Please join me today to welcome Paul DeBlassie III to my blog to talk about horror writing and how it can have beneficial properties.
How Writing and Reading Horror Make You Happy
Paul DeBlassie III
There's nothing like waking up, first thing in the morning, to horror. All night long dreams turning to nightmares have spun through hallowed recesses of consciousness. Your pulse is wild, mouth dry and hands clammy.
Well, okay maybe this isn't anything we go through on a nightly basis. But, mind-blowing horrific images and narratives swept through my sleep during the writing of The Unholy. By morning time, sun rising majestically over the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, New Mexico I was both exhausted and refreshed.
I finished with weekly psychotherapy treating survivors of the dark side of religion. People suffer horror under many guises. Religion is one of the mightiest of horror machines. Suffering cripples the human psyche when guilt and fear, propagated in the name of a god in the sweet bye and bye, rule life and limb, love and relationships. At the end of a week of confronting the horrors of minds nearly swallowed whole by the dark side of religion, I’m ready to write and write horror.
From the night's twisting and turning, sheets in knots and damp, I remembered the face of the evil archbishop in The Unholy. He's a misogynist, smooth, compelling and seductive. In the nightmares of the night his nature curls through dark images that lend themselves to the momentum of the fright that laces through narrative and dialogue in The Unholy. I've met this man personally in one version or another in patients I've treated and in nightmare visions that expose his cunning and ruthlessness.
The young medicine woman and seer in The Unholy, Claire Sanchez, battles the evil archbishop. Nightmare scenes prepare her for the dangers ahead. Horror readies her for action that will either forge her womanly resolve and might or shatter her mind into tiny crumbly bits. She reads the dream symbols and psychically moves through roadblocks to growth and consciousness.
Horror sweeps the mind clean and makes us ready to live out what we need to live out. It makes me ready to write. Patients in psychotherapy and readers of horror know that terror brings to light what’s lurking in the shadows. Unconscious skeletons in the basement of the mind start rattling. Dreams in therapy and images in the reading of horror blow out the psychic tubes so we can confront unseen and unknown demons.
Writing and reading horror ushers us face to face with hidden fears. We think it's the heroine's problem or conflict or monster, but it's our masked and denied anxieties that stare up at us from page after page of riveting action. Without taking the plunge into darkness and coming out on the other side of the story, we’re left with anxieties and terrors locked up that will one day unexpectedly grab hold of us and reek havoc. What we don't face haunts us and, one day grabs us and takes us down.
So, what’s locked up inside doesn’t stay in the mind’s basement. It finds a way of escape. And, when it does, it isn’t pretty. Unnecessary problems and conflicts and traumas besiege us. So, as Claire, young medicine woman in The Unholy, discovers, running from what scares you makes it bigger.
Writing horror, reading horror, sets in play riveting unconscious forces of anxiety and bold-faced fear. They make us cringe and scream, at least on the inside. Ultimately, if we finish the story, and we're still in one piece, we sigh, glad for the ending and long-awaited emotional release. We're grateful that the weird and evil happenings are spun out and spent, the mind quieter, cleared out, happier.
by Paul DeBlassie III
A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, "The Unholy" is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.
About the Author