Monthly Archives: October 2012

Happy Halloween! Mail for Dead Men

My father has been dead almost five years, but I still get his junk mail. Recently, I got an odd ancient coin that will ensure my father reaps the benefits of God’s blessings if he uses their medical care certificates (or something) and a letter noting he’s been pre-approved for a policy from Physician’s Life Insurance (seriously?). There’s no real point to this blog post, I just thought that getting that type of mail for a dead man was creepy, and since today’s Halloween, I thought I’d share. Here’s to egging the mailbox!

DeadMan'sMailAncientCoin

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The weird little coin came with these medical care certificates.

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I think it’s a little late for this, no?

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Whew! I’m certainly glad there’s no health exam required. I really didn’t want to have to pull a Mr. Sardonicus.

Hurricanes, Horror, H.P. and Hiram Grange on Scary Scribes—listen here!

If you missed this past Sunday’s live broadcast of the October Episode of Scary Scribes with Kevin Lucia, here’s where you can listen in:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/paranormaleh/2012/10/28/scary-scribes

or directly from this website here:

Scary Scribes Ep 9 – Kevin Lucia, 10-28-2012

A Year Ago Today: Snowpocalypse

It was a year ago today that we here in the Northeast had a huge storm and thousands in our area lost power (for a ridiculous number of days). The big bummer was that there was really no Halloween—our favorite holiday around here—because of it.

While the being-out-of-power thing got old pretty quickly, for the first few hours (because it was still warm in the house), it was fun. Here’s some photos from that night in the hopes this won’t happen again anytime soon—but we might, this winter, be in luck with that; I’ve been seeing tree trimmers working non-stop for the past couple of months.

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Finding wood in the dark.

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Lighting the living room.

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Grilling garlic to add to our meal.

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Meat and cheese—we made one of our favorite winter comfort foods, Tacos.

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Me, wearing a headlamp.

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Nathan fires up the emergency weather radio.

Video: The report on the weather radio gave the darkened house a creepy air; I could only think, ‘zombie apocalypse.’

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Candles on the dinner table.

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Cooking in the dark.

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…with a flash…I know, that headlamp looks really dumb but it sure made it easier to cook.

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Charles lights candles.

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My oil lamp, made from the ash of Mt. St. Helens, provides an atmospheric glow.

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The lamp was a gift from my babysitter at the time (and my friend now), Dawn Nagle.

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A little dinner music…

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This is my mini DVD player, which, when charged, has two hours of battery life. We used it to play music during dinner so things would feel more normal.

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Another great dinner soundtrack.

Video: We have music!

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Yum!

Video: No Reason to Complain

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Dining in the dark.

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Just about the only Halloween we got last year.

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Kali, our littlest cat, curls up in the candlelight.

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Lighting the kitchen with tapers.

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Trying to keep as much heat in the house as we could.

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A fire to keep us warm. Nathan was tending it for those few days we had no power, so he didn’t get much sleep.

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Camping in the living room.

Creative? Creativity Coach’s blog offers tips, hosts interview this week

Nancy Norbeck's Logo

Nancy Norbeck, a Certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach, SoulCollage® Facilitator, and tutor in New Jersey, is featuring an interview with me in honor of Halloween. You can check out what I have to say about unsupportive parents, defeating procrastination, and sunken towns in polluted lakes over at her blog at http://www.nancynorbeck.com/2012/10/26/interview-kristi-petersen-schoonover/.

Halloween Treat! Kevin Lucia story here…

 

Lucia Stories

Earlier in the year, a fantastic horror writer named Kevin Lucia was finishing grad school and, on his blog, presented a fascinating 9-part series on the nature of horror. I fell in love with this series, and Kevin very graciously allowed me to reprint it here so others can enjoy it, too. The last installment appeared last Thursday. Below, some of his fiction—free—as a Halloween treat!

Also, don’t miss Kevin on this month’s episode of Scary Scribes: this Sunday, October 28, at 6 p.m. You’ll be able to listen live at www.scaryscribes.com.

Kevin Lucia is a Contributing Editor for Shroud Magazine, and a blogger for The Midnight Diner. His short fiction has appeared in several anthologies. He’s currently finishing his Creative Writing Masters Degree at Binghamton University, he teaches high school English and lives in Castle Creek, New York with his wife and children. He is the author of Hiram Grange & The Chosen One, Book Four of The Hiram Grange Chronicles, and he’s currently working on his first novel. Visit him on the web at www.kevinlucia.com.

~

“As the Crow Flies” – at The Crow’s Caw

http://thecrowscaw.com/fiction-2/as-the-crow-flies-by-kevin-lucia/

On Dave’s Disney View: 5 Creepiest in the Kingdom & More behind the Mansion!

If you’re a Disney Parks fan and haven’t checked out Dave’s Disney View podcast, you’re missing out. Dave covers all kinds of great topics (among them a behind-the-scenes look at the Main Street Emporium and Epcot’s Opening Audio just recently), and if you’re looking for a bit of spooky fun, check out this year’s Halloween Special, when I share more ghost stories behind the attraction’s vignettes—and my picks for the top five creepiest things in the Magic Kingdom (some might surprise you!). Listen here:

http://disneyview.blogspot.com/2012/10/episode-114-haunted-mansion-stories.html

If you missed last year’s special, you can check that out here:

http://disneyview.blogspot.com/2011/10/ddv-72-look-at-some-of-stories-of.html

Need a Zombie Fix?

HeatherGleasonSpringMourning

Artist Heather Gleason’s “Spring Mourning.” I own several of her pieces, but not this one. However, what’s interesting is that this creature is similar to what I’d envisioned in “A Bone to Pick”—which I wrote way before I ever saw this piece. In fact, Heather had another piece which was exactly how the story’s landscape looked in my head, but it was sold before I even knew it existed and I can’t find a photo of it to put here. Her “Devil Girl,” which I own, I bought because it symbolically told the story of “This Poisoned Ground.” It’s eerie—it’s like I write things and somehow she paints them later. Visit her website at http://www.myeclecticmind.com/index.shtml.

If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, like I am, then you probably watch all the videos on the AMC website in between episodes to get your fix. This week, if you’re looking for something a little different to satisfy that zombie craving, consider gnoshing on my short story “A Bone to Pick,” which took second place in Toasted Cheese’s 2011 Dead of Winter Contest. The year’s theme was “Skull and Bones,” but the story was inspired by a situation in The Walking Dead’s second season.

The story was published in the magazine’s March issue, but with all the wedding craziness that was going on at the time, I never posted about it. Enjoy!

http://tclj.toasted-cheese.com/2012/12-1/schoonover.htm

DARK DISCUSSIONS Opens THE CHERNOBYL DIARIES

Dark Discussions Chernobyl Diaries Episode ArtworkMake your housework, drive to work or long car trip more interesting! The Chernobyl Diaries hit DVD and Blu-Ray this past Tuesday, and to mark the occasion Dark Discussions co-hosts Mike and Phil invited me to come on their show and discuss the film. Listen to the episode or download it to your device here: http://www.darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_076.html

From the Dark Discussions website:

“On April 26th, 1986, near Pripyat, Ukraine, a human error occurred which caused the Chernobyl nuclear power plant #4 to explode and release radiation into the atmosphere. At the time it was classified as the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history. The area was afterwards considered uninhabitable. Today, years later, nature has reclaimed the area where plants and animals now live as if it were the wilderness.

Oren Peli, the creator of the Paranormal Activity film franchise, wrote and produced the 2012 film entitled Chernobyl Diaries. The film includes such up-and-coming stars as Olivia Taylor Dudley and Devin Kelley as well as being directed by visual effects expert Bradley Parker who has worked on such films as Fight Club and Let Me In. In the film Chernobyl Diaries, a group of six foreign tourists are taken to Pripyat on what the tour guide calls an extreme tour to see the site firsthand decades later and learn the history about the disaster. However, our guide and group of six tourists are suddenly left stranded when their vehicle appears sabotaged.

The film was just released for home theaters. Dark Discussions co-hosts Mike and Phil are joined by special guest Kristi Petersen Schoonover to discuss this horror film and the history behind Chernobyl and the Cold War. Other topics include the use of tragedy as a backdrop for both historical and exploitation film; radiation and nuclear power; the failure of the film at the box office; and how remarkably the film portrays atmosphere.”

We Rocked and Shocked the weekend…

The New England Horror Writers were up at Rock and Shock in Worcester, MA, last weekend. We met new friends and old, sat on panels, had a great time, and, of course, sold some books. Here’s pix from the weekend — just click on any photo for a larger view and to flip through the gallery.

Kevin Lucia on Horror and Post-Modernism

 

Earlier in the year, a fantastic horror writer named Kevin Lucia was finishing grad school and, on his blog, presented a fascinating 9-part series on the nature of horror. I fell in love with this series, and Kevin has very graciously allowed me to reprint it here so others can enjoy it, too. Here’s the last installment, and next week, October 25, some of his fiction—free—as a Halloween treat! Still not enough? He’ll be appearing on my podcast, Scary Scribes, on Sunday, October 28. Watch the next post for details on where to tune in!

Kevin Lucia is a Contributing Editor for Shroud Magazine, and a blogger for The Midnight Diner. His short fiction has appeared in several anthologies. He’s currently finishing his Creative Writing Masters Degree at Binghamton University, he teaches high school English and lives in Castle Creek, New York with his wife and children. He is the author of Hiram Grange & The Chosen One, Book Four of The Hiram Grange Chronicles, and he’s currently working on his first novel. Visit him on the web at www.kevinlucia.com.

~

So these are going to be my final thoughts on Noel Carroll’s The Philosophy of Horror, because this is dragging out a little longer than I’d initially thought it would. So, here we go:

Horror and Post-Modernism

postmodernism – a way of approaching traditional ideas and practices in non-traditional ways that deviate from pre-established superstructural modes. (Wikipedia)

So, because I’ve got this idea I want to write for my paper about horror today and what that says about our current culture, when I saw this snippet at the very end of Carroll’s work, I perked up:

“…I would like to suggest is that the contemporary horror genre is the exoteric expression of the same feelings that are expressed in the esoteric discussions of the intelligentsia with respect to postmodernism.”

Some definitions:

exoteric: refers to knowledge that is outside of and independent from anyone’s experience and can be ascertained by anyone; cf. common sense.

esoteric: ideas preserved or understood by a small group or those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest

intelligentsia: a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them.

In basic terms, according to Carroll, postmodernism states that our beliefs of the world, and our way of looking at and understanding the world are arbitrary. They can be deconstructed, pulled apart, and don’t actually refer to the real world. Carroll makes the point that he himself is not convinced of post-modernism’s claims, but also says its effect on our culture – and horror – can’t be denied.

Here’s where he struck me. Because I don’t consider myself a postmodernist. And I don’t know enough about postmodern art to know if Carroll’s next point is valid, but this Wiki definition of it seems to correspond:

post-modern art: the recycling of past styles and themes in a modern-day context

as Carroll says this:

“…whether for purposes of political criticism or for nostalgia, postmodern art lives off its inheritance….it proceeds by recombining acknowledged elements of the past in a way that suggests that the root of creativity is to be found in looking backward (emphasis mine)” pg. 211

And then, the coup de grace, connecting this to horror:

“…the contemporary horror genre….differs from previous cycles (of horror) in certain respects that also bear comparison with the themes of postmodernism. First, works of contemporary horror often refer to the history of the genre quite explicitly.  King’s IT reanimates a gallery of classic monsters; the movie Creepshow by King and Romero is a homage to EC horror comics of the fifties; horror movies nowadays frequently make allusions to other horror films while Fright Night (the original, thanks) includes a fictional horror show host as a character; horror writers freely refer to other writers and to other examples of the genre; they especially make reference to classic horror movies and characters.” (pg. 211)

and this…

…the creators and the consumers of horror fictions are aware they are operating within a shared tradition, and this is acknowledged openly, with great frequency and gusto (emphasis mine) pg. 211

Okay.

Now, I’m going to admit, this totally throws me. Not the bit on horror writers referencing its history, knowing we’re part of a shared tradition. I blogged last year about the THUNDERING revelation of how WEAK my knowledge of genre history was, when I blogged about the evening I spent with Tom Monteleone, F. Paul Wilson, and Stuart David Schiff. That started me on a mission to educate myself, and I’ve spent most the last year reading horror from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Also, there’s Brian Keene’s Keynote Address from AnthoCon 2011, “Roots”, about how important it is for young readers and writers of horror to be well-versed in the history of the genre. That alone reaffirmed my mission to educate myself in the history of the genre.

But….post-modernist?

I’m a post-modern….artist?

It’s a strange label to assume. Now, granted….it seems one can labor in their chosen art from a post-modern perspective, without viewing the world as a post-modernist. I suppose. I hope, because that seems to be where I’m at. Because of my faith and the way I’ve been raised, I don’t really view the world as a post-modernist – I’ve got pretty traditional views about things (but they’re for me and my family), and I think they’re important enough not to deviate from, to pass on.

But as a horror-writer…I guess I’d say I am post-modern, because the definition for post-modern art is a little different than the definition of a post-modern world perspective. As I’ve just become aware in the last year or so, as a horror writer, I’m part of a shared tradition; a tradition I need to be intimately knowledgeable of if I ever hope to take old and time-honored stories and tropes and twist them, mold them and shape them into my own creations for new readers who – also intimately aware of the horror tradition – will find resonance in them because of those classic threads, but who will also want to read them (and, of course, publish them) because I’ve made those stories and tropes mine, and therefore new and fresh.

Huh.

I guess that just adds another layer of complexity upon the walking contradiction that I already am. As a father, husband, teacher – I’m not post-modernist at all. Pretty traditional, if conservative in how I talk about and share my beliefs (ergo, I don’t shove them on anyone else). However, as a horror writer, not only do I NEED to be post-modern in hopes of gathering an audience and getting published, I sorta….STRIVE to be…because I don’t want to re-write the same old thing. I want to use those same, classic themes and tropes…but make them mine.

Wow. Guess we never stop learning about ourselves, as we continue to perfect our craft….

Kevin Lucia is a Contributing Editor for Shroud Magazine, and a blogger for The Midnight Diner. His short fiction has appeared in several anthologies. He’s currently finishing his Creative Writing Masters Degree at Binghamton University, he teaches high school English and lives in Castle Creek, New York with his wife and children. He is the author of Hiram Grange & The Chosen One, Book Four of The Hiram Grange Chronicles, and he’s currently working on his first novel. Visit him on the web at www.kevinlucia.com.

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