If you’ve spent any time on this blog over the past decade or have ever peeked at my social medias, you will have seen frequent mentions of the monthly horror periodical, Rue Morgue magazine. I have been reading since 2007–this issue with The Host on the cover was the first copy I ever bought! I remember seeing it on the magazine stand in a Borders bookstore when I was living in New Jersey, and thinking “where have you been all of my life?” I finally began subscribing the next year, and I recall receiving the first issue on my birthday…along with an IRS notice that I owed money…but I didn’t even care, because I was so excited to start reading. And I have been an obsessed subscriber ever since. This is the only magazine I have ever subscribed to in my whole entire life. And no, I don’t count Martha Stewart Living, because that was a gift from someone. But yes–Martha Stewart AND Rue Morgue! The multitudes, I contain them!
This month when I received my issue, I let out a shriek that could probably be heard all the way up in the RM headquarters in Canada. There I am, in a two-page feature about The Art of Darkness! EEEEEEEEEEEK!
It wasn’t an exclamation of surprise, of course. I was expecting it at some point and had answered a Q&A for it a few months ago. But …to see it in print, in front of me! Wowee. An absolute dream come true on so many levels. Though obviously, I am a huge fan of horror movies, it’s the section dedicated to forthcoming horror books, novels, comics, etc., that I have always flipped to first, and for these many years I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about the titles that Monica Kuebler singles out to feature that month. So to be interviewed by Monica was so freaking cool.
In my responses, I rambled quite a bit, but of course, there was room to include only so much. I talked about the importance of sitting with dark uncomfortable feelings instead of pretending they don’t exist, and I mentioned that as someone who hates talking about my feelings and emotions, looking at art is helpful in at least thinking about them. Another thing I talked about was the books that I stole from my mother’s bookshelf, that I was probably too young to be reading, but which were pretty formative. Dracula and Frankenstein, and The Zombies That Ate Pittsburgh, a George Romero biography!
One thing she asked me about that didn’t make it into the article, was who this book was intended for:
I think any human who has ever had a feeling about anything should flip through this book and see what speaks to them, and follow it where it takes you. It’s not a book solely intended for Debbie Downers (although I see you out there, and I love you, Debbie!) It’s for everyone, all of us. But…while I’m not saying it’s a book for children… I am also saying this is a book for all of the bookish eleven-year-old oddballs and outcasts out there, who are reaching for weirdness and wonder in whatever places they can find it. My secret goal for it, and I don’t think I’ve ever acknowledged it until just this second, was to create a book of strangeness and beauty that I would have been absolutely compelled to sneak off my mother’s shelf, and that would have served to put the plant the seeds in my head and heart that grew and guided me to become the ghoul I am today.
So, okay, maybe mentioning all of this is cheating at my 31 Days of Horror…but maybe not. When I think of all the scary movies I watched in my life, all of the demons and darkness, the monsters and madness, the frenzied, fiendish fodder in the books and stories and poetry that haunted and possessed my brain by the time I wrote The Art of Darkness–it doesn’t feel like a cheat at all. This is a celebratory moment!
But ok, if we’re strictly adhering to the rules, I will report that in Doki Doki Literature Club, things are getting dark. The girls are saying weird, concerning shit and being glitchy and a Very Bad Thing happened but I won’t say what because it could be spoilery (I don’t know if the story plays out the same way for everyone?)
I have also just started Volume Three of John Allison’s Steeple, and again, long-time readers probably know of my deep and abiding love for John Allison. Steeple is a story described thusly: “a supernatural tale of friendship, the devil, and moral gray areas. Two women with wildly different worldviews become unlikely friends as they navigate the supernatural happenings in a sleepy coastal parish—and soon find themselves forced to choose sides in the war between good and evil.” Allison’s stories have always had an element of mystery or the supernatural–though often the monsters are meant more as metaphors–but really, no matter who or what he is writing about, I love all of John Allison’s characters, how they grow, evolve & age, & how he introduces us to new generations of weirdos for us to love and root for. Change is scary but I never feel so emboldened to embrace it as when following the adventures & friendships he brings to life.
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