I wanted to write about horror today. Horror in fiction, that is.
Unfortunately, I’m feeling a bit of real life horror at the moment, given a suddenly and mysteriously ill cat (my longest-running relationship thusfar), and a mauling from the same cat that has me patiently waiting on a tetanus booster, so I don’t get lockjaw and die.
Good horror comes from not knowing what’s what, or what’s next, in addition to having one bad thing after another happen, suddenly and often, without expectation (though hindsight often suggests we should have known.)
Given the way 2018 has been, between an incompetent psychopath and his gang of bigoted fascists slowly turning the country beneath us from a dumpster fire to a full blown nuke threatening to explode, and a number of personal setbacks with the loss of my grandmother, financial woes, a terrible work environment and a seeming inability to break through either in my desired field of writing fiction of some sort or my cash flow field of anything that will pay enough to cover my bills, fear has been around every corner.
I made some strides personally earlier in the year, as in years before them, then followed them up with major setbacks, once again. Since October, I’ve adopted a stance that every step is a step forward, regardless, and that seems to help my focus and my willingness to follow through. However, I’ve got at least a couple of months of revision left on a very depressing story, and the other project I was working on, I decided to dump for its shallow nature.
It would have been fine, but it wouldn’t have said anything, would have ended with a lame joke and would be generally fluff. Fluff isn’t what I want to write. I love humour, but humour mixed with reality and truths (or perceived truths).
So, we’re back to dark shit. Not splatterporn or gorecore or whatever they like to call what passes for horror currently, but the good psychological stuff, like Nailbiter, where you have to question your own nature and the reality of evil. My stuff’s more internal, but thinking about it is no less terrifying, I hope.
I guess I don’t swerve too far into horror as horror is now. It’s more psychological than that. I’m a big fan of Stephen King’s early work because it has far less to do with monsters and more to do with reasons and/or futility. It’s how far will they go, rather than they’ll go to the limit immediately.
I think that’s why the situation down south scares me so much – it’s not what they’ve done. It’s how far will they go. What will it take for this to end? How far down the rabbit hole of evil do we have to get before we decide it’s too far?
One can only hope it’s not as far as they got in the Forties, because if it is, that’s more horror than this world ever needs to see again.