Wow! I asked the very talented Mark Miner to write a guest blog post and I am so excited to bring to you one of the best I've ever seen! So please open your hearts to Mark and give him a big welcome. So glad he could join us today!
Growing up, I never once thought I would ever be a writer. As a kid, I dreamed of being a super hero; someone to help people and save the day. Now as an adult, I’m finding that I’m doing just what I wanted to do as a child. How? Well, I believe every writer who is passionate about their craft allows people to not focus on what is going on around them, and to escape into a story for some time. It’s a stress reliever.
When people ask me what it takes to be a writer, I give them this advice. Live by the old adage; write what you know. Write what inspires you and what you love to talk about. For me that has always been the paranormal. The paranormal has fascinated people from the beginning of time. Over the centuries we have come to understand more about the paranormal and found that the true monsters don’t live inside of a castle in Transylvania, but in the psyche of the human mind and heart. The next best advice I have is to master the techniques of lying creatively. Writing great fictional stories is actually about knowing how to insert the truth in the lies of fiction. Like weaving a blanket. Be comfortable with yourself and stand strong on what you create.
There is no great formula on how to write. Just simply sit down and write a story. You tell stories all day long; explaining how your day was to a friend or family member, recalling why the little girl behind you in third grade put gum in your hair, putting your children to bed and creating a story of fantasy and intrigue for them. You just have to realize that you have always been a writer. My technique is that I sit down and type out the story as if I am telling it to my child. I never worry about grammar or spelling, until I get the whole story down in print. Then I go back and work on formatting, grammar, spelling, inserting dialogue, and finally editing.
Coming back full circle, this creative process is the super powers to your super hero self. Once the story is published and a reader is holding that book in their hands and allowed to disappear for a moment, then you have saved one person. And with each pair of hands that holds your creation, you save that person too. You’re a super hero.
I have been writing for fourteen years. I have never worried about becoming rich or famous. Simply because when I started, I made myself a promise that when I did become a published writer it would be about my stories, not about me. The stories you write should always take center stage and be the celebrity of the reader’s imagination and creative thought.
With every story I write, I investigate. Because I write about the paranormal, I truly want to understand the meaning behind every topic. For example, when I wrote Willamette Werewolves, I needed to understand where the legend came from, the locations that the myths that became fact, and how someone could feel that they are a werewolf. I traveled and visited locations that many have believed they had seen a werewolf. I have interviewed countless witnesses and what they believe they may have seen. I have talked with psychologists and those in the mental health industry on what would make someone believe they were a werewolf. I have even met people, and talked with them, who believe they could change into a wolf. All of this went into my story.
I believe the investigative self-actions of collecting parts of your story allow your work to feel more authentic. It gives that extra dimension to it, that doesn’t leave the writer feeling flat and unsatisfied.
I have written about ghosts, spirits, witches, werewolves, and even serial killers. I am a huge skeptic when it comes to the paranormal; I know that may surprise most of my readers. However, I will admit that I have seen, heard, and felt things that pertain to the paranormal that I could not explain away. For me, that makes the supernatural world real in its own sense.
I also love writing short stories. Not to necessarily have them published, but to allow my creative self to explore areas of the paranormal. Eventually, once I write enough short stories I may gather them all together and put them all into a book. I would like to share a short excerpt from my soon to be published book “The Home” that will be coming out in early 2015. This book examines the mind of a pubescent boy growing up in impossible circumstances and how society conditions the mind of the young to become nothing but complete and utter monsters. With that being said, please enjoy:
“It was noon when I went out. I hung around on the sidewalk and when anybody asked me how Charlene was getting along I said she’d gone to her home in California, her family had come for her and in California she’d have conveniences and would die much faster than here in Albany, which was no life for her. Or maybe she’d live a while and then she’d send for me, there was no law against it, anyone could go there. Everybody was glad she had found peace. I went to Mr. Dross’s café. He fed me for nothing and I sat down across from Shelby, who was sitting by the window in her beautiful gray and white dress. She couldn’t see at all any more as I’ve had the honor, but when I told her my name three times she remembered right away.
“Ah yes, little Mattie, yes, I remember…I know him well… What has become of him?”
“It’s me, Shelby.”
“Oh, it’s you. Forgive me. I’ve lost my eyesight.”
“How are you, Shelby?”
“I had a good dish of couscous yesterday, and for lunch today I’m having chicken soup. I haven’t been told what there will be this evening, I’m curious to know.”
She still had her hand on Victor Hugo’s book and she looked far into the distance as though trying to discover what she would have for dinner that night.
“Shelby, is it possible to live without someone to love?”
“I love couscous, my little Victor, but not every day.”
“You misunderstood me, Shelby. When I was little you told me a person couldn’t live without love.”
Her face lit up from the inside.
“Yes, yes, it’s true. I loved someone too when I was young. Yes, you’re right, my little…”
“Matthew. Not Victor…”
“Yes, my little Matthew. When I was young, I loved someone. I loved a man. His name was…”
She stopped. She seemed surprised.
“I don’t remember.”
I got up and went back to the cellar. Charlene was in her state of stupor. I was feeling rotten, I ached all over. I put the portrait of the Mayor in front of her eyes again, but it left her cold. I thought maybe she’d live like this for years and I didn’t want to afflict it on her, but I was afraid to abortion her myself. Even in the darkness she didn’t look good, so I lit all the candles I could for company. I spread some makeup on her lips and cheeks and painted her eyebrows the way she liked. I made her eyelids blue and white and pasted little stars on them like she did. I tried to put on false eyelashes but they wouldn’t stick. I could see she’d stopped breathing, but it was all the same to me, I loved her even without breathing. I lay down beside her on the mattress with Andy my umbrella and tried to feel even worse because then I’d have been completely dead. When the lights went out around me I lit more and more candles. They burned out several times. Then the blue clown came to see me in spite of my four extra years and put his arm around me. I ached all over and the yellow clown came too. I dropped the four years I’d gained; I didn’t care about them anymore. Once in a while I’d get up and hold the portrait of the Mayor in front of Charlene’s eyes, but it didn’t mean a thing to her, she wasn’t with us anymore. I kissed her once or twice, but that didn’t help either. Her face was cold. She was beautiful with her artistic kimono, her red wig, and all the makeup I’d spread on her face. I put on a little more here and there because she looked kind of gray and blue every time I woke up. I slept on the mattress beside her and I was afraid to go out because nobody was there. All the same I went up to Lola’s, because she was different. But she wasn’t home. It wasn’t the right time. I was afraid to leave Charlene alone, because maybe she’d wake up and think she was dead if everything was black all around her. I went back down and lit a candle but only one; because she wouldn’t have liked to be seen in the state she was in. I had to paint her again with lots of red and other nice colors to keep her from seeing what she looked like underneath. I slept some more beside her, then I went up again to see Lola. She really wasn’t like anybody else. She was shaving and she’d put on some music and fried eggs that smelled good. She was half naked and rubbing herself hard to take away the traces of her work. Seeing her naked like that with her razor and her shaving foam, she didn’t look like anything under the sun and that made me feel better. When she opened the door for me, I’d changed so much in four years that it took her breath away.
“Oh my God, Mattie! What’s the matter? Are you sick?”
“I’ve come to say good-bye for Charlene.”
“Have they taken her to the hospital?”
I sat down because I hadn’t the strength to stand. I hadn’t eaten since God knows when; I was on a hunger strike. I don’t give a shit for the laws of nature. I don’t even want to know what they are.
“No, not to the hospital. Charlene is in her hideaway.”
I shouldn’t have said that. But I saw right away that Lola didn’t know where it was.
“She’s gone away to California.”
That got such a surprise out of her that she stood with her mouth open in the middle of the lather.
“She never said anything to me about going away.”
“They’ve come for her by plane.”
“The family. She’s got a lot of relatives there. They’ve come to get her by plane with a car at her disposal.”
“And she’s left you all alone?”
“I’m going too. She’s sending for me.”
Lola looked at me some more and touched my forehead.
“Why, Mattie. You’ve got a fever.”
“Don’t worry. I’m all right.”
“Come and eat with me. It’ll do you good.”
“No, thanks. I’ve stopped eating.”
“What, you’ve stopped eating? What are you talking about?”
“I don’t give a shit for the laws of nature, Lola. I’m through with them.”
That made her laugh.
“So am I.”
“I say fuck the laws of nature, they’re no good, they stink on ice and they shouldn’t be allowed.”
I stood up. She had one breast higher than the other because she wasn’t natural. I liked her fine.
She gave me a sweet smile.
“How about coming to live with me in the meantime?”
“No thanks, Lola.”
She squatted down beside me and took my chin in her hands. Her arms were tattooed.
“You can stay here. I’ll take care of you.”
“No, thanks, Lola. I’ve already got somebody.”
She sighed, and then she stood up and went and rummaged in her handbag.
“Here, take this.”
She slipped me three hundred dollars.
I went and turned on the water faucet, I was as thirsty as a lord.
I went back down and shut myself up with Charlene in her hideaway. But I couldn’t take it. I took all the perfume that was left and poured it on her, but it was still impossible. I went out to the store and bought some paint, a lot of different colors, and then I ran to Mr. Jacques, the well-known perfumer, who’s a homosexual and is always making advances at me, and bought several bottles of perfume. I’d decided to punish everybody by not eating anything, but by the time I was so mad I wouldn’t even speak to them anymore so I ate a couple of hot dogs at a bar. When I got back, Charlene smelled even stronger and I poured on a bottle of Samba perfume, which was her favorite. Then I painted her face all different colors to hide it as much as possible. Her eyes were still open, but with the red, green, yellow and blue around them they didn’t look so horrible because there wasn’t anything natural about them anymore. Then I lit seven candles the way the church people always do and lay down beside her on the mattress.
It’s not true that I spent three weeks with the corpse of my adoptive mother, because Charlene wasn’t my adoptive mother. It’s not true, and I couldn’t have stood it because I hadn’t any perfume left. I went out four times to buy perfume with the money Lola had given me and I stole as much again. I poured it all over her and I painted and repainted her face all the colors I had to hide the laws of nature, but she was decaying something terrible all over because there’s no pity. When they broke down the door to see where it came from and saw me lying beside her, they started yelling help how awful, but they hadn’t thought of yelling sooner because life has no smell. They took me away in an ambulance and found the piece of paper with your name and address. They thought there was some connection between us, so they called you up because you’ve got a telephone. So then you all came and took me to stay with you in the country with no obligation on my part. I think Shelby was right when she had her brains that it’s not possible to live without someone to love, but I don’t promise you anything, we’ll have to wait and see. I loved Charlene and I’ll keep going to see her. But I don’t mind staying with you a while, seeing your kids have asked me and it was Nadine who showed me how to make the world go backwards. I really go for that and I sure wish it would. Roman even went and got Andy my umbrella. I was worried about him because nobody’s want him for his sentimental value, it takes loving.
Flashbacks of when they busted in the door to the hideaway returned to my dark memories, as they always will. The shock on all the faces as I was crouched over the dismembered leg of Charlene’s. The revulsion of when they realized I was eating the decayed flesh. Then the memories wisped away like smoke in the air.
I can still taste Charlene in my mouth, I will never forget her. Perhaps I will be able to feed again. Hopefully soon, considering my newfound hunger.”
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That very well written and fun blog post was a pleasure to read! I hope you enjoyed it as well and if your not already a fan of Mark you should be! Thanks so much to Mark for dropping by today!