#IWSG The Horror and Suspense of Life

This post is for IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group), and this month’s question: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

 

Right from the get-go, I’ve always been drawn to the darker sides of things. My first story I ever wrote (around eleven years old) was about a creepy house where a girl entered on a dare and discovered a decapitated head in a fridge.

Pretty morbid, eh?

So, I started with horror, then it became horror-paranormal to horror-apocalyptic, and now it’s mainly suspense.  Through these genres, the common theme always centered around death.

When my cousin (and best friend at the time) Darren passed away just before our fourteenth birthdays, I was hit with the stark reality that we were not invincible or immortal.  That even kids die.

Since then, I have experienced several other deaths of family members and friends.  Many of them died well before they were at the peak of their lives, or even able to realized their dreams.

This have always weighed heavily on me.

And showed up in pretty much whatever I wrote be it a short story or a poem.

A loss of some form. The darkness that’s constantly there.   .

I enjoy writing both horror and suspense mainly because it’s cathartic for my broken heart, and it’s my way of dealing with the pain.

What about you? What’s your favorite genre to write/read? Why? I love to know!

 

Advertisements

In the Seams of Being #Suspense

The breeze. Its touch on my skin is warm, the scent sweet and rich with pine and lavender.

The songs of robins, sparrows and blue jays fill my ears as they flutter from tree limb to tree limb.

I feel strange though. As if the world has shifted, unnaturally. There is nothing solid under my feet, but the smell of dirt is so close to my face.

If I really concentrate, I’d swear the earth’s under my back.

My nostrils detect another smell. One that’s metallic–like rusted iron. I’m trying to move my head but it will not budge. My body has become one solid leadening object that refuses my mental orders.

What is wrong with me? Why can’t I move?

The lids of my eyes are heavy as they slowly slide down. Soon, all I see is the blackness which is being accompanied by an iciness that goes straight to the bones.

The chirpings of the birds are fading. I feel a pull in that I want to fly away with them.

Oh please, don’t leave me!

Instead, my head feels like it’s sinking while spinning around and around like some child’s toy top. Like a slithering blanket, a deep chill spreads through my legs, and soon it’s creeping for my hips.

Flashes of images filter through my mind. Of faces and places, I can no longer name.

Just as the icy tendrils slid towards the sternum area, a loud snap rang through my head as my eyes sprang open.

A moaning wheeze escapes my mouth and it is at this moment I finally realize what is truly going on…

I’m dying.

Confusion fills my mind.

What happened to me? How did I get here?

Only to be answered with images of shining metal objects as I heard my skin ripping like a zipper followed by fire.

Through the billowing fog, I quickly become aware of the burning pain in my gut as my mouth fills with the thick salty liquid.

“I see you’re still hanging on,” a man’s voice whispers near my left ear.

Choking on my own blood, I’m trying to find this man. He has to be standing right beside me, but my eyes no longer see anything. It is as if I’m in a tiny room and someone has turned off the lights.

Something hits the ground disturbing the dirt just enough that I felt the movement under my left leg. Then I catch a whiff of him.

Rotten fish.

“No one will be looking for you,” I hear him say, “they all think you’ve gone on your retreat in the mountains!”

He guffawed as sounds of metal and wooden objects clinking together echoing over me, and another rumbling thud to the ground.

“Your boyfriend won’t miss you either!” I can hear the creaking of rubber soles, “he’s fishing with his Army buddies the next state over.” He lets out a sigh that tells me just how sick this man really is, “Yeah, it’s just you and I — soon to be just me. Ha!”

Suddenly, an awful stench washes over my face as I feel him pressing against my shoulder.

“You know the longer you hold on, the more painful it’ll be,” he pauses for a second, “but, I hope you do ‘cause I have special plans just for you!”

 

 

*End of Part One*

You’re My Miracle #Poetry

*Author Note: If my husband could tell his story within the framework of a poem, this might be it. Everything you read is true.

Childhood, innocence
Taken by my father’s fists
Who snatched me away from Momma
Hopping state to state – slumming in trailer parks

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser
Echoed the themes of my whole life

Daddy didn’t care,
Momma, nonexistent
Step mom, drug user
Not one who gave a damn

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Then I met you on the college green,
You were that life-line I held on to
But those words refused to let me go–

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser
Don’t even bother – you’re unworthy

I believed them, oh I believed
Never telling you how I truly felt
Letting you go – my greatest regret
As I watched you walk away

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Continents and wars separated
Us until one day I learned
Someone’s stolen your heart

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Without a care in the world High Risk became my game
No one would even know if
I’d died in some god-forsaken desert

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Son of bitch, I survived
Like a cockroach I kept returning
Unwillingly, oh so what was the point?

They kept chanting–
No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Time blurred – broken dreams, heartaches
My constant reality as I wandered
The wasted land called Life

Perhaps there were some truth to the words–
No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

One day, out of the blue
An email by you asking–
“Do you still remember me?”

Battles I’ve fought but never one as great
as on that day when in my heart
I truly wanted to hope —

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Life was just as cruel to you
With your own battles
Losing your love, your sight

Do I remember you?

Oh, yes…

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser
Slowly fading, fading till only a whisper

Twenty years have since passed
I still hold you in my arms and
You hold my heart

You accepted me as I am
You loved me inspite of my
Brokenness

You saved a boy no one wanted
And instead of a loser
You made me the man I am today

You are my miracle

X Marks the Spot

Nearing the end of April, I find myself reading over the poems I’ve written for both NaPoWriMo and A to Z Challenge, and it kind of struck me how dark some of them sounded.

This must be me in some kind of funk (aka depression). The poem, Lonely, kind of nailed it on the head –

I sit at the window
And watch

As the world
Leaves me
Behind

This is exactly how I feel. Long story short, my hubby works long hours and travels out of state much of the time, and a son who’s busy with high school, sports, and hanging with his friends, so I am alone at home most of the time.

When I “retired” in 2015, I was looking forward to being home, and to be able to write without any time restraints. That same year we left the hectic city life that was Raleigh, NC and moved up to a farmstead just outside Grand Forks, it was just what I needed. I’d been battling anxiety which was steadily worsening and meds were not helping. With wide open spaces, I felt I was finally able to breathe.

Nearly four years later, anxiety is almost non-existent but depression is starting to take over my life. I mean, I am only in my 40s, and I feel I still have much to live for.

Everything that has happened to me, all the crap I went through, and the losses I’ve experienced, and they all come down to this—me, sitting at home, alone with just my laptop and nine cats.

I write, a lot. I interact with people via internet. But, I want more. I want to get back out into the world. I no longer want to hide and be left behind.

But, I am hampered with limitations of all kinds.

I don’t drive. There is public transportation but it’s limited to certain days and to certain places (none of where I’d love to go).

In the time I’ve lived here, I haven’t been able to establish any real friendships within the community (they tend to be quite “clicky” when it comes to “outsiders”).

Yet, with my hubby and son who practically can fend for themselves, I have no limit as to what I can do and where to go as far as time and availability. How do I narrow the chasm and break through to the other side?

As I sit here typing, there is a window next to the desk where I can watch birds pecking away on a pile of seeds my guys threw down weeks earlier, I am struck by how free they are to fly wherever they want yet they are limited. Limited by weather conditions and availability of food. These two determine where and when they fly. These limitations though do not seem to affect their attitude as they sing and flitter to and fro. Why? They take what they have in whatever condition things are and fly and sing anyway.

Yes, they have limitations but these do not stop them from being birds who still find ways to fly and sing to their little heart’s desire.

I want to do the same.

So, I will start with what I have and where I am at, and go from there. It’s time that I fly free regardless of my current limitations, and see where the sky leads me.

Urn #Poetry

There is a box
Mother keeps close
Next to her bed

Half of her heart
Now in ashes
Love of her life

If possible
I’d give her my
Splintered portion

Daddy, you were
Gone way too soon

An angel you
Keep watch o’er us

Amongst all the
Other souls who
Once filled our lives

Life may only
Be teardrops in
The pouring rain

But you’re the sun
Waiting to break
Thru the gray clouds

Tho I can’t see
I can feel your
Love shining down

And that alone
Will be enough
‘Till we meet on–

That golden shore

 

This poem is for my Daddy who passed much too soon

Mental Illness & Writing (My Story Part One)

“Being different and thinking differently make a person unforgettable.” –Suzy Kassem

My mental illness is definitely not something I generally like to talk about; however, it’s probably one of the main reasons why I write.

I saw this quote on the internet the other day, and it got me thinking about things.  Lots of things.

“No matter what we make, creativity always changes the creator.” -anonymous

Anyone who creates, whether you’re a photographer, musician, or writer (the list can go on and on), not only do you have the ability to change your own life through the act of creating, but other people’s lives as well.

How do creatives have such powerful impact?  One of the best answers I found was in this explanation:

“Art does not show people what to do, yet engaging with a good work of art can connect you to your senses, body, and mind. It can make the world felt. And this felt feeling may spur thinking, engagement, and even action.” -Olafur Eliasson, Why Art Has the Power To Change the World

To create is to connect. And in this day and age, we as the whole seemed to have lost the ability to truly connect with ourselves, to people, and to the world that surrounds us.

Is it a wonder to why we feel so lonely? So disconnected?

Yes, we have this thing called technology in abundance but it can NOT fully step into the role of the connector. While there is that feeling of being connected to someone on the other side of the digital barrier, it still feels artificial. Not real or alive.

On the other hand, creative arts have the ability to do just that.

Through music, paintings, sculptures, photographs, poetry, and on and on.  So, while art has the power to bring people together, it also has the power to heal especially for the creator (aka artist, songwriter, poet, etc…you get the idea).

How does art heal us?

Art and music affect every cell in the body instantly to create a healing physiology that changes the immune system and blood flow to all the organs. Art and Music also immediately change a person’s perceptions of their world. They change attitude, emotional state, and pain perception. They create hope and positivity and they help people cope with difficulties. They transform a person’s outlook and way of being in the world.” –How Art Heals-Mind/Body Physiology

Music has always been in my family especially on my mother’s side which yielded several musicians including an uncle who went on to play with an award-winning Native American-Folk band, December Wind.  As a girl, I can remember many occasions when family members gathered together at my Grandmother’s house for a “jam session” completed with guitars, banjo, fiddle, accordion, harmonica and even a set of spoons.  I was at an age where I was misunderstood (no one knew I was partially deaf until later) and music was something I understood. I’d sit on the floor, and “listened” to the beats and deep bass sounds for hours.

Although I loved music, I never learned to play an instrument (the desire was there though), I ended up singing in the school and church choirs for several years (I’d harmonized through the “beats” and reading music).

Since I couldn’t be a musician, I found myself drawn to words.  Words I also understood so I delved deep in the worlds created by words.  Here I connected with characters who became my friends since I had so few in the real world (byproduct of being “different”).  After accidentally discovering writing (the story behind this discovery can be found here), I’d took my favorite characters (Scooby Doo and Shaggy were among those) and created my own world with them in it.

Writing became a lifeline to the intense loneliness I’d felt.

When I was in college, I took to writing journals as a way of dealing with the stress and pressures that went with being a student living away from home.

In 1992, I stopped writing altogether.  This was the year I was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome (a form of Retinitis Pigmentosa-progressive blindness-which included hearing loss).

Depression really emerged at this point in my life though I was never diagnosed.  And when I married my first husband, Aaron, anger replaced everything else I was feeling and he bore, unfortunately, the brunt of it.  The depression and anger steadily grew worse over time, and then the worst happened.

He was killed in a car accident.

Grief and regrets overwhelmed me, and I nearly did the unthinkable.  I backed out just before it was too late as I realized that this would be the ultimate regret that I could never return from.  Worse of all, it would hurt my family as well as Aaron’s.

I just couldn’t do it.

Instead, I poured all my attention and strength into finishing college (which I did over a year after Aaron’s death). By this time, I’d moved out in my own apartment, but also had regressed from all social activities becoming a hermit with very little contact to the outside world.

Then Jay came into my life (actually he returned to my life, but that is another story of its own).  He changed everything by not only marrying me, but by reintroducing writing back into my life through a gift of a leather-bound journal.

In this journal, I spew all my anger and pain like vomit.  When the pages were all full, I closed the book and packed it away (even to this day I have not gone back to read it).

Now being emptied, the healing can begin.

(This is just part one of my story.  I plan to continue in the near future)

Kari

This poem is about a girl I once knew.  We were the same age when she disappeared.

 

It was a warm summer evening
The moon, bright and full
Who knew that it would be your last?

Shadows moved among the houses
Benign, all but one
Who knew the night would be so deadly?

Vanishing without a trace
No witnesses but the trees
Where could you have gone?

Rumors and hope
Your family held on so tight
Searching, always searching

Like the serpent, he crept amongst us
Writhing, hiding
How does a heart gets so cold?

Seven years, he held back
The truth buried oh so deep
How do you pick up the pieces that once was your heart?

Time may have passed, but you’re
Still close to our hearts
Rest in peace, my friend

 

Read more about her story here.

I Feel

My eyes lift to the sky
And watched as the nightly orbs
Melted into nothingness

Just like balloons
Dreams drift up, up
‘Till I can no longer hold on

I feel
The ground sucking me in
With nowhere to go
But down, down to the
Endless abyss

It still feels like
Yesterday when I sat next to you
Watching, waiting

For the blipping sound to go quiet
And with the silence
Came the depthless void

I feel
Your arms around me lessening
The warmth of your hands growing cold
I’m alone oh I’m alone

Though these eyes may not see
I know you’re there, shining down on me
For as the rain washes away my tears,
The clouds will fade, fade away

I feel
Your touches in the breeze
caressing , comforting
No, I’m not alone, never alone

Gone

Gone is the generation
Of those who came from scraps
And gave us their all

Gone are the dreams
Dashed by the approaching
Darkness like some smothering veil

Should I give in and give up?
Should I just toss the towel
And let it all go?

Gone are the ancient evergreens
Security blanket against the world
With them, my soul

Gone is the innocence
I once knew when life
Was an open, sunny road

Should I let the past win?
Should I just toss the towel
And let it all go?

We all have to face the
Twilight there’s no
Running from what awaits

How many sunsets
Before it’s our last?

Gone, soon we’ll all be gone

Do I just toss the towel
And let it all go?

Or shall I live for
The sunrises, however few
I might have left?

Many things, people
May be gone, but
I’m still here

No, I think
The towel I’ll keep
And give it one more try

Dark

I woke up in a sheet of sweat
And saw that you were gone
Even now, I forget
Our shattered bond

Dark is the water
I’m drowning
My heart torn by mortar

Pieces of me raining down
Down, down
To the black abyss

Dark, oh so dark

When I stare at the mirror
All I see is the face of a stranger
And can’t help but feel an error
That it was your life’s in danger

Dark is the night
Where stars hide their light

I’m falling, falling
I can’t stop this bawling

The image of you overflows
In my mind, I can’t get you
Out of my mind

My heart is
Dark, oh so dark

Without you

Dark, dark
Ooo, oh, oh, so dark