Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On Writing, Guest Post: What Scares a Scary Man?

     This week marks my 100th blog post, and I’m giving up my seat to my buddy Jason Korolenko. Jason is a kind man with a foul mouth and dark thoughts. He’s also a hell of a writer with a new book out, The Day I Left. Here’s Jason:
     Hi. My name is Jason Korolenko, and I write the type of stuff that keeps you awake at night. Rob invited me over to talk a bit about what keeps me up at night, so dim the lights, make sure all your doors are locked, and pull up a chair.

     My recently released novel, The Day I Left, isn't horror per se, though it toys with some of the tropes of horror literature--ghosts, madness, murder. And it does contain a couple of scenes culled directly from things that scare me, which are hopefully universal enough that they will scare you, too (or you, or you over there in the corner).


     Edgar Allan Poe was terrified by the thought of being buried alive, a theme he visited often in his work (most notably in The Premature Burial, The Cask of Amontillado, and The Fall of the House of Usher). I share a similar fear, and the amateur psychologist in me thinks it has nothing at all to do with burial, really, but lack of control. Fear manifests in extreme forms, and in this case, the form of burial. The tingling sensation of needles and pins in fingers and toes as the heart slows. Hallucinations as the brain starves for blood. The panic, the desperate fight to breathe steady because you know each breath might be the last one. The creeping, crushing pressure as your lungs collapse. Watching the world fade into blackness even though your eyes are wide open.
     Yeah, I have issues with death. We are not on good terms. Once, when I was a kid, he woke me up screaming in the middle of the night. We haven't spoken since.
     In this excerpt from The Day I Left, Jarrod, our hero (or anti-hero, depending on your perspective) finds himself alone in the dark, cramped catacombs of Paris, France:
     ...And though I had entered the ossuary as a tourist, curious and worry free, I suddenly felt like an inhabitant, like someone who belonged there, when I noticed I was alone. A completely irrational sensation, I know, but the rules change when you're in a situation like that. It's like lying in bed at night, reading a creepy novel by low light, and you catch a glimpse of something white and formless rushing past your door in the dark of the hallway beyond. Your heart starts to pound and you bite back a scream, knowing there's nothing out there, but . . . what if there is? You hold the book a little higher, blocking the doorway out of your vision because if it remains in your sight, even in the periphery, you'll keep looking, and if you keep looking you're certain you will see something out there, and you won't be able to move when it comes for you...
     But, you want to know what really scares me? That guy in the donut shop.
     Jason K. is in the midst of a worldwide blog tour (the best way to see the sights without putting on pants). Last week, he was hanging out with Kelly S. Gamble and next week he’ll be spending some quality time with Heidi Cruz. Want to spend some time with Jason? You better check this out first, then drop by and see him at his website.

15 comments:

  1. My biggest fear is someone finding out my biggest fear and using it against me. Thanks for so vividly describing being buried alive that it will be impossible for me to go back to sleep. Appreciate that.

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    1. My pleasure! And Rob knows your biggest fear. He told me he's just waiting for the right time to use it.

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    2. I always though KSG's big phobia was pirates. Who knew?

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    3. Ironically, perhaps, that happens to be my worst fear.

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  2. The Exorcist ... that MFing movie continues to haunt me ... I'm alone Mondays (work a 4 day week) so that's the day I get the most done. I won't go upstairs to the bathroom anymore (because I scare the shit out of myself thinking "she's" sitting up in our bed waiting for me). The basement? Forgetaboutit ... I use a kitchen bucket until the wife comes home ... and should I forget to dump it in the basement toilet before she gets home, forgetaboutit again, I'm toast. Did I always have these fears? On and off, certainly not while i lived in the city (little italy had it's own set of fears), but once we bought a house with a staircase, and after I saw the extended Exorcist (spider walk), madonna mia ... haunted, I tell yous. My wife is no better and I can scare her Sunday nights doing "the voice" but then she reminds me: "Asshole, you're the one is gonna be alone tomorrow."

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  3. Thanks for letting me hijack your blog, Rob, and on such a special occasion, too. 100 posts. Right on. And thanks for linking the Huffington Post article. I'll take attention any way I can get it.

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    1. You should find away to Photoshop an Amazon link onto the t-shirt you're wearing in the video.

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    2. Yeah, this is definitely going to be my book trailer (with a little tweaking). My only fear is that may not give an appropriate representation of the story...

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    3. Is does show a man driven to insanity ...

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    4. "Insanity," I think, is too kind. You should have seen yesterday's moves. I invented a couple new dances, one of which is called The Puppeteer.

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  4. From CharlieOpera: The Exorcist ... that MFing movie continues to haunt me ... I'm alone Mondays (work a 4 day week) so that's the day I get the most done. I won't go upstairs to the bathroom anymore (because I scare the shit out of myself thinking "she's" sitting up in our bed waiting for me). The basement? Forgetaboutit ... I use a kitchen bucket until the wife comes home ... and should I forget to dump it in the basement toilet before she gets home, forgetaboutit again, I'm toast. Did I always have these fears? On and off, certainly not while i lived in the city (little italy had it's own set of fears), but once we bought a house with a staircase, and after I saw the extended Exorcist (spider walk), madonna mia ... haunted, I tell yous. My wife is no better and I can scare her Sunday nights doing "the voice" but then she reminds me: "Asshole, you're the one is gonna be alone tomorrow."

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    1. Ah, Charlie...you just gave me so much good stuff to work with when I visit you up at MVG. The power of Christ compels you, brother.

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  5. Good post. And scary! I'm so scared of being buried alive that I told my hubby to cremate me when I'm dead. Grim, but effective.

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    1. Hah...yeah, I suppose that's a good way to ensure you're actually dead. I'm not sure I want to be cremated, though. The thought of being reduced to absolutely nothing bothers me a bit (not that I'd be any less dead if I were buried and decomposed). Strange, I know!

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