Tuesday, September 28, 2021

becoming who you are

As we are nigh upon true spooky season (though some of us are always there..lol..) I've been readying myself for #31daysofhalloween, where I'll be sharing bits of projects and things I've created that fit with the season,.  Which of course, each year, grows with new projects and endeavors--maybe not always supernatural, but sometimes creepy nonethless.  Looking at my list of zine & artist book offerings I was laughing that so much of it fits the theme you might think I specificially set out to be a horror-ish writer and maybe you are not entirely wrong. 

Over the years, there has been plenty of non-horror, non-creepy/spooky work for sure (well maybe everything is tinged by it a little.  I've written books about love, about disconnection, about mothers and daughters. But even still, it wouldn't be my work without a few ghosts and a little bit of haunting action.It's inevitable no doubt, as much time, as a consumer I spend consuming horror or  sci-fi and talking about it enthusiastically (with friends, my sister, my boyfriend, anyone who will listen and is similarly minded.) In fact, I have entire friendships based on a shared love of horror.  A few semester's back, we had a couple panel discussions on women and horror and I wanted them to last all night and was sad when they ended.  Sometimes, I entertain the notion of going back to grad school to study horror in a cinema studies context. I am, in a word, obsessed. My dad continues to surprise me talking about him and his friends writing monster stories instead of doing their classwork back in the 50's.. Apparently, it's in my blood.  

No one would be surprised, since I've been living and breathing such movies since I was old enough to even be conscious of movies. While I spent much of my youth checking out whatever even touched horror from the school and local library, and hoarding novels far above my age appropriate range given to me by an aunt, my first experience of horror in poetry was Poe, who I encountered in 8th grade, a time when I was also trying to write my own attempts at a horror novel. It was a love that carried me through high school where I was mainlining Stephen King, but it never occurred to me to combine poems and horror myself, most of my own efforts devoted to the sort of things all 15 year old girls write about--boys, cats, flamingos.

When I set about seriously writing poems in my mid-20's, the bedrock was there.  Though I wrote poems about many things, there was definitely a darkness to even the lightest subject matter. It was how I moved in the world and all my points of reference. I wrote a lot about mythology and history, but my best poems were about witch trials and Bloody Mary.  After a reading in the mid-aughts, someone told me they loved my work because it seemed like a melding of Sylvia Plath and David Lynch, which seemed like the highest compliment I would ever receive. 

They say, as we grow older, we don't really change, but really only become more and more of what we already are.  The great thing about releasing DARK COUNTRY a month or so back was launching a book so well suited for my teenage girl self  (the one who devoured King and Christopher Pike and loved horror that it was pretty much the only thing she wanted to rent from the video store every Friday night.) So maybe, inadvertently, I've become a horror poet somehow. Not only a horror poet, surely, but somehow more than I am any other kind of poet I suppose. I can live with that. 


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