October Birthdays Rock

As you know, my birthday is this week. According to the internet, after twenty five your cells begin to die off faster than they regenerate so, guess what. At 26, I’ve officially started dying. Happy birthday to me! I’ll be honest, I’m already looking forward to being retired and drinking whenever I want. That sounds pretty awesome.

Did you know your license expires after five years? I got mine on my 21st birthday and now I get to make a birthday trip to the DMV. Hooray!

Anyway, I absolutely love having a birthday this close to Halloween. As I mentioned in my previous post about horror, I’m a huge fan of spooky things like jack-o-lanterns, bats, and skeletons. I feel like I’ve always been drawn to that stuff, but maybe that’s because I associate spooky things with my birthday. Maybe I was drawn to my first Goosebumps book because the cover reminded me of a haunted house and thus my birthday? I have no idea. Trying to assign motive to things I did when I was five probably isn’t the most logical thing to do.

One of my coworkers recently welcomed his first child about five weeks earlier than planned. The baby is healthy, happy, and now officially an October baby. When I heard the news, I congratulated him of course and then started telling him about how much FUN it is to have birthday parties in October.I had the best spooky cakes and decorations when I was little and he gets to do that for his daughter. How fun!

Also, if you HAVE to have a birthday near a holiday, Halloween is by far the best in my opinion. My opinion is biased, of course, but hear me out. Christmas is of course the worst holiday to have your birthday near because your birthday presents and Christmas presents overlap. You get half the presents any other child would get and it sucks! I feel like Thanksgiving falls into the same vein, not in the sense of presents, but it definitely overshadows your birthday. I wonder how many Thanksgiving babies have heard “oh, we have to go to grandma’s house. We can just have your party there.” No kid wants a party at grandma’s house.

I feel like Easter would be the second best holiday to have a birthday near. Yeah, you might end roped into a church service or Easter party, but you get lots of extra candy on top of your presents. That’s pretty cool! However, it doesn’t come in first because the only birthday decorations you get are pastel. Pastels are so boring.

Halloween is by far the best because you get free candy on top of your presents and you get to have really cool, spooky decorations. You also have an AWESOME excuse to have a costume party and people will actually participate. Try asking someone in the middle of June to dress up and they’ll look at you like you’re stupid. You can also do really fun things at your party, like carve pumpkins. Who wouldn’t want an October birthday?

Now that I’m older, the spookiness of my birthday has definitely diminished. I usually have to work on my birthday and, as a responsible adult, I can’t exactly justify splurging on a ton of spooky decorations. The kid in me definitely wants to spend all the grocery money on candy, but the adult in me keeps telling me no.

Being an adult sucks. But hey, after I get my license renewed I can go buy alcohol. That’s a pretty nice perk!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get some free birthday ice cream. Peace!

-EMS

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Horror Makes Me Happy

Okay, so first of all, you’re lucky there’s even a post up. Michael and I just downloaded Pokemon Go and just spent the last three hours driving around Pullman trying to find a Meowth and Dugtrio. The only reason we’re back is because our phones were about to die. The couple that nerds together stays together, I guess.

Anyway, I really liked your last post. You touched on something that a lot of storytellers just don’t understand. You have to respect your viewer/player/reader and treat them like an adult, but you still need to give them enough to stand on when it comes to exposition. Never hold your audience’s hand, but at least light the path for them.

Finding the right balance in my writing has been one of my biggest challenges as an author. Sometimes I fall in love with my story and want to give my reader every single detail, which would just overwhelm them. As the author, it’s my job to immerse myself in the story, but only bring back enough so the reader can get their feet wet.

This concept is especially relevant in horror. I’ve always loved horror. I love horror novels, horror films, horror video games. I have since I was little and to create a scary story, you really need to find that sweet spot between giving enough exposition so the audience understands why they should be scared, but not so much that they can’t project their own fears onto the monster. That’s what makes good horror good, it gives you the room to add your personal fears to the story.

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It (1990)

I’m not sure why I’ve always liked horror. When I was little I used to read a ton of Goosebumps and Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark. My favorite movies, outside of the Little Mermaid, were the made-for-television Goosebump shorts and Beetlejuice.

The only thing I can really pinpoint that may have started my love of horror is my birthday. As you know my birthday is right before Halloween so more often than not my birthday had a Halloween theme. I remember having a cake with a little graveyard on it. I remember going trick-or-treating with my friends and then having a birthday sleepover. I’ve always associated my birthday with skeletons, ghosts, monsters, and just creepy stuff. Therefore, Halloween has always been my favorite holiday just because it meant I would get presents.

Not sure if that’s the only reason I love horror, but it makes sense, I guess.

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House of 1000 Corpses (2003…wait, this movie is 13 years old?! Fuck.)

Nowadays, I’ve graduated from Goosebumps to Stephen King and Jack Ketchum novels. I still like Beetlejuice, but I also enjoy gorey films like House of 1000 Corpses, Aliens, and Hellraiser.

Why? Why do I like these things? These books and movies are just full of horrible imagery and people dying. Why in the world do I crave them?

Adrenaline, pure and simple. There is something so energizing about reading a good scary story. It makes me feel alive and in the present. It’s a feeling you can’t really get in day-to-day life without doing something expensive or stupid, or both.

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Heathers (1988)

I think this adrenaline addiction is the same reason I like getting tattoos and going on rollercoasters. During the event, it’s painful and terrifying, but when it’s all over your body feels electric. Horror movies and books do the same thing for me. I just get excited.

I also think I love horror because, in a weird way, it’s a way to cope with all the real horrors of the world. I can watch a movie with computer generated monsters and for a little while I can escape from the mass shootings, racism, and homophobia in our world. I can handle a fake monster because I know it’s fake. The real world isn’t so easy.

I’ll probably be a horror queen for the rest of my life, and I’m okay with that.

Now, I’m going back out. I need to catch me a Gastly.

-EMS