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WHY I LOVE HORROR

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2014 at 6:14 pm

I have been asked many times where my love of horror comes from. When did I start writing scary stories? This has been a hard question for me to answer. I have thought about it a lot. I started writing poetry at about 10. As I remember it most of them were macabre or sad. I was not your typical prince charming and love Kind a girl. When I did write about love it was dark, dismal and never had a happy ending. I began writing short horror stories in the summer prior to freshman year in high school. From then on I never stopped writing. So I know the when but not they why. It could have been the late night horror movies with my father. If you are old enough you will remember the double feature horror movies. They came on public television on the weekend. Sorry, for you young people that was before cable. We only had channels 3, 6 and 10. Later they added channel 17 and then UHF 57 but I digress. Ask your parents they will explain. Then again it could have been the field trip to Philadelphia in 5 or 6th grade. We took a tour and saw Edgar Allan Poe’s house and the read us the black cat. I totally loved it.  Poe is one of my favorite Authors of all time. The first Stephen king book I read was in the ninth grade. I did a book report on it. I read pet cemetery. That’s was when I knew I wanted to be a writer. After reading it I went on a reading marathon and read every Stephen King novel on the book shelf. I think all of these things had a tremendous impact on me. However it was today that the answer finally came to me.

I have two Sisters. My oldest Sister is who I would crawl into bed with when I was scared. My Middle sister is the reason I was usually scared in the first place. I love her dearly but she always loved to torment. I was about 4 years old when we moved into this crappy little trailer for a brief time. It was a small park that sat at the bottom of a hill. At the top of the hill was the owner’s home.  It was huge house that in my mind looked the house from psycho. Complete with a creepy young guy who could have been Norman Bates. To top it off, across the street behind my bedroom window was an old graveyard.  Now as I said my Middle sister was a tormentor. She started dating ‘Norman”. They both liked to scare me by telling me that the dead got up at night and eat 4 year old girls. “Norman” even but his hand in a box with fake blood to make it look like a severed finger. Real nice guy he was right? I was needless to say terrified to sleep at night. As if the atmosphere wasn’t enough my sister decided to tell me a bed time story. The Story was “Johnny and the liver” You may have heard it. No one is sure who wrote it and there are several version of it. I did try once to research it. All I could find out was that it’s American folklore. The story started prior to the fifty’s and most people have been told a version of it.

I won’t retell the whole story line for line. This is it in a nut shell.

Johnny is asked to go buy liver for dinner by his mother. She then tells him not to play on the way or spend any of the Money. Johnny doesn’t listen. Not only does he stop to play with his friend but buys ice cream and a toy. He gets to the butcher and doesn’t have enough money. He goes back to the toy store and returns the toy. Guess what? When he gets back the butchers shop is closed. Johnny Knows he is in big trouble. When he gets home he will defiantly be getting spanked with the switch. Yes I said switch.  It was the 70’s so at that time you could still spank your children. It was called discipline .However   that is another article entirely.  Johnny must go home to face his Mom. Or does he? He passes a graveyard and you guessed it, he takes a liver from a fresh grave. There is more in between but the ending is this. The man comes looking for his liver. Johnny can hear him coming. First he can hear him in the yard, then at the door, at the steps and up to the side of his bed. The whole time the ghost is singing in the creepiest voice ever. Jon-neee I’m at your front door I want my liver back I’m gonna get you!  Now the front door part changes with each place the ghost is. The Steps, hall, bedroom door ECT. Until he gets right next to the boy breaths heavy and Shouts I GOT YA! The moral of the story is this. Children, mind your Mother. My sister told me this night after night and I screamed night after night. That is until my Mom made her stop.

That is where it started. I was scared to death but I loved it. After we moved again I would beg her to tell me that story. It was awesome and she told it great. That story stuck with me more than any other story. Now that I have kids I have told that story to them. Relax, don’t judge me they love it. See, a good scary story can create awesome memories. It will stay with you. You can remember where you were when you heard it and who you were with. Maybe It was at camp with you best friend, around a fire with your family, at a sleep over. The point is you never forget it. Horror novels are the same. You never forget the best or the first.

 Now That I am an adult and oh so sophisticated, I understand why I choose horror.  The world is a scary place and it can be dark and filled with the unknown. As both a writer and a horror enthusiast I can control that environment and be safe while still feeling that rush.  Think about it.  A writer is one of the few if not only professions where you can kill, torment or just plain scare the bejesus out of people and not be considered a dam sociopath. Your stories are only limited by your imagination. You can write them any place you choose. Readers, you can be chased, terrified. and can hear the sounds that go bump in the night and remain safe. You can do it in the comfort of your room snuggled in your favorite blanket. Stories are shared and passed down and become a part of you. Together, writer and reader, story teller and listener we make memories. We cherish those memories and continue to make more as we should.

Now that I think of it. I will take my kids outside for a fire this weekend. I will get some marshmallows and cuddle up with them. I will let them tell me a good ghost story. Then when they least except it, I will scare the living daylights out of them. Make some memories of your own this weekend and in the words of Elvira “Unpleasant dreams”

TS

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