Horror and the Weird

Originally dubbed “the Horror series,” this line of blog entries won’t just talk about scary stories. It brings up other genres – like fantasy, science fiction, mythology – and different elements within literature. Maybe also a few tales/lessons/creatures that may have been forgotten. I suppose for now this is my “academic platform” as I continue my independent studies. One day, I’d love to get some of my essays published.

Ever since my English seminar “Dark Enchantment: Genre, Fantasy and the New Weird,” I’ve become more and more obsessed with horror, tales about the supernatural, myth and the divine, and stories that don’t really fit neatly in a genre. These are the entries I posted while my mind was still wrapped up in what our professor had told us.

Scary Stuff and the Enjoyment in Fear Nov. 15, 2014

[excerpt:] Why do we scare ourselves? Why do we LIKE it? The answer is simple: adrenaline and curiosity. When you are frightened, you experience a bombshell of adrenaline and it releases endorphins in your mind. As bad as it sounds, we expose ourselves to these horrors, because it feels good. Some of us cannot handle it, because it might give us nightmares or set the foundation for a legitimate fear that will stay with us or that one fright is too overbearing.

It’s fine if you don’t dare venture in the unknown, but for people like me, our curiosity has too much power over us and it will push us out of our comfort zone. I’m also morbidly fascinated with the concept of fear and the human mind, which is often visible in my work, so that’s why I’m thrill-seeking more and more. I write a lot of stories where the protagonist is mentally ill or stories containing forces whose mysteries the main character has to untangle.

Our Future: Doomed or Improved Nov. 23, 2014 (Not strictly from the horror series, but it fits here.)

[excerpt:] By the way, when I say “issues that stick with us,” I think of politics. Please stick with me, I know this topic makes a lot of people groan. The thing about politics is that it never changes. The keyplayers change, the current issues change, but the game itself doesn’t. There are always people who are in it to win. There are always men and women who are prepared to sacrifice lambs (a.k.a. us) to gain money, status, et cetera. And as citizens, we always have to struggle for democracy, to maintain that order of fairness, to vote, to demand justice from our leaders. There’s no final solution to how we’re suppose live together in a civilization.

favim.com

favim.com

Terror and Frightful Ambiguity in Literature Dec. 27, 2014

MONSTERS: Fictional and Real Ones Jan. 3, 2015

[excerpt]

In that class we read so many cool short stories like “The Midnight Meat Train” by Clive Barker, “The Reach” by Stephen King, “Summer People” by Shirley Jackson, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad” by M.R. James. My favorite novels from that class were The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen and I think The Croning by Laird Barron was pretty good, too. Even though it was a really, really (really!) tough class, I learned so much. The research for my papers led me to interesting articles on Christian mythology and introduced me to Angela Carter; I’ll be forever grateful.

Currently I’m taking a class on mythology, which is officially called “Mythological Background on Western Literature,” but the professor has named it “God, Monsters and Immortality.” While I haven’t written much on that subject or anything related to it, the Horror and the Weird series will be back up to speed in the near future.

from flickr.com

from flickr.com

Daily Mythology: God and Monsters Jan. 24, 2015

[excerpt:]

The curious thing about oral storytelling are the lack of written records, and every time someone re-tells the tale, the story itself “experiences a different incarnation.” Yes, those things might seem obvious now that I phrase them to you, but thing is there’s something sacred about these stories.

First of all, they’re not written down, because groups like the Navajo tribes don’t want to share those stories with outsiders. Often times, even when a member of the Navajo has shared a story with a non-initiate, it’s been the child’s version, so some of their secrets remain hidden. Secondly, they don’t want to translate those stories to English, because then everything about the story will lose its meaning to them. To them, there’s something inherently wrong hearing their stories spoken in a different language.

Wise words by a Viking June 2, 2015

[excerpt]

A man must go         to many places,

         travel widely in the world,

before he is wise enough         to see the workings

         of other men’s minds.

I believe this phrase talks about gaining knowledge and understanding from experience. This works especially well when you leave home, because when you return from travel, you will have a new perspective on your life, the people in it and whatever else affects the world around you. […]

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