Why I write Horror
It’s funny, you would think I would be a darker person, with the type of stuff I write, but I think most people are surprised when they find out I write horror. I used to be much darker, I was moody, angry, and depressed from my teenage years until I was in my early twenties, but like most phases in the cycle of our lives, it faded out. Getting on a good anti-depressant in my early thirties, coupled with some incredibly illuminating self-help techniques really allowed me transform myself into a much sunnier, brighter and stable human being.
So why do I write this stuff? How could someone who believes in the Buddhist Way write about violence, sex, suicides, demons, the bizarre and the macabre? How does an (almost) pacifist write about abominations committing atrocities and diabolical acts? I believe there are some very simple reasons for that.
The first is that I was a very isolated, brooding, pissed-off youth, and it was to the occult and the nightmarish world of horror that I was attracted to at a young age. The first story I ever wrote was a ‘sequel’ to An American Werewolf in London, at age ten. It was one of the first times I ever received praise for something I had done at school. From that point on, I wrote horror almost exclusively.
There is just something so infinitely interesting about the darkness, it is so rich in possibility and danger, so full of hope and despair, it is the creative principle of the universe, this darkness. I love throwing my characters into extreme situations, introducing them to extreme characters, mixing it up and seeing what happens. I mean, really, what would each of us do if we were faced with the situations we have read about?
I think that, in a sense, is what my stories are really about – the human experience of the bizarre. I am interested in what my characters will do when they come face to face with their worst nightmares. We would all react in a variety of ways, and each experience would be worthy of a story. I don’t always try to write strictly from my own emotional reality. Luckily, I am capable of empathy and understanding when it come to other people’s emotions, and this allows me to write about each character’s story with the unique emotions they might possess. I know that ultimately, it is still my emotions and my own understanding of what these players would feel under specific scenarios, but nevertheless, I am able to imagine things quite alien from my own emotional range.
The other reason reveals the darkness at my core. I may have chosen to live a happier, more positive life, I may have chosen to see the course of my life in a more optimistic frame, but in the deepest part of me, far beyond the reach of the light, there lies a demon. I believe this has something to do with the concussion I sustained when I was five years old. It was serious, I was in intensive care overnight, I had to re-learn really basic skills like using a fork and knife! My mother tells me that before the accident, I was a much happier, buoyant child, but afterwards my personality changed. I began to experience night terrors from that moment on (something that rarely happens to me as an adult, thank goodness!), and my view of the world really changed as well. I once had a spiritual man tell me that he believes that I had a ‘walk-through’ during my accident, and who knows, maybe there is some truth to that, but whether or not that is true, one thing that is true is this shadow that lies within me. No joke. I have a very dark side to me, but I have made the conscious decision to look away from the dark. Life is what you want it to be, and I choose to be happy, healthy and stable.
So this, then, is my way of venting this demonic presence. I write the stories it tells me, I let it out for a walk now and then, and in return it allows me to live a happier life.
That is why I will probably write horror until the day I die.