft-spot for guitar players:

    Day 93

    I was born in Venice on the Fourth of July—which means nothing to anyone in Venice. I had with jet-black hair and very light blue eyes. Then all my hair fell out and grew in very light blonde. My eyes have remained light blue. I was left on a ferry boat when I was three months old—I don’t know if it was on purpose or not—but I was raised covertly by the Queen of England until I was five, then she could not keep me under wraps anymore because I moved around too much and she felt I should be going to school.

    I was sent to stay with the Queen’s illegitimate sister who lived in France. She taught me how to play the guitar and wear makeup. I stayed there until I was eight and then I worked in a coffee shop and slept there at night next to the picture window that had a toile cushion beneath it. No one minded. I ate small sugary biscuits with tea or coffee every day for breakfast and wrote sad love songs until I kissed a boy. I got a tattoo of his initial on the underside of my middle finger and never told him. I left the lyrics to a song on a table outside the coffee shop one afternoon and could not find them later that afternoon. I heard a song on the radio a year later that used my lyrics. I never told anyone.

    I took a train to Germany and dyed my hair jet-black again. I had five children in five years and gave them all away to charity. I worked in a guitar shop and met Jimmy Page and we spent the night together. I got a tattoo of his initials on the underside of my middle finger of my other hand and swore my love to him eternally. He said he would love me forever too.

    I stayed awake once for three days because I was sad. I moved to Spain because I needed to be warm and painted my front door a different color every day. My skin loved the sun and the black faded from my hair. I wore jewelry with diamonds and flowers in my hair. When I looked at the sky at night I could see the face of my true love who I knew I would never meet. Sometimes I see children with light blue eyes and jet-black or light blonde hair and I know they are mine. I never say anything.





    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Total LOVE or Total HATE--My Reviews.

    My short story Absorbed has been on Amazon for almost a year.

    It is only 16 pages long and listed under horror, and has always sold at a decent clip. It is listed as a short story and states that along with the number of pages three times on the Amazon lising.

    Amazon listed it as free for several months because they saw it several other places free. Then MANY  people got the story and started to review it. Thankfully it has received many (31 five star) good reviews, including a five star Amazon Vine review.

    It has also received five ONE star reviews.

    These reviewers hated the story so much that it inspired them to create Amazon profiles for the sole purpose of telling everyone how much they disliked the story. The one star reviewers called the story anti-men, too violent, too short, morbid, unsettling  and disturbing. One of them said a horror reader would probably love it.

    That is why I wrote it. Because I love horror, and I know there are plenty of horror readers out there.

    One wrote although the story was well-written, it was not their type of book.

    Another wrote that she thought the book was great and full of surprises, but the story took a dark turn. She would have preferred it stayed on it's original path.

    The story is for people who like the dark, the macabre, and the shivery feeling of fear. It is for that slightly off-center group who want to wonder what is around that next shadowy corner, and revel in chill as they wait. It is not for the weak-of-heart. That is why it is listed in the horror catagory.



    If you like happy endings, my books are not for you--unless you would put bloody revenge, evil, and psycological mind-twists in the happy ending catagory.

    Absorbed is a short intro to my writing--it is not a long and winding epic novel. Although I do not write to specifically offend, I will NOT avoid writing something if it is true to a character or will enhance the story. I do not think horror is a catagory that is concerned with political correctness. My characters will not say "Oh foo when another F word is more appropriate--and more real. This is not for everyone! And that is fine with me.  There are certain genres I do not like, and I usually do not look for books in this catagory.

    I do not expect everyone to like my stories. On the contrary, I think it will be a mixed bag. But I would hope that our stories will be reviewed for what they are, and not what the reviewer expected or did not like because they were reading in the wrong catagory.

    And if you are reading horror, keep that light on.  :)

    Absorbed is currently free on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Absorbed-ebook/dp/B005SUBYYI





    Friday, September 14, 2012

    Who the Hell ARE YOU ??--Personality Testing

    Modern personality test were originally developed to reveal aspects of an individual's personality. In 1919 they were further developed to help with the screening process for personnel selection into the armed forces.


    (Please feel free to tell me what you see in the comment below--I would love to know :)

    We are all familiar with the Rorschach ink blot pictures, and many of us have taken the Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator_(MBTI) test when applying for a job. Many other forms also exist, and each have weaknesses. Test-taker bias is a problem because the subject can only respond to the topics that are presented to him and relate to him.  Test results rely on truthful answers, and there is no way to truly know if the subject is being honest. In some cases the subject HIMSELF is not aware of his untruths.

    Although the last time I interviewed for a job was many years ago and I cannot tell you what was discussed, I DO remember getting a lengthy personality test.

    I was told it was par for the course for the interview process, and quite accurate and revealing.

    The questions were what you would expect: Do you like parties? Do you like to help people even if they cannot help you in return? Do you like new experiences?

    I found it interesting the test would ask the same question several times throughout, sometimes thinly veiled by different wording, and sometimes just an outright repeat. So that began to distract me, and I wondered what other types of patterns and signals they were looking for. I became a bit paranoid that I would answer differently based on where the question was in the test. Did this mean I was a liar? Was there a mysterious IQ revealer hidden within a test of my personality?

    And it did not help that there were about 500 questions on the test.

    I do NOT have a good attention span, unless it is something I am currently interested in, and I could feel myself starting to fade.

    I finished quickly and handed the test to my potential future employer.  She told me the test would be scored in a matter of minutes, and we could discuss the results. That was great, because I am also extremely impatient.

    My tests showed, along with many other things, that I am easily distracted, creative, and have a propensity for artistic endeavours.  Hmmm.  I would have told her all those things if she asked me.  She also told me, even though the test showed that I am disorganized and easily distracted, that I would someday make a terrific manager and would fit well in a corporate workplace.

    Nooooooo.

    Wrong. Terribly wrong.

    I have almost no motivation or excitement when doing a job for another person, and I hate babysitting more than ANYTHING in the world, whether it be for kids or adults in the workplace. And being told what to do is not at the top of my list either. Or a dress code. You understand.

    While I think that tests might be good for certain situations, and for possibly pointing to some serious personality disorders, I think they can be manipulated, or worse, a wonderful person could take a test and be misinterpreted because the questions are very black and white and as we know, personalities come in a million colors.

    I have included a personality test here for fun:

    http://www.outofservice.com/bigfive/

    And another one from 100 Unfortunate Days with a more-then-slightly mad twist.  Have fun!


    Day 43

    Pick the symbol you like the most:
    1. *
    2. #
    3. @
    4. &
    5. ?
    6. %
    7. +
    8. !
    9. {
    10. }
    This is what the symbols mean:
    1. If you picked the * you have the ability to read minds sometimes. Sometimes you can tell when the phone is about the ring, and sometimes you can even tell who is on the other end of the phone. Sometimes women find you confusing. You say you are going to do something but you really don’t mean it.
    2. If you chose # then you are smarter than you think you are. You also have a really big secret that you want to tell people but if you actually told them they would think you were weird. You love iced tea and you had a really odd nickname in school.
    3. Choosing this symbol @ means you love to drive and fly in planes. You have also contemplated cutting yourself with a knife or burning yourself with matches—not a lot, but just enough to see what it feels like. Maybe one or two of you have actually done it. You like the Beatles and have them on your iPod.
    4. The & symbol means you are more spiritual or religious than you will openly admit. There is a part of you that wants to tell everyone how much you love your god, but you are afraid they will think you are freaky. You like to swim in the ocean and you like the smell of burning punks in the summer. You hate mosquitoes.
    5. Liking the ? is not as obvious as you thought. You are not necessarily confused but you do want a lot of things that you can’t have right now…like a new car. You also wish you could be in better shape. You love jelly beans, especially the red ones, and you like to gamble.
    6. The % sign is evil. You pretend you like people when you really don’t. You talk behind people’s backs. You like hamburgers and shellfish. You really are bad though.
    7. The + sign means you are very organized and keep all your perfectly cut coupons in a neat little folder that you carry with you at all times. Dinner is always on the table on time, or you want it to be. You are very mean to people who are not as organized as you. The wildest you ever get is being on top.
    8. Anyone that likes the ! pretends to be more optimistic than they actually are. They have contemplated moving away from their current life. They have some artistic ability or they like sports. If you like sports the circumference of your head is very large. You have buck teeth a little.
    9. If you like the { sign you are very sentimental and live in the past. You keep stuff in little jars in your garage that normal people would throw away. You like the taste of alcohol and are allergic to something that blooms in the spring but cannot figure what it is. Old people like you.
    10.If your sign is } you like to invent things—even if it is just in your head. You do not care about houseplants and would probably prefer them to die. You like toasted Wonder Bread with butter and love the smell of suntan lotion—especially Coppertone.






    Saturday, September 1, 2012

    A Welcome to the Dark

    This was the first post for As the Crowe Flies last September. I had no followers, and I'm pretty sure no one saw it. But it is September 1st and I'm again looking forward to the coming of the dark~~

    As summer comes to an end each year some dread the coming of the cold.  The sun will no longer be bright gold and yellow...it will now contain a shade of blue, and it won't keep us warm.  The dark creeps in earlier, and our minds somehow become darker, too.
     
    But as the flowers wilt, something in us comes to life.  We can let the dark, whithered sides of ourselves out again.  We realize that the dread is not for the summer's end, but for the shadows that we all hide. 

    Although most of us would never admit to our underground thoughts, we all remember wonderfully shivery nights when we told our deepest, darkest secrets to one another.  Things we would do if we could never get caught, thoughts of revenge plotted on an enemy, or boyfriends we would steal, and possibly give back. 

    Thankfully, most of us don't kill our enemies, or steal our neighbor's beautiful diamond necklace, or do anything to get ourselves in very much trouble.  We need to keep up appearances, after all.  How would they feel about all those nasty actions at the country club?  But if we were put in jail for our thoughts, many of us would be put away for a very long time.

    Here comes the dark, put out the welcome mat. 

    Below is a page from 100 Unfortunate Days:

    Day 4

    Did you know that all the best people belong to country clubs? If you can afford the $75,000 fee to get in and if you don’t mind people coming to check out your house and if you think it’s okay to post your name in the clubhouse for approval from all the other members and you feel it is obscene to show your shoulders, you will definitely get in and be surrounded by the best people in town. Of course you want your children to rub elbows with other children of wealthy parents, because it is a sign that you are a much better person than all the other people in town who are not in the club. They have a pool and a golf course that you have to pay extra for every time you want to play. All members are expected to eat there at least four times a month—and pay for that too. Because having lots and lots of money is a sign that God loves you. He wants you to live and prosper. But don’t act like a big shot—and don’t do TOO well for yourself because then you will be considered conceited and no one will like you. And why, for God’s sake, if you have so much money, would you live in that tiny house? It doesn’t even have the nicest decorations or a dark red dining room! By the way, your taste is not at all classic, is it? You have a tendency toward the eclectic, don’t you? And you really are such a handful you know. What do you mean you are going to a Junior League function? That does not seem like something you would do at ALL. It sounds like something I would do. See? You’re confusing and hard to handle. Wait—you could have gotten married at the country club and you CHOSE not to? Hmmmm. Really—who was going to sponsor you? And you don’t like to cook? Oh, that is too bad. I went through nine rugs before I finally settled on this one. Oh,—I forgot to tell you—we are redoing the kitchen—again!! I’m so excited! Do you want to come with me and pick out custom made tile?

    Monday, August 27, 2012

    The Return of the Adrenaline Supergirl


    As I was breezing through Facebook a few days ago I came across this picture:


    After laughing at the intense look on the little girl's face and the quote, it struck a chord. A really big, two-handed, stretch-your-fingers-as-far-as-they-can-reach chord.

    Because it made me realize this is exactly the feeling we are missing as we get older. THIS is the way we felt every single day as kids. We would never consider NOT feeling this way. We got an idea and we acted on it because we knew it would make us feel amazing.

    My mother's aunt baby-sat us one weekend, and found us with every cushion from her patio furniture all over the yard and under the porch. The Olympics had nothing on us. Jumping from the deck, running and doing flips in the air, and perfecting twists and mid-air gyrations was extremely important so we could get high scores from the judges. Although I don't think she liked the idea of seven year old kids jumping off the side of her house...

    There were no parents there, no one to buy us $200 uniforms, and more importantly, we were doing our own thing. Because, as my son said when he was eight, grown-ups ruin everything. He was talking about playing sports on the school team at that moment, but I knew what he meant. We take our lives and unfortunately the lives of our kids so seriously at such a young age that we take away their fun. We are controlling and feel the need to impart our wishes on our children. They feel too much stress far too early. They need time to be kids, to figure out their OWN ferocious games, and "get good" at something just because THEY love it--not because of something we want from them.  We were superheros that day at my aunt's house, and each of us was completely exhilarated and exhausted at the end of the day. I'm pretty sure we went to sleep happy.

    Another day we took every scarf, pillow case, sheet and towel from the linen closet and made a house on the weeping willow tree in the back yard by hanging everything from the drooping branches with clothes pins. We came in for dinner starving and not realizing we had been outside for hours. It was like magic--we created our own world.

    This post also made me realize that we let our fears stop us from doing so many things. "I would love to write a book but....  I would love to try out for a commercial but...  I would love to mountain bike or belly dance or play guitar..."  You get the idea.

    Of course money is an issue. Time also. But there is still that part of me that wants to do Leap-a-Letics in front of my friend Michael's house in the winter because his sidewalk still freezes perfectly in January. Everything was a competition then, and it felt great. No one was worried that too much competition was going to ruin our self esteem. If we did a bad leap--we were given a bad score. Nobody cried.  It felt great to practice something and get better at it just because we wanted to do it. Not because school said to to do it or our parents. But because we LOVED to do it. 

    I want to be excited and terrified again. I want to do cartwheels in my backyard just because it is sunny and learn how to do a backwards dive into my pool. And I want to give my son the space to create his own world too.  But for now I have to go...my people need me. :)


    P.S. My short story ABSORBED is currently in the TOP 20 in Amazon.

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

    Madness and Art

    Van Gogh cut off his ear.

    Sylvia Plath committed suicide.

    Numerous entertainers have overdosed on drugs--accidentally or otherwise.

    Shakespeare wrote of madness in Macbeth, and hinted about it elsewhere.

    Edgar Allen Poe was questionably depressed or bipolar.



    Some scientists believe the connection is clear--where there is creativity, there is the potential for madness. One European study linked the same genetic mutation that insights creativity to schizophrenia.

    http://io9.com/5316544/has-science-proven-that-all-artists-are-crazy

    It certainly seems that the creators of beautiful musical masterpieces like Mozart or Beethoven or breathtaking art like Picasso or Monet have a special vision or a different type of connection to another world. Some say it is because God is always speaking, and they are taking the time or have the ability to listen.

    And of course there is the drug connection too. Do true creatives try and self-medicate with alcohol, heroin, or cocaine? Does their propensity toward drugs stem from wanting to expand their already wider ability to see the world in a different way--or a need to quiet the "voices" telling them what to write, paint, or sing.



    Or do artists simply remove more of the social restraints that we and society have put in place from a very young age. We are a civilized nation, each of us fitting neatly into our roles and polite mores that have been dictated since our births.

    Freud used "talking therapy" to get to what he considered to be the root of people's problems.  He asked that the filters be removed, even if it was momentarily, and to free associate, and say the first things that pop into our heads--even if they seemed crazy or frightening. Wild things were said! New discoveries were made about deep and mysterious problems. We would never say these things in normal everyday conversation--people would think we are....

    What if we all tried to keep the filters down a bit. I'm not talking about the ones that keep us out of jail, but the ones that keep us from being embarrassed, or saying what we really feel, or doing what we honest-to-God want to do without the worry of hurting someone, disappointing someone, or being afraid and doing it anyway.  Maybe that is the only difference from the creative geniuses and everyone else.



    Is creativity merely the ability to keep these filters down? Maybe those who can control them are lucky. They can write or draw or make music--or in some cases, all these things, and put the filters back in place when they need to function in a social or familial situation.  Are the poor souls who are locked away and forever confused between reality and another world simply lacking the filters at all?

    At this point the jury is still out. Not all schizophrenics are artistic or creative, in fact some are simply and sadly paralyzed by what they experience. Not all madness is schizophrenia, and certainly not all artists are mad. 

    Some days I wonder if we are not all mad, but not properly categorized yet.

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

    Vacation! Why Don't I Want To Go??

    I'm organizing my bathing suits, clothes, makeup and snacks to head to the beach for the weekend.

    Normally this is something I look forward to so much that there are a few days I can think of nothing else.  Sitting near the blue ocean with a book and a cool drink in the breeze intoxicates me and calls like a relentless telemarketer.

    Not this year.

    I'm thinking of the pictures I need to draw for a book I am releasing.  The short stories in my head are shuffling around.  And marketing and advertizing is on my mind.

    This is WORK.

    And I completely and totally love it.

    I've had jobs I've liked before.  I've had jobs I had a talent for.  But nothing before THIS has happily consumed my life.  I write creepy stories and draw pictures that are equally odd.  I also get to indulge my inner-child by writing for kid's.

    I am not making enough money to support my family yet, but things are slowly moving in the right direction.

    Of course being an author is not for everyone.  Neither is being an artist and drawing picutres all day.  But it IS for me, and every single day I am grateful that I can do it.  It also makes me hope that I am raising my son in a way that will allow him to do what he loves, and get paid for it. 

    You know that little voice, the one that says go do that thing...whatever that thing is for you, go do it.  Even if you only have 15 minutes a day to spare, DO THAT THING.  Your thing.

    Of course I'll have fun at the beach with my family.  The ocean will be salty, blue, and inviting.  But for the very first time, I will be just as happy to come home and get back to my job. 

    So listen to that tiny voice, maybe someday you won't want to go on vacation either. :)

    Saturday, June 23, 2012

    Can You Love One Person Forever?

    My grandmother lived to be almost 100 years old.

    She was married to my grandfather over 65 years. They grew up in a port town in New Jersey and met when they were about eleven. They spent their childhoods with no television, and although the technology was available, they did not have a phone until they were married.  My grandfather used to try and pay a visit to my grandmother when they were in middle school, and her mother used to pour water on his head from the third story window to make him go away.

    Obviously this did not deter him, for they were married about seven years later after he bought her a coat during one very cold winter because she did not have the money.

    He was a big man--over six feet tall with a big barrel chest and strong arms. She was tiny--more than a foot smaller than he, standing about four foot nine or ten.

    I remember him often trying to give her kisses, and her playfully slapping him away.

    When he passed away everyone cried--he was a man who loved everyone equally, played no favorites to kids, grand kids, or great-grand kids.  Except for one--his wife.  She was the girl of his dreams forever, and I could tell he never, ever lost his fondness for her.

    I can't say the same in reverse.  She was eternally exasperated with him, and let him know in no uncertain terms.  Yet she was devastated when he passed.

    We are not the same people we were when we met our mates.  Even five years can be an eternity when it comes to maturity.

    I agree with Liz Phair when she says in her song "Somebody's Miracle" that watching a couple staying close is like the bloom of a rose.  I also agree with her that this is something to be envied.  To be able to evolve together, to stay in love, and to have someone forever is a gift.




     "Somebody's Miracle"

    I'm so far, so far away from it now
    That it seems like I may never know how
    People stay in love for half of their lives
    It's a secret they keep between husbands and wives

    Baby, There goes somebody's miracle
    Walking down the street
    There goes some modern fairy tale
    I wish it could happen to me
    But I look at myself
    Wonderin' if I'm just too weak
    To have such faith in myself

    Once upon a time I was so restless in love
    When things we're fine, I changed my mind just because
    Now I see how wrong and reckless I've been
    Each frog has a prince just waiting inside of him

    Baby, there goes somebody's miracle
    Walking down the street
    There goes some modern fairy tale
    I wish it could happen to me
    But I look at myself, and I think what the hell
    Maybe I'm just too naive
    To have such faith in myself
    You know I'm prayin' for it

    But the queen, she likes to sit on her throne
    Doesn't mean you two are never alone
    It's just love has needs that love only knows
    Watch a couple stay close, it's like the bloom of a rose

    Baby, there goes somebody's miracle
    Walking down the street
    There goes some other fairy tale
    I wish it could happen to me
    There goes somebody's miracle
    Walking down the street
    There goes some modern fairy tale...

    I never cry out loud,
    I keep my tears to myself
    But I woke up one day and I found my life had left me for someone else
    I guess it must be unhappy with me

    Baby, there goes somebody's miracle
    Walking down the street
    There goes some modern fairy tale
    I wish it could happen to me
    But I look at myself
    Wondering if I'm just too weak
    To have such faith in myself
    You know I'm prayin for it
    You know I'm prayin for it
    You know I'm prayin for it


    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Is Medical Marijuana Legal or Not?

    There are seventeen states, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Washington, D.C., where the use of marijuana is considered legal for a variety of medical reasons ranging from ALS to terminal cancer.



    The use of marijuana has been found by proponents to reduce stress, pain, increase appetite as it decreases nausea, and according to some, increase well being.

    Opponents say there are 20 times the carcinogenic properties in the smoke of marijuana vs. cigarette smoke.  They also say it is a gateway to more serious drugs like cocaine, meth, or even heroin.

    That being said, many states are in the process of making marijuana legal for medical purposes.  New York is considering not its legality for medical purposes right now, but making the possession of small amounts of marijuana a finable violation vs. a misdemeanor which is a jailable offense.  But that is another subject.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/04/ny-gov-cuomo-proposes-reducing-marijuana-penalty/

    I heard on the radio that a man was arrested in California for the possession of medical marijuana, where the substance is currently considered legal for medical use.  I was confused, so I looked it up.  Having a recommendation from a physician means you have been approved to USE marijuana for your current medical condition, it does not mean you can't be arrested for the possession, possession for sale, transporting a legal substance, and it would be your responsibility to prove your possession was for medical purposes.

    The amount you are allowed to possess varies from state to state, the smallest being one oz. usable product, (Alaska, Montana, Nevada) to 24 oz. usable product (Washington and Oregon).  And 14 of the 17 states  also allow for personal cultivation.

    http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881

    I don't have a problem with this drug being used medicinally. There are plenty of drugs with side effects and notoriety that are currently in use today that in my opinion, are far more problematic than marijuana.  There is a drug out there now that is used for psoriasis that hinders your immune system--it basically induces an autoimmune state.  Some of the warnings attached to this drug caution the user of the possibility of infections, increases in certain cancers and tuberculosis.  Many pain-killers have an addictive quality and can also cause the patient problems. 

    We would never consider taking pain-killers away from the population that needs them, but we cannot seem to agree that it is OK to give marijuana to the sufferers of chemotherapy side effects, intense pressure of glaucoma, certain types of pain, MS, AIDS, HIV, or seizures. Could this because of the stigma attached to it left over from the 60s? 

    So, it is safe to say marijuana is legal for certain medical conditions.  In certain places.  Just don't get caught with it driving home from the clinic.

    Saturday, May 26, 2012

    Voodoo, Energy, Positive Thinking--Magic or Fact

    I'm sure someone has told you somewhere along the line to "always look on the bright side of life..."



    When Monty Python tells me to keep my head up I smile and laugh, when the average person tells me I want to smack them.  Maybe not really smack them, but I certainly develop one of those dark ink-scratch clouds over my head like Charles Schulz drew over Linus's head when Lucy tried to steal his blanket.

    But I am pondering whether our states of mind can actually affect our quality of life.  And I also question if a practice like voodoo is merely a self-induced hypnosis where we can harm ourselves by over-thinking something to the point of creating a self-fulfilling prophesy.



    There are endless books on positive thinking where we are told how to remove anything bad from our minds and to only focus on the good, happy, and helpful.  The queen of affirmations is probably Louise Hay who has helped endless people with her books, workshops, and recordings. 



    http://www.amazon.com/Heal-Your-Life-Gift-Edition/dp/1561706280/ref=pd_sim_b_1

    Are affirmations just a form of reverse-voodoo? 

    Do we actually have the ability to make things happen with out thoughts?  Some people think we do.  Dr. Keith Scott-Mumbly believes we can help ourselves or harm ourselves by how we think.  He even believes we sometimes accidentally sabotage ourselves with unconscious thought patterns.  Supposedly we develop patterns when we are very young as defense mechanisms and methods of survival.  As we grow and leave the situations that caused us to develop these necessary patterns, we continue to use them though we no longer need them.  Now instead of helping us these patterns hinder us.  Read how we can help ourselves with reprogramming according to Dr. Mumbly:

    http://www.alternative-doctor.com/mind_stuff/tools10.html

    My personal opinion on the topic stems from a famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt.  The quote says "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."  Everyone loves this quote.  It is supposed to be empowering--I feel it is dangerous.  I believe it could hurt someone who is truly depressed and needs help they cannot muster from within.  It could make someone feel worse who is stuck in a terrible situation and cannot figure a way out.

    While I do believe we should always do our best and assume everything will be OK, I also think we should seek help when needed and NOT feel bad if we can't pull it off ourselves.

    Now back to the magic.

    If we eat purely healthy food, supposedly our bodies improve.  New skin in 30 days, our liver can regenerate in 6 weeks, and our skeleton is replaced in 3 years by new cells.  So why can't we do the same with our minds.  Could we actually think ourselves into a better situation?  If our thoughts are as pure as organic food can we do magic?

    Mystics believe that we can.  A tulpa is "the concept of a being or object which is created through sheer discipline alone. It is a materialized thought that has taken physical form and is usually regarded as synonymous to a thoughtform." 

    I have never had the ability to completely change a thought pattern if my emotions are pushing me in the other direction.  I love the idea of true magic, but I am not convinced in one direction or another.  If anyone has a magical story to share--I would LOVE to hear it :)

    Please read about tulpas on Day 46 of 100 Unfortunate Days:

    Day 46

    Anything can be a tulpa. If you think of something long enough, you will make it real. You can make almost anything come true. Stacks of books are written about all the methods of imagery, manifestation and self-fulfilling prophecies—but in reality, all you have to do is think. Nothing tricky or fancy—just think. You’ll do this and you won’t even know it. You will worry about your kid…she’ll be sad at school, she’ll do badly with her new friends. Just keep it up—it will surely happen. Whatever you think about for your kids, whatever you worry about—that is what they will become. Pity them and they will become the kid that should be pitied. You gave them a tulpa. They are their own tulpa because of you. People take things away from us all the time. They call names, they give us wrong directions and they hurt our feelings. We take it from there. No one can ever talk to us as much as we talk to ourselves. “I’m such a witch, I’m such a witch…” One day your husband made you mad and you add something to his food that may upset his stomach just a little bit. “I’m such a witch…” The mole on your face has a hair you never noticed before. “…such a witch…” You no longer feel a communion with God. Somewhere along the line you become the witch. A tulpa is a thought come to life. Mystics in India believe if you can imagine something to the point of knowing it down to its finest detail—eventually you will have a hard time knowing if it is your imagination or not. Then this spirit/idea takes on shape and energy and it becomes real. So real that you can no longer get rid of it. So real that it can become a part of you and have the ability to change your life.





    Monday, May 14, 2012

    Horror--Pick Your Pleasure

    I am lucky enough to be in a group called TESSpecFic, a group of speculative writers, and we are the writers of weird.  We are also the writers of horror, dark fantasy, and many other genres.

    Our leader and group creator, Marie Loughlin, suggested we tackle the question, what is horror, and how does it differ from dark fantasy?

    Oh, the delicious idea of horror, and oh, the dark and twisted and avenues we can meander down.  There are many categories and subtle sub-categories of horror to explore--but I am going to reduce them to two. 

    For some, horror is very direct, shocking, and gory: 

    A group of unsuspecting and vulnerable teens is chainsawed, hung on meat hooks and destroyed...

    Kidnapped victims are forced to run through razor wire, remove their own eyes, or cut off their limbs...

    Travelers are sadistically tortured, an important organ is cut from a man and fed to a dog, and blood and pieces of flesh fly with wild abandon...

    If there are no blood and guts, some do not consider it to be "true" horror.  The fluff and psychological inferences do not fly as anything but boring.  This faction of people likes nothing left to the imagination.  They live for the cringe factor--the more in-your-face, the better.  Zombies eating intestines, werewolves ripping throats, serial killers dismembering, and psychopaths torturing fit neatly into this category. 

    For others, horror is a subtle and divine head-trip.  Not always as direct, and sometimes teetering on the verge of another category, this horror can be reminiscent of those fuzzy-vague nights of our teens...exciting, thrilling, heart-pumping, yearning, and sometimes terrifying.

    A disembodied voice warns of terrible future events...

    A dismantling of reality is slowly replaced with a growing realization of madness...

    A boy commits suicide by shooting himself in the head, and his surviving brother is given the horrible weapon as a birthday present by his parents...

    When something is seductive and beautiful, we cannot help but look at it.  When that something is slowly torn down, ruined, changed, and broken--we are riveted.  When our inner voices morph and we question what is sane and what is madness, we ponder our own sanity, and we need to know more.  When we watch a villain suffer and we feel a tingle of joy, we question our morals and we question our decency.

    Whether you like subtle or in your face horror the need and satisfaction is all the same--we experience things we could never experience otherwise, revenge, murder, suicide, torture, sadism, masochism, cannibalism and a host of other treats from the safety of a theater, our living room couch, or our favorite chair as we read a book in the dark.

    Fantasy is a category of writing where medieval myths and concepts are the main focus.  I think it could be easy for a dark fantasy book to cross the line into the horror-zone simply because of the direction of the story.  For instance, a queen kidnapped and tortured in a very Hostel-like environment would still, in my opinion, be considered dark fantasy and not horror because of the medieval premise. 

    But I am also a believer in sub-sub-sub categories that cannot be found on Amazon.

    For example, where does possession fit?  Is it horror?  A memoir?  Occult?

    So dark fantasy should have more branches below it on the flow chart.  Horror fantasy, black comedy, dark memoirs, and non-fiction occult are a few categories I would love to see added to our genre choices.

    I also think that all genres can bleed into almost any other genre, no pun intended--and I don't want to take the magic out of the topic by dissecting (sorry) it too much.

    Please visit the other members of TESSpecFic and read their views of horror.


    Marie Loughin
    Jaye Manus
    Paul D. Dail
    Kim Koning
    Aniko Carmean
    Jonathan D. Allen

          *  http://jonathandallen.com/  What is horror?  Baby Don't Hurt Me...

    Thanks Marie!
         









    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    Delicious Revenge

    Do you recall the last time someone did you wrong?

    If it was a minor infraction, you were probably mad for a bit and then let it go.

    If it was a bit more serious you probably had to say something, or possibly even felt like yelling a screaming a bit.  The more volatile of us may even punch something.

    But if someone did something terrible to you or someone you love, or you were to witness atrocities of the innocent, chances are you would want revenge.  Not giving the evil-doer a good talking to or helping them get on the right track, most likely you would want to see them suffer.Or at least hear something relatively wicked happened to them.

    We hate the endings of books or movies that leave us hanging, especially if the bad guy does not get his due.

    Oh the lovely feeling of satisfaction when a cheating husband is caught, and it is even more lovely if he is caught by not only the wife, but a film crew, and his other girlfriend.  Same with a cheating wife.  Or one of those vile people who neglect or abuse their animals.  Of course we love to see the animal saved and in the arms of a new and loving owner, but it's so much better when they hunt down the abuser and he has to pay.  I think one of the reasons reality television is gaining popularity is we get to experience the satisfaction of the bad guys going down.

    It does not mean we are awful to love the thought of revenge. In fact according to the following article it is unusual for a person to NOT feel vengeful when they are wronged--it is probably a sign they are repressing true feelings.

    http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2831618&page=1

    I do not think I could personally injure someone who has done me wrong, but I have never been pushed to my limits. I've attached a link to my short story Absorbed that is listed as free for the next week on Smashwords.  It is a dark and twisted tale of a love gone very wrong, with a few tricks.

    Hope you like it.  :)

    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/96160