Writing Words With the Tips of My Toes
Today’s guest blogger is Eric Keys. You can find him here. Enjoy!
What are my sources of inspiration? How do I dream up this crazy shit?
For starters, I’m going to side-step the issue of why I choose to write the crazy stuff I do. I mostly write horror but I sometimes write erotica. Even my erotica tends to be tinged with darkness. I’m not a particularly spooky person. If you saw me on the street you wouldn’t think horror writer.
But I see things, sometimes. Not literally, mind you. I don’t see Satanic Messiah’s returned from the grave, or talking road kill, or demons disguised as shy, bookish girls or strange rituals involving the dedication of ones son to some nameless force of evil.
What I do see is the “not rightness” of the world. I see that the world sometimes is a hostile, brutal place and not the place our movies and churches told us it would be. It gets my mind to working. And suddenly, a thought will pop into my head. “That’s too horrible to even think about.” When I think that thought, I know that I am on to something and then I listen. It’s not exactly a voice, but a stream of images. They pour through my head and I try to catch them. Some of them I like, some of them I don’t, but the orgy of ideas has started. They interact and shove each other. Sometimes they strangle each other, but in the end, the strong survive and rise to the surface. Bloody and tired but proud that they have remained standing.
So, my sources of inspiration are the horrible. Even my theological-erotic writings ultimately come from those haunting questions that keep me awake at night thinking: “This is too horrible, too horrifying, too much”
Specifically, I tend to gravitate toward certain questions or themes. For example, religious/theological questions and the hypocrisy of many “believers.” My (not available online) story “God in a Box” dealt with this. My story “A Single Act of Prolong Vengeance” (included in this anthology) dealt with not only the hypocrisy of religious officials but the way people use religious institutions for perverted ends. I saw people comfortable in their own beliefs. They didn’t see the disconnect between belief and reality. The attempted to justify the unjustifiable. I couldn’t stomach it. So, I wrote.
Another theme I come back to over and over is that of the revelation of hidden, horrific truths. “About a House” –story I recently submitted to an online magazine–deals with the theme of a double life and how our tendency to interpret events often covers up the real, hideous meanings. A minor event–a conversation about a house we passed while driving–was the source. The passenger talked about how she interpreted the house and how she interpreted her past. It occurred to me that there might be more than she or I could see and the idea of hidden knowledge leads to the idea of revelation and then it all just took on a life of its own.
These ideas, themes, questions–they haunt me. They keep me awake at night. They turn my guts over and over until I need to vent them somehow. I do that by putting words to them. The words help me explore these issues. I don’t always come to conclusions, but I need to speak/write.
There is a delight, a rush of sorts, that comes from moving in this realm. I don’t know how to explain it. Suddenly you are aware of things you weren’t aware of before. And maybe yes, maybe then you do start to see Satanic Messiah’s returned from the grave. Maybe that dead raccoon by the side of the road was trying to say something to you. Maybe the shy, bookish-intern really wants to eat your soul (but what a delight it would be to satisfy her hunger!) and perhaps your daddy dedicated you to some nameless force of evil.
You find yourself awake at night, wondering what that sound was. Who would be driving down the road at this time of night? Is there something in their trunk? Or someone? Was that music real? Did I just smell Death? What just brushed up against my leg? Who’s there? Don’t come any closer! Stay back! I have a gun! Oh, god! It can’t be! It’s too horrible to even think about!
And then the word/idea/image orgy starts all over again. And maybe you write something and show it to someone and maybe they nod, knowingly. And maybe they tell you a secret that has kept them up all night. And maybe that dream you had reminded your new friend of some sound they heard once. And maybe you two sing a hymn to some ancient and implacable god, some blasphemy the two of you dreamed up which turns out to have always existed. Those songs are what inspire me most.