Why Do I Write This Stuff?
By: Peggy Christie
For those of us who have decided to build our summer homes in the dark underbelly of the genre writing world, probably the most asked question (after ‘where do you get your ideas’) is why do you write horror? And there’s usually some kind of derisive emphasis on the word ‘horror’.
Ah, I can almost hear the eye rolling from the haters everywhere. Roll away, folks. Roll away. It warms my desiccated little heart.
I didn’t choose horror. Horror chose me. As a child in the 70s, I discovered Sir Graves Ghastly and his Creature Feature show. In the Saturday afternoons I spent parked in front of the television, Sir Graves introduced me to a world of murder and mayhem, blood and violence, that was supposed to frighten me, make me run to my bed and hide under the covers.
But it did just the opposite. It whet my appetite for all things grisly and grotesque. My heart thrilled at Roger Corman’s visions for Poe; I idolized Vincent Price; the vampires, werewolves, and demons would have been my friends had they lived on my street.
And I wanted more.
By the time Creative Writing became part of my school curriculum, I was ready to create my own horrible worlds. Jumping in with both feet I threw everything I could think of on the page, stuff that today would have landed me in a psychiatrist’s office or at least warranted a call to my folks. The first story didn’t garner much attention. The second, however, prodded the brass into action. Unfortunately, my horror writing machinery was undone by a 6th grade teacher sized monkey wrench as I was forbidden to write ‘that stuff’ any more.
Fear not! Even my catholic school upbringing couldn’t quiet the storyteller in me forever. Granted, it went to ground like a cicada then popped back up 19 years later (yes, cicadas cycle every 17 years – just give me this simile, okay?). By the time I got back into it, I’d gone through Jr. High, High School, and college so my writing skills had improved but my love of horror never died. I gorged it on a multitude of tv shows, movies, and novels until it was so bloated with inspiration that it exploded all over that dormant writer hibernating behind my small colon.
The very first story I wrote involved a corporate boss accidentally murdering his secretary and covering up the crime. She then returns from the grave to exact her revenge. Did I mention I was a secretary at the time, working for an advertising corporation, and my boss was an ass hat? Write what you know, people.
I really hadn’t perfected my writing process – I’m sure I still haven’t and probably never will – so it should come as no surprise that this story was unceremoniously rejected. Several times. But with my third creation I went from someone who scribbled stories in a notebook to a “published author”. The elation I felt, and still feel at every acceptance, justified those early attempts and I knew this was where I was meant to be.
The point of all this rambling is to hopefully answer that opening question: why do you write horror? Horror isn’t just something I watch or read. It isn’t a phase or fad or a trend on YouTube. Not for me. It is in everything I say, everything I do. It wakes me up every morning and sings me to sleep every night. Without it, I am only a one-sided coin.
Even now I’m sure there are people shouting, “But it’s not normal!”
Why, in the name of all that is sacred, would I want that?
Peggy Christie is an author of horror and dark fiction. Her work has appeared in several websites, magazines, and anthologies, including Necrotic Tissue and Fearotica: An Anthology of Erotic Horror. In 2016 Dragons Roost Press rereleased her story collection, Hell Hath No Fury, and Source Point Press will publish her upcoming vampire novel. Peggy is also the Secretary of the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers as well as a contributing writer for the websites of Cinema Head Cheese and Slack Jaw Punks. Check out her webpage at themonkeyisin.com.
Peggy loves Korean dramas, survival horror video games, and chocolate (not necessarily in that order) and lives in Michigan with her husband and their dog, Dozer.
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