What’s Your Influence?

I like to fancy that life has its way of influencing me as a writer.   It’s had its ups.  I have the most wonderful and understanding wife that I could ever have asked for who has given me four beautiful children.  Despite all odds, we continue to have a roof over our head, there is food to be had for every meal and we are even able to have a family night every now and again.

Life also has its downs.  Due to the meager scrapings we have managed to pull together, we have to live day by day.  Debt collectors are constantly knocking at our door and we often have to go without some of the things that most people take for granted; such as being able to buy new clothes, having simple repairs done to your vehicle and/or home, stocking up on groceries (as opposed to just having enough), going out to eat/the movies/any fun event.  Oh, who am I kidding.  We simply just go without.  My wife and I have been married for seven+ years and we still have yet to go on a honeymoon.  Our oldest son was born into the world with a serious condition that went unchecked, and when we later found it, we were blamed for it.  It cost us over seven months of our lives and three quarters of our sanity.

I’m not lying when I say that things are tough, and we have our fair share of downs, vs. the ups in our lives, but let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture here, and that’s the subject of this post.

What is your influence?

That  is the topic of this post and it is something that I wanted to touch on.  Is it a passion for what you do?  A particular interest in a certain subject?  Or, is it an emotional state?  Whenever I read any of Poe’s work, I can’t help but feel the emotional turmoil that he must have had gone through…  Or maybe I’m just empathizing because I know of how much he suffered with depression?

For me, and this is why I shared a little about myself with you, my writing is influenced largely in part by the negative experiences I’ve had to endure.  It’s also influenced by the type of people I’ve associated with for most of my life.  Now, I’m not saying that I’ve associated with some shady types, but I will say that when we were together, we would talk about things that most people would need therapy after upon hearing.

I have a warped, twisted, disgusting imagination, I know, but it really shines when I put a story behind it.  🙂

If, by now, you have read my book, my previous blog posts, stories and other things that I have shared, you will have noticed some things.

I’m not shy when it comes to the violence/gore/language and all other things that make horror so fun and appealing.

The violence comes from a background of having an abusive, self-destructing father.  It also comes from having an abusive step-father, who berated and put us down on a regular basis.  The blood/gore comes from my passion for all things horror.  The more disgusting and depraved it is, the better.  And finally, my lack of restraint when it comes to language?  Well, that comes from the company I choose, as well as a combination of the latter two examples.

All of these things influence me to some degree or another.  While they might be enough to break most people, or send them down the same path as their predecessors, I’ve chosen to learn from them and dedicate my time to creating some particularly nasty things.

Yep, I said nasty.  I chose that word because it’s something that people can identify with when they don’t like to see or read the things I’ve been talking about.  It’s a common descriptor that works.  But you know what?  I LIKE it.  It amuses me and I shan’t stop.  I will go on writing these truly horrid tales about monsters, be they mythical, or (as in the case of my blog story ‘She Has A Pretty Face Though’) human, I will go on perfecting what is deftly becoming my craft.

I believe that what influences you, brings the best out of you as well.  Seems like common sense to me, so why stray from the path?

Why indeed.

You see, what I have been doing right now is something I’m comfortable with.  I’m using the things I’ve known to create stories that fit.  I’m familiar enough with it that it just comes to me.  Yeah, just as the Grand Puba of Mathematics could rip you a new one with a Euclidean algorithm, I can simply write a description about ripping you a new one.

Kinda demented when you think about it, but hey.  Do what you know, right?

Except that shouldn’t always be right, should it?

I think that sometimes you have to jump on the other side of the fence from time to time, if you are to truly appreciate the things you know.

In this case, I will be doing away with some of the elements I have described.  Once I am done with the ‘Ballad of John Rizzerio’ trilogy, and after I polish up some of the short stories I will be sharing as a collection, I’m going to step away from Horror for a bit and into something that I’ve only experienced as a pen and paper game; Medieval Fantasy.

Yep.  Knights, Wizards, Magic, mythical creatures…  The whole shebang.  Obviously, my current style of writing won’t work for this.  Furthermore, I’m hoping to reach a broader audience with it as well.  Tone it down some?  Why yes.  I believe I will, thank you.

I’ll be working with an entirely different beast than what I have been, but if you’ve read my excerpts from ‘The Box’, by now, you might already see that I’ve been getting my feet wet, as it were.

Yes, I’ll be out of my element and writing about things that I have no experience with.  But that’s the best part.  I’ll truly be creating at that point and I’m excited at the prospect.

I draw from my experiences and I use them to create (or destroy) by using my imagination.  I’ve always loved a good story, but the great ones come from a mind that has been influenced by something.  Now, whether that’s an emotion, a physical/mental trauma, or coming from something else entirely is up to the individual.

I know that I will be challenged when I’m outside of my comfort zone, and maybe that’s really what this is all about, but I’ll tell you what.  I love a good challenge.

So…

What’s your influence?  (And, would (or have) you ever write outside of it?)

Oh the Horror!

Shame on me.  I promise you a new post and what do I give you?  A shameless plug for my first book, that’s what!    Ah, but it’s out of my system now, I promise.  I know that YOU know about my book, I just chose to put it there for those other visitors who may not!

I was recently asked by why I have chosen horror as my main genre.  There are plenty of other things I could possibly be doing with my talents, so it makes little sense that I have taken to something that only the strong can stomach.

For me, the world of horror is something that I grew up with.  While I have never had the privilege to be around the fascinating world of makeup artists in this genre, and while it’s true that I have not had any filming experience, I HAVE (from an early age) read hundreds or horrific novels.  I have plunged headfirst into the cinema, watching everything from B movies to the more star studded films produced by Hollywood.

I was first introduced to horror by Elvira. My first memories are of sitting in front of the television, while my bastard of a father spent his entire visitation weekends at the bar, and watching either Elvira’s presentations or Friday Fright Night.

My first movie, and I wish I could remember the name of it, was a black and white winner which had a mad scientist bringing life to a tree, via some form of transplant.  I don’t remember much about it, other than the tree monster had a beating heart that glowed in its trunk and it would hide in plain sight.

Of course it did, right?  lol

For several years afterwards, I couldn’t hear the rustling of leaves and not have to resist the urge to run screaming!

So…  Why horror then?  I’m fascinated by it.  Sure, I’ve had my scares over the years.  There have been the trees with beating hearts, giant floating skulls with fires burning in the eye sockets, squid-like monsters which reached up out of the water to peel the flesh from my bones…  And this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  These are just a fraction of the things that have scared me over the years.

These things came to me in dreams, provoked by movies I hadn’t been ready to accept.  At that time, I hadn’t known the intricacies that make up these make believe monstrosities.  These creatures were put together for one purpose, to be someone else’s nightmare.

I began to hunger for the world of the paranormal.  I quested for every kind of monster.  It became an obsession for several years to read as many new books, watch as many new movies and read as many new magazines as I could find.  By new of course, I meant new to me.  But, you already got that, didn’t you?

Sure, I think of things that would give most people nightmares.  I’ve dreamed of things that would put sane people into therapy for years to come!

And I’d love to share them with you.

There’s a misconception about people like me, however.  Those of you who know what I’m talking about will be able to get what I’m saying here…  Yes, it’s true that I find the macabre more interesting than most.  Death fascinates me in its many forms.  Monsters are the delight of my whimsy and the paranormal I could talk about for hours!  Rivers of blood do not phase me.  I can summon demons with words and thrust them deep in the heart of the city to slaughter the innocent with but the flick of one finger.

The misconception lies in that just because I fancy these things, it doesn’t mean that I have embraced the Dark Lord.  Just because my work might depict violent, gruesome deaths and just because I’m not afraid to create something that others might find to be a bit too much, doesn’t make me a follower of old fire & brimstone himself!

On the contrary, I have no strong set of beliefs whatsoever.  I AM a baptized Christian, yes, and my wife and I are raising our children to be Catholics, but I don’t have as strong as a conviction either way. Some part of me does, which is why I mentioned what I did just two lines up, but the majority of me chooses to accept that there are things out there which lurk behind every corner, in every shadow and beneath every bed.

There is often so much flowing through my head that I find it hard to keep track of all of my ideas.  I write most of them down, I’ve used a voice recorder for others, and yet some still slip away.  It’s truly a shame because 1% of the ideas that slip quietly back into the void are the really good ones.  One of these days, I’ll devise a way to catch them buggers…

The truth of the matter is this;  I have come to think of myself as a conduit for the things that I (and a very few others) have a real understanding of.  Am I somehow glancing into alternate universes?  Possibly.  I could also just be that damn creative as well.  That’s also a real possibility.  Whatever the way that you look at it, I’d like to think that I work a lot like Stephen King does.  Or, *ahem*, I work a lot like this quote of his(?) that I found online amidst a plethora of research.  It goes a something like this;

“I don’t take notes; I don’t outline, I don’t do anything like that. I just flail away at the goddamn thing.” ~S.K.~

…and really, that’s all there is to it.  I sit down and open my Word Screen and what comes out is some of the most effed up stuff I ever thought I’d think of.  And I enjoy it twice as much the second time around!

There is only one direction I wish to travel with this and that’s all the way to the top.  But don’t get me wrong here!  This isn’t about some misguided notion that I should be writing according to other’s needs!  I write strictly for myself.  Everything that comes afterwards is for you baby, yeah!

Okay, I admit it.  That last comment was less horror and more horrible.  I do apologize for that.  However, I hope that as you get to know me a little better, you’ll come to see the sick and twisted sense of humor that I have as well.

At least, that’s how I hope it translates!  lol  Or do I?

Whatever the case may be, there is plenty of time ahead of us to find out.  I do so enjoy horror.  I could sit down to a nice order of Hannibal, followed by The Hills Have Eyes with a smidge of The Thing (John Carpenter’s) on the side.  Mmm…  And for desert, I’ll have a Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Toast a glass of red wine with Freddy and play a game of Pinball with the creepy old guy in Phantasm.

I hope you are the same way, and, I hope that those of you who aren’t will hang around and get to know me.  I may channel a lot of dark creatures through my fingertips, but I’m really not that bad of a guy!  I don’t bite…unless you ask me to.  And even then, I can’t promise that it’s not infectious.