Sunday, May 31, 2009

One of Those Rare, Happily Melancholic Occasions

Some parties are over too soon, no matter how late into the night they go. This was one of them. Family, old friends, and a niece leaving her school years behind to head out into the world.

We gathered to celebrate Courtney's graduation, and enjoyed the fellowship of family and friends that we see all too seldom. A warm, perfect afternoon late in May, deepened into a comfortable evening under the stars and the hung lights of the awning. It finished with the young members of the next generation of graduates shrieking and chasing each other with glowsticks though the sultry nighttime backyard.

It was good to see so many people I care for, and a disheartening reminder of how seldom we meet when I see how much they change every time we are together. The children grow up so fast it's hard to keep up. It seems like only yesterday that our guest of honor was one of those little kids scampering through shadows, on a late summers evening in parties of yore. It reminds me to treasure the time we have with them, for these days are fleeting.

And the rest of us just seem to be grayer versions of before, with some of us a tad wider to boot. But it was fun. It was good. And I wish it could have gone on for a lot longer than it did.

Good luck, Courtney. May you find the world an adventure worthy of your talents,

Friday, May 29, 2009

Inspiration Needed...

...and we all know what that means.

Cheesy fries at Denny's.

Now that "Picking Dewberries" is done, and just awaiting a quick check by Cherri (one of my two main proofreaders) it will be submitted to LL Dreamspell. "Rite of Passage" has been submitted for critique at the writers workshop for Apollocon, so that's done as well.

Now it's time to start developing new material crack the whip at that little guy in the back of my head and yell, "Produce! Production is everthing! Only through production can we overcome! We need more production!"

Then I'll feed him cheesy fries...

Bummed Out

Played Morrowind all day. Accomplished nothing.

Okay, I did go to Rowans ARD meeting and we hashed out her general school plan for next year. They are going to have her in a supervised general preschool setting, but still getting time with her therapists and PPCD teacher.

Back to doing nothing...

Just decided to play a little Morrowind, and ended up playing all day. Next thing I knew, Karla was home and wondering why dinner wasn't ready. Denny's was good.

Friday, which is technically today now, Sheridan graduates kindergarten. He starts first grade this fall. Wow. Needless to say, I'm terrified of turning him loose in a public school...but that seems to be whats in the cards. I like him for who he is now, and I know there is no way to un-expose a kid to things once he has been exposed. Also, he has been fortunate in having a teacher who has been very good about tailoring her teaching to his needs. They aren't going to be that flexible in public school. And what I probably hate the most, is how he is about to start a period where he will spend an enormous amount of his childhood confined in a desk. He's used to a school that lets kids move around a lot. Sigh. I feel like I'm tossing him into a kid factory.

Angst and worry.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Real Life Steps In.

Well, I have finished "Picking Dewberries," the conversion of Argiope's prologue into short story. Now I just need to wait until Cherri gets back to proof read it. I have learned...never, ever, ever submit something that you have only proofread yourself.


Until then, I now have some non writing things to attend to for the next couple of days. Rowans ARD meeting is today. We meet with her teachers and therapists at the public school to discuss her upcoming school year. She has sure come a long way since last fall. I just hope she doesn't backslide over the summer.

Then Sheridan's graduation is on Friday, followed by his dance recital on Saturday, followed by Courtneys graduation party on Saturday. Lots of family goodness going on there. I guess I'll have to take a bath.

I will submit "Picking Dewberries" to LL Dreamspell"s "Nightmare" anthology. I know they are planning another ghost story anthology soon so I'll start plotting along those lines. I already have "Rite of Passage" held in reserve for that one. I just need to come up with one or two more. I sent "The Revenant" in for their "Nightmare" anthology because even though it is a different story than "Rite of Passage," it shares some elements that would really glare out if they shared the same anthology. Of course, the conceit on my part is the concern that they would both be accepted. But I shall have to watch for elements in the new stories to make sure they are "more different".

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dad! Look! Look, Dad! Look!

One way to hone your concentration skills till they are those of a true master...

Try carefully crafting a short story by strategically creating and inserting well written lines, while your six year old plays World of Goo on his computer beside you and demands that you watch every feat of gooey accomplishment.

Okay, I admit that really doesn't hone your skills of concentration at just makes you grit your teeth a lot.

But I only have fifteen words to go, before reaching that magic 3000 word minimum. Then I'll review it after a good nights sleep to see how bad I actually screwed things up.

In other news...

My Ray Bradbury books came in. Yay me!

Humming along.

I have been working on the prologue to Argiope, trying to convert it into a short story that meets the guidelines of LL Dreamspell. I believe I shall name it "Picking Dewberries." I need to insert about 150 more words to get it up to the 3000 word minimum, so I'm almost there.

Maybe a little more descriptive prose for setting.

The trick is not to mess up the pacing.

Hopefully, I shall have it wrapped up either today or tomorrow. And then I can start developing new projects. Of course this is a busy week, what with Sheridan's and Courtney's graduations...and Sheridans recital I'll wrapping up that story may have to count as my accomplishment for the week.

What I'll probably do is just settle for conjuring images during my free time, record them, and sift through them later to see if any have a story starting to form around them.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Due to an annoying bout of insomnia, I ended up staying up all night. I put that to good use though, and succeeded in reformatting and submitting "Rite of Passage" to Apollocon.

Now to try and get some sleep.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Uh Oh

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I have now learned how to embed lolcats in my blog. This could be bad.

Gearing Up

Ah well, the weekend ends and it will soon be time to be productive again. I took a little break away from writing, but now I need to get back in the saddle before I get too comfortable off of it.

Tomorrow I will download the format for Apollocon submissions and get "Rite of Passage" converted over to that.

After that, I will look at the prologue of "Argiope" with an eye towards fleshing it out into a short story of it's own. If that is possible, and I think it is, then I will do so.

After that, it will be time to examine the latest mental images and see what I can turn into a short story. So far it is May, and I have written five short stories...four of which have been submitted for publication, and one awaiting the appropriate anthology. That is translating into one short story a month. I'm told that is actually very good. We shall see. I originally had intended to try and author and submit fifteen short stories in 2009. I gave up on that when I started "Argiope", but now that project is shelved so I'm debating returning to my original goal.

Ah well, time to gird the loins of my mind...which is something like the windmills of my mind, only without the round whirly things...and get to work.

Friday, May 22, 2009

At The Movies

After putting the kids to bed last night, I went and saw Terminator: Salvation.

It had lots of explosions, robots, gunfire, helicopters, cgi, and people yelling. It sort of rode on that. The problem was that after a while, it all becomes sort of trivial. Especially since the movie just sort of happens along, and you really never connect to any charactor.

And thats not even factoring in the huge logic bombs that make the movie even possible. Skynet must be the stupidest AI to have ever existed.

Regardless, I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen it. I suggest seeing it at matinee prices though. You'll get your money's worth that way. Just don't think too hard.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


"Argiope" is officially shelved.

Even my wife is now advising I step back from it for a while.

I will take a day or two away from writing, and then move on to my next project. That will be formatting another short story of mine, "Rite of Passage", for entrance into Apollocon's writer's critique workshop. Time is running out on that.

After that, I shall see if inspiration strikes. If so, I will follow that...if not, I will review my shelved projects to see what I can revise, continue, etc.

On another note, I have agreed with the wife to wait until Windows 7 comes out before shopping for my first laptop computer. My mind tells me this is the common sense thing to do, but my male psyche is suffering terribly about having to wait for a new toy....err tool. Sigh, perhaps getting a real TV before football season starts would ease my life of pain.

Ah well, now to kick back and let the little grey cells relax.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Time to Surrender?

There comes a time where you have to stop and say enough is enough. I'm not totally there yet, but I'm considering it.

I think I'm going to put the Argiope project on hold for a little bit. It just wasn't as developed as it should have been when I started writing it. Due to that, I'm writing myself into corners and having to back up and start over.

Due to that, I spent all day yesterday struggling over two an effort to get a minor charactor into a bathroom.


Time to rethink this and, if I can't come up with some answers to some needed questions in the next day or two, shelve the project for while. I can always come back to it later. Until then, there are other projects to be developed.

Fighting the Story

The current story I'm working on is giving me fits.

Never before have I strained and fought so much with one tale. And the fight this story is putting up is showing in some irritating ways. It has grabbed a constant piece of my attention, and it won't let go...I'm guessing until I either figure out it's issues, or set the damn thing aside.

Last night, it interfered with my ability to do a proper critique of my writing partners work. I kept catching my attention coming back to the issues I was having with this story, instead of addressing the conversation I was currently in. And that is embarrassing.

So I think I may need to double down and really focus on this story, and then lay down some ground rules when it comes to writing them in the future. I think my first problem is that I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) before I had truly had a story. I had a premise, and some interesting (or graphic) scenes that that premise made possible, but I really didn't have a story and an ending. And now I'm 12,000 words into the story and trying to work some of those issues out.

Don't get me wrong, I have let stories write themselves before. But even in those cases I had a mental image of a couple of basic things. Like how the story was going to end, and the key elements. This time I started without a few key pieces, and now it's giving me hell.

So, I'm going to hole up and brainstorm for a day or two and focus on settling those elements before resuming. There are just some things you shouldn't have mental energy devoted to when you are this far into the story. They should already be worked out, even if on a general or hazy level, before you get to far into the story. That way I'm not struggling with them, and I can free up mental cycles for other things that I need to be doing.

I also need to review my protagonist a little bit. His flaws seem to have overtaken him, and I need to back those down a little. Sigh. And I haven't even gotten that far into my first draft either. I have a feeling that this story can be good, but that I'm going to be glad to have it in my rear view mirror.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Super Duper Deep Thought of the Day

One of the rotten parts about being a writer is that you are no longer allowed to be bored.

All you ever hear is, "So write something...duh!"

Underway Again

When in doubt, turn to french fries.

Alas, my writing buddy is down with a bug so I had to go this one alone. So here is a shout out to Cherri, hoping she gets to feeling better.

My problem was that I had left a couple of tiny "logic bombs" in my initial scenario that lay there ticking up until I got to a certain scene. As the story goes on, I was going to have a harder and harder time justifying the actions of some of charactors due to that. My antagonists have certain abilities and needs, and a major scene in my story was beginning to develop at odds with what those charactors would logically do. I had to go back, rethink a few basic premises, and make some decisions on which things needed saving...certain premises or certain scenes.

The process isn't complete yet, but at least it's far enough along that I can go a little further along in my story. I may have to go back and change the gender of an already introduced charactor though. I've already had to go back and change the location of a minor charactor. But hopefully, most of these changes will only affect scenes yet to come. Going back and revising already written scenes is a pain, especially this early in the process.

But hopefully, this will prevent me from writing myself into any more corners.

Monday, May 18, 2009


That is the sound of my mental and storytelling brakes being engaged.

I'm humming along, preparing to write a big action scene in my novella, and the wife points out a couple of logic bombs that bring the whole process to a stop. Arrrggghhhh!!!

When I write, even if it's horror or fantasy, I want the story to have an internal logic that it's faithful too. It has to make sense on it's own level, or the reader is just going to rightfully accuse me slapping together visceral scenes with no rhyme or reason. Of "cheating", so to speak.

And they would be right.

I hate it when movies do that. I hate it when books do that. I think it's one of the things that separates good horror from schlock. (Not that I don't enjoy a little good schlock from time to time, as long as it doesn't pretend too seriously to be serious) The second your audience is rolling their eyes and saying "why would they do THAT?", then you have lost them.

So now I'm scrambling backwards and reviewing my underlining premise. Why did certain things happen? What are the antagonists going to do, and why? What is their nature? My scene isn't going to work right until I resolve a certain bad guys behavior with her overall motivation, and that of her group.


Sunday, May 17, 2009


Sigh, one of the jobs of being a writer means reading and researching. Sometimes a particular subject, and sometimes a broader subject.

Like writing romance.

Yes, my male ego immediately runs shrieking from the room, and I break out in hives at the thought of the word...but it's a fact of life, and there will come a time I will need the skill to include it in a book of mine with competence. And while merely describing the dimensions of some blonde, and arming her with a beer and easily detachable attire might do it for most guys, I'm assured that other readers may demand a tad bit more.

Perhaps a brunette.

Sigh, I reckon I will probably have to broaden the horizons of my reading list. I don't mean anything from Harlequin, but I need to think of a good male author who can include people getting together in his stories. It's either that, or the blonde with the beer and the velcro bindings.

Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Good Guy

What makes a good protagonist? Is he tall? Strong? Brave? Caring? Empathetic? Smart? Wise? Or combination's of all the above?


Currently, the "hero" of the story I'm writing is none of those things. Well, I guess he's fairly smart, but not any kind of genius. He's not a bad guy, he's just a normal guy whose life blew up on him.

I kind of like him. He's trying to do something good, even though his reasons for doing so are complicated. He honestly wants to save a child, his nephew, but his reasons are as unconsciously self serving as they are altruistic. He's being motivated as much by his flaws as his loyalties, and on some level he realizes that. He has to overcome some tremendous hurdles, and he has to deal with the fact that overcoming those hurdles is probably what's pushing him on.

His struggle is going to be with who he is, and who he wants to become, as much as it's going to be with the forces arrayed against him...and I like him for that.

Lets hope the readers do too, someday.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Running Out of Story...and Other Writers Blocks

Last night, I did something interesting. I was humming along, my fingers flying on the keyboard, when...

...I ran out of story.

I just sat there, staring like an idiot at the screen, with no idea what was supposed to happen next. I realized I had visualized the story up to this point, and then nothing but vague generalities beyond that.

This was a disaster!

Not just because I wasn't producing material, but because it was during prime writing time. It was late at night, the wife and kids were in bed, and I had the house and computer to myself. It being Thursday night meant I could stay up later because I could go back to bed for a while after getting the kids off to school.

Have you ever tried writing when there are conscious kids in the house?

It's like trying to write while ignoring a ticking bomb in the house. Only this bomb won't exactly explode when it goes off. It will stuff your socks down the toilet and flood your house instead. Or there was that one time the three year old got into the egg carton and decided to have her own Easter Egg hunt. She should have been gentler in placing them.

Yeah, that was lovely.

Anyways, I suppose I may have to break down and cheat...which is what I call outlining since I usually write "by the seat of my pants". I got a schedule I need to maintain, and I can't be losing those prime writing hours.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

And Things Toodle Along

The writing is going well. I'm on my second day writing my new novella and I'm already five thousand words into it.

Yeah, I rock.

I'm really content with the opening chapter, and it has gotten thumbs up from my two primary reviewers. Now that I've learned to start off a novella with a hook and a bang, I just have to try and keep the pace up. That's going to be the challenging part.

My first attempt at novellas were not published, but they were fantastic learning experiences. Learning ones weaknesses is the first step to getting better. My problem is that I have this instinctual desire to spend the first 10 pages "setting the stage". I waste valuable opening space going into vivid descriptions of setting, charactors, weather, moods, etc...when I need to be getting on with the story. That really shows in my earlier works. This time I'm working on getting things started, and weaving all that other stuff in as I go along.

One a side note, I have some new (old) books on order. I should be getting a few Ray Bradbury collections in the mail, including Dandelion Wine. He was my favorite author as a teen, and I'm looking forward to rediscovering him.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Humming along

Yep, 2000 words into my new novella and I'm in a much better mood. Pictured to the right, is one of the elements of my little drama. I had been looking for a way to use her for a while.

Now it's a matter of sitting down and typing this thing out. The difficult part for me is that I'm going to be setting this story in current times. Being a bit of an anachonism myself, that means I'll have to research such exotic mysteries such as cell phones, ipods, and other technological voodoo that I have no understanding of.

I'll have to go pester a teenager or something.

Ah well, I suppose I'll have to move into the 21st century one of these days. I just like the seventies and eighties better. Things were simpler, and monsters had more places to hide. Nowadays, Bigfoot and flying saucers don't have a chance. The second they pop their head up, some clown with a camera phone is there to snap their photo. We're all paparazzi now.

Hmmm... that sounds like a point in itself. Maybe I'll explore that one.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Crisis Averted

The muse has returned.

In the end, the solution was to go out and have sodas and french fries with a writer friend, Cherri Galbiati. We sat out at Denny's until one in the morning, bouncing ideas off of each other.

(btw Cherri, if you're reading this...I've changed my mind and decided to let the dog in the story live.)

It's a relief to sit down in front of the computer, armed with a story. Sitting in front of a blank screen, with nowhere to go, is a terrible feeling. You want to produce, to create, and nothing comes. You start wondering if you're all washed up and out of ideas. You're as bad as any angsty teenager, and probably twice as annoying.

But, I now know the bribe price of my muse. French fries and chatting with a friend. I can live with that. Now to get to work.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Dry Spell

Ye Gods, I am doomed.

I have hit the dreaded dry spell. My imagination offers me nothing but rehashes, or less, for story fodder.

I lay in bed at night, struggling mightily to call a muse. Just one. One teensy little muse. Even a little baby muse would be fine. I'll bake it cookies or anything it wants.

How do you bribe a muse anyways? Food? Candy? Drugs? Whatever, I'm ready to cut a deal. Just show me the way to the little fellers.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Where No Man has Gone Before

After putting the kids to bed last night, I took advantage of the peace and quiet to sneak off and watch the new Star Trek movie. I had been hearing good things about it, but because I'm only slightly less of a purist when it comes to the original series than my wife is (who refused to see it) I was prepared to hate it. So how did I feel about it? The short answer is...

...I liked it.

Now, there are caveats. There was a major divergence in Spock's character that I'm not so sure about And a big plothole regarding the bad guy (where did he just disappear off to for 27 years, and how would he know old Spock was coming anyways?) kind of reared it's head for those who care about those things, but overall it was a good movie.

The charactors were sound. The creators of the movie made the smart choice of getting actors to play the charactors, and not the former actors. This avoided the pitfall of the movie turning into a contest of who was the best impersonator. The actors playing Spock and McCoy would have won that contest hands down though. Thats not to say that the other charactors weren't done well. Kirk was very good, Uhura was very good, Scotty was great, Checkov was good, Sulu was very, very good, and the actor who played Captain Pike completely redefined the role. Unfortunately Yoeman Rand and Nurse Chapel were conspicuous by their absence.

The action was great, although I still think the whole scene with a young Kirk trashing a sports car felt gratuitious and tacked on. Overall, it definitaly payed homage to the original series in a very updated way. It had that wild west feel to it that the other trek series lost.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Is CGI Ruining Thrillers/Horror?

There has been a trend of remaking movies lately, and a few specific examples come to mind.
Godzilla, The Fog, and The Haunting probably represent good examples of my point.

(I would also like to add another movie on my rant list, "Eight Legged Freaks". Although not a remake, I still unconsciously compare it to Tarantula, which is what I was hoping it would be)

These were all remakes that had much larger budgets than their predecessors, and on top of that had access to a new technology that literally lets you put anything you can imagine on the screen...CGI. All were free to display their monsters and haunts in full splendor, without any constraints. And they did.

But an odd thing happened. The movies fell short of their predecessors. Now a lot of things could contribute to that, but I sort of sensed the presence of CGI to be a huge contributing factor. It seems that when you have the ability to "show anything", many filmmakers go straight to doing just that...without ever asking if that's really a good idea. You would think their writers would know better.

A writer has always had the ability to "show anything", and is constantly weighing the value of what to display and what to keep hidden. He has to appreciate that those decisions dictates the very type of story his piece will turn out to be. As the old maxim goes, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Victim

Ever wonder why some of the old hack and slash films of the eighties got varied responses to their on screen murders?

Why were the perils of Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, and Sigourney Weaver in Alien, reacted to in one way by an audience...when the varied lineups of victims in the friday the 13th series, which sometimes included future stars such as Kevin Bacon and Crispin Glover never seemed to garner the same audience "concern". When ghosts threatened the Freeling family in Poltergiest, we feared... yet when ghosts stalked the occupants of Hill House in The Haunting, it somehow lacked the same elements despite the superior CGI effects (and I have a whole future post I'm dreaming up on the subject of whether or not CGI has ruined horror films).

How much of that has to do with the victim?

The "victim" has an important role to play in a thriller, as s/he plays 50% of the dynamic in the antogonist/protagonist conflict. An intimidating threat coupled with a victim the audience doesn't want to sympathise with, gets you your typical Friday the 13th reactions...ranging from jumps at the shock value attacks to literal cheers as an annoying cast member gets gruesomely dispatched. Unsympathetic doesn't mean unlikeble. It's not that audiences don't react to the threat against charactors they detest, it's more a matter of ambivalence. The audience has to identify with or invest something in the charactor threatened, or they can't as effectively emotionally respond to the peril the victim faces. Many movies seem content to substitute attractive victims for effective ones...

...or overly heroic ones. Notice how Jamie Lee Curtis's and Sigourney Weaver's charactors changed in later episodes. Notice how the tone and effect of the films changed with them?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

R.I.P. 3DRealms

It's a sad day in the PC gaming world. One that almost everybody knew would one day come, whether consciously on subconsciously. 3DRealms has shut it's doors.

Now in all fairness, not a lot has come out of those doors in many years, especially the product that almost all PC gamers have been waiting for...Duke Nukem Forever.

The Doom Maring, Serious Sam, the prisoner from Unreal, JC Denton, were and are all great charactors in PC shooters...but none of them "kicked ass and chewed bubblegum". 3DRealms had lightning in a bottle with Duke, but they chose to exploit that through cheap console knockoffs and handheld games instead of ever delivering on the next big game of the franchise. So the years passed...

Personally, I used to be a member of their forums way back in 2001. I salivated over the 2001 video they released, and almost dreamed of more Dukey goodness on the horizon. But as the years passed and I got married, changed jobs, played other games, had kids, and life went one...DNF faded down my list of things that had my attention. Then as my gaming become rarer and became less of a priority, it fell from my attention all together.

Yet still, I feel a bit of sadness over this news. The fact that so many people followed this IP, even in the face of years of delay, meant that 3DRealms had something special...if they just could have found the means to follow through and deliver it. So it is a loss, even if it is a product that never truly existed in the first place. PC gaming just lost a bit of it's magic and mystique, because there is nobody to really pick up this torch...a torch that may not have even existed but in the minds of fans in the first place.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Say Hello To My Little Friend

Aint she a cutie? Next to the Banshee from "Darby O'Gill and the Little People," this was the next most popular guest star in my childhood nightmares. The difference is, I still have them starring this little gal from time to time.

I understand she is supposed to be harmless, but tell that to a six year old who just ran his bicycle through her web and had her crawl up his face and into his hair while he was trying to come to a controlled crash. Yeah, she didn't look so harmless then. Maybe it was karma for feeding all those grasshoppers to the spiders that hung around my childhood farm. Lets just say, the spiders at my farm were well fed and enormous.

One of these days I intend to feature this spider in a story, one way or another. While tarantulas get all the love from Hollywood, it's time somebody comes up with a way to help the orb weavers get equal time. She would also make an eye catching book cover, although it might discourage people from actually picking the book up...which sort of defeats the purpose of writing it in the first place.

Ah well, if I ever make an anthology of my short stories, she is who I want on my book cover. I'll definitely have to have one short story feature her, just to justify that. It will be an interesting challenge, since garden spiders seldom leave their webs. They prefer to let food come to them, not exactly making them the most active of potential villains for a horror story. Perhaps a little creative license with their behavior...then I can make her a star.

Then maybe she will finally join the Banshee as just a childhood nightmare.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What is Scary Pt III

In the Tower of London, it is the headless specter of Anne Boleyn that has frightened guards into fainting...and at Raynham Hall the Brown Lady stalks the house with empty eye sockets, when she's not posing on the stairs for pictures. In film, the most frightening scene in The Shining had to involve the female ghost of Room 237. Then there is the dead girl of "The Ring". And lets not forget the most memorable cause of Disney inspired childhood that chased me through many a dream in my youth...the Banshee of "Darby O'Gill and the Little People"

Lets face it, women make some of the most frightening of spectral apparitions, and I'm honestly surprised they aren't used more in film.

But why?

I have had it suggested to me it's because women are usually associated with nurturing and care, and that a haunt is somehow antithetical to that. Another theory is that women are the gender associated with life and beauty, so it is always a matter of disquiet to see them cast in a role involving death and corruption.

One of Poes recurrent themes was the death of beauty, a device he used quite effectively. The women of Poes stories tended to be victims though, and not so much the object of terror themselves...unless one counts the Fall of the House of Usher. Speaking of Poe, one of the most effectively scary scenes in Vincent Price's classic "The Pit and the Pendulum" involves his presumably dead wife, Elizabeth, calling her husband to him and leaving her coffin.

Monday, May 4, 2009

What is Scary? Pt II

Scary is when your internet goes away. Scary is when you find yourself cut off from the world, and news that is less than a day old. Scary is when you have an idea, and then discover you can't do a quick Google check for some quick research. Scary is when you can't reach your email.

Scary is recognizing how the internet has snuck into our lives in lots of little ways.

Most of my short stories are written in times before cell phones and the internet, yet it takes having my internet going down to really remember what a different world it used to be. In the days of yore, old men argued on porches without a handy internet to settle the argument. They had to decide who was right by good old fashioned who was willing to be more pigheaded about it, or who lied more convincingly. Now you can have an ebook reader thats always connected to wikipedia. It's like The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy come to life in a strangely mundane way.

And thats the way it's going to be from now on. Only more so. I wonder where it's going next?

Now that's scary.

PS. Once I get internet back at my own home, I will explore the "why are female ghosts scarier" question.