27 January 2010

Writing Horror

Yesterday, I posted my poem, "Leper Rot Away" without any explanation. After all, a poem should stand or fall alone. Shouldn't it?

One of the fascinating aspects of a poetry critique forum is reading poets' explanations of their intention, the poem's context, etc.

"Leper Rot Away" compares Alzheimers to leprosy in the fear it raises, and the way society or the disease itself reduces the identity of the person.

I occasionally write horror, either as short story or poem. "Leper Rot Away" is part of this genre. It takes a fear and pulls out the nightmare distortions of it. The importance of nightmares is that they often have an emotional truth at their heart. Horror is about introducing that element into the daylight world.

Horror stories begin from fear and feed it. Perhaps in being overwhelmed by fear, there is release for the reader. Perhaps horror simply allows readers to explore or experience their fear in a "safe" environment/medium.

Think of ghost stories around a fire. The other effect of horror is to re-inforce group bonds.

Horror is one of the stories (like romance and redemption tales) that we tell each other in our efforts to make sense of the world and find a way through it.

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