I’m not going to say that it’s typical, or that it should be expected of me (but you should totally expect it, be it’s totally typical of me). Sometimes things just happen.
Sometimes, you join a new club, and you mean to introduce yourself, but you get distracted by this, that, or the other thing – and before you know it, a whole month has gone by and you haven’t really said hello. You start to wonder if they’ve forgotten about you already, because let’s face it: you forget about tons of things more important (or at least more relevant) than your own existence, right? Why would this be any different?
And just like that, I’ve gone from out in the ether to off in left field. From way in the rearview to completely ahead of myself…
Let’s try this again.
My name is Andy Lockwood. I’m a recent introduction to the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers.
I’ve actually introduced myself to a few of them already, probably before they knew I was part of the group, but not since then. I like to think that the anticipation makes things sweeter. Let them scour the internet, digging up dirt on me, they won’t find it – or they might. I’ve left a few clues of my existence out there on the web, but I doubt they’re anything as exciting as I could make up for you here. Truth is not as strange as good fiction, whatever the rest of them say.
Now that the question is in your mind (because I put it there. See how this works?): Yes, I think I do write good fiction. Or, it’s good in my mind? The supernatural is so subjective. What is good to one is terrifying to another, or maybe boring. I have that problem, too, and that fear.
I have the problem that what other people tell me is good, is the sort of content I find boring, or uninteresting. I tend to use the argument that I don’t like The Walking Dead because I don’t like the human element. I mean, it’s true, but it’s probably not quite to the point. I think the human element is what grounds everything and makes it scary/unnerving/terrifying/etc. Maybe I just don’t like those characters, or maybe I don’t like the story. Something. Anyway, sometimes I have an unpopular opinion, and I worry about that because I tend to dance around under the umbrella of speculative fiction, which may be the most subjective umbrella of them all.
Speculative fiction is hard enough when you’re just trying to sell your readers on an idea. They have to accept the idea to get through the book. Then they have to get on board with the idea if they’re going to keep following you. Maybe they’ll give you a pass and check out your next idea. You have to unload your brain and hope people get on board.
The pressure (at least for me) feels heavier with horror. It’s a little more than just asking people to accept that in this timeline, people travel by jetpack. I’m not only asking you to join me on this journey of imaginative opinion, I’m telling you what should scare you. In order for me to do my job, you have to agree. You have to step into my world, accept my rules, and agree that everything I tell you is as I say it is. If that isn’t a lot of pressure, I don’t know what is.
It’s a little maddening, but no more so than the way people must feel when they see the books I write and then hear me say that I don’t really write horror. There’s always a moment when they think, it’s a gimmick, and sure, maybe it is a little bit – but it’s also very true: I don’t write for my readers… against any sane advice I’ve ever gotten.
I write for myself, first and foremost, and when I write for me, I like to tell stories. Stories I haven’t heard yet. Stories I wish people would tell. Stories I wish had been told when I’ve seen/read/heard other stories. It’s a little self-serving (ok, it’s a LOT self-serving) but I write the stories that I want to experience. Because, really, I’m only here to entertain myself.
What’s come of the desire to entertain myself so far is a crop of short stories, two novels, one 12-part serial, and a website, where I sometimes blog my inane ramblings and leave them up for other people to discover, much like hieroglyphics. The hope is that one day, someone will find my words while rediscovering human history. The secondary hope is that even after reading my unfocused thoughts, the otherworldly archaeologists still consider humankind worth archiving.
So, that’s a little something you know now. Take it and do what you will. If you’re inclined to experience more, you can visit my website: www.happierthoughts.com where I try to keep tabs on all my goings-on, as well as where my books can be purchased from.