Haunted Heathenry

I imagine the majority of people who follow this blog know me primarily as a writer of novels and short stories, particularly in the horror genre, or more specifically the occult detective sub-genre. It was a pursuit I took on in October of 2000. I published several short stories quickly and my first novel, Shadows Over Somerset, was released in 2004 by a small press publisher, Black Death Books.

It was a whirlwind of excitement, with book signings and convention appearances, but it was also filled with stress and disillusionment. I won’t go into the details, but suffice to say, I became disenchanted with the writing community, by and large. It’s a cutthroat business, and deceitful peers and bad publishing experiences turned me off of the industry, but I am now and always have been a storyteller.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my storytelling journey of late. I suppose it started when I was a child and, along with my little brother, I created elaborate productions with action figures and set pieces. It was also when I began to write comics, often rewriting captions and dialogue from books like The Mighty Thor and Doctor Strange to tell new tales, even using a cut and paste method of redirecting scenes. Later I was given the opportunity to write plays that my sixth grade class performed for our elementary school, my favorite being a battle between the Greek and Roman Gods that was ultimately settled once the Norse Pantheon took the field.

Of course, a large part of my talents for telling stories were honed through adjudicating roleplaying games. It scratched that itch for genre yarn spinning that was cultivated from reading Howard, Lovecraft, Wellman, Burroughs, and Wheatley as a boy, but it soon became music and magic that fueled my artistic endeavors.

As I said, I started writing horror in 2000, at the age of 34, prior to that I was writing (mostly) super hero comics (something I pulled the plug on in 2006), but my primary focus, particularly from age 16 – 30, was writing songs and poetry. That was where I felt most fulfilled, where I explored my thoughts on religion, philosophy, spirituality, and the paranormal.

Of late, as I became more and more frustrated and dissatisfied with the writing industry, from stem to stern, I found myself picking up the guitar more and songs began to fall out of it again. As I continued to explore my heathen faith, which has been a cornerstone of my beliefs for more than four decades, I found I was writing poetry and verse that expressed those themes more than ever before, that the old voice I had shelved was hungry and eager to assert itself.

This is not to say that I am done with writing horror and occult detective fiction, but just that a large part of my creative self has been neglected for far too long, that the storyteller I imagined myself becoming got distracted along the way. I guess this is a roundabout way of saying you will see a bit more of me moving forward.

I hope to reawaken that part of me that embarked on a shamanic journey long ago but lost the path somewhere along the way. I am eager to explore a hybrid of horror and heathenry, if you will, to realign myself to where I was in the beginning, coupled with the years of wisdom acquired along the way, and to become a more expressive voice in the communities in which I am active.

I leave you with a couple of verses from the first “real” song I wrote, back in 1986 or so…

Shadows are reality
Creeping through my sanity
Everything in darkness
Everything in black
I was born with vision
Mystic intuition
Trip my way through daylight
And never coming back

Flowing through the motions
Drinking magick potions
My mind is now electric
Everything surreal
Trading all my sanity
For a little sanctity
I’m living just for dying
But dying isn’t real

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