Hello again, gentle readers! This past weekend I found myself in a peculiar mood. A mood that led me to compose two poems and a short story, all here in this blog.
The Writer & His Critic was spawned by another poem, The Owl & The Pussycat. The first few lines are a dead giveaway. But the subject matter is quite different. My poem, although a bit whimsical, is no romance. It ends with the Writer returning to shore alone, his Critic silenced and "sunk like a stone."
Oh My Child, on the other hand, was one of those spontaneous creations. Initially, I thought it was going to be a simple, sweet lullaby. The image of a parent rocking their child to sleep appeared in my mind's eye. But, as I wrote it, that sweetness turned into something darker and the sleeping child was replaced by a child who had died after an illness. The lullaby turned into a lament.
Witness to the Feast was straight-out prose. It was inspired by a weird stew of events: Earth Day, the recent anniversary of Bram Stoker's death, the gray, wet weather outside my window. Those disparate elements combined into a story about a vampire killing a girl, and the girl's ghost forced to watch as rats devour her corpse.
A lot of people are hesitant to write about dark things. They shy away from them, out of fear of what other people will think, or the realization that they actually have these stories churning around inside of them. Some people may be afraid of what will happen if they listen to the whispers from the darker aspects of themselves.
Gentle readers, if you want to write, you cannot ignore the whispers from the dark. You have to sit down and invite your monsters over for tea.
Because they have a story to tell you. It may be something awful. It may be something you don't want to hear, or acknowledge, but it's there. The monster, after all, wears your face and speaks in your voice. Some part of you wants to tell this story. You should listen to the monster, acknowledge that the story makes you uneasy, and then write it down.
It may make you squirm, it may make yours palms sweat, but it may also be something wonderful. Just because you're writing about monsters, murder and mayhem doesn't make you a bad person, any more than writing about saintly virgins overcoming evil makes you a good person.
We've all got darkness and light inside us. Our souls are a vast twilight region full of sunsets and dawns, inhabited by angels and demons and things of grayer aspect. When they talk to you, you should listen. You might be pleasantly surprised by what they have to say.