Tag: horror

How Short Can You Horror?


Another month, another Misfortune 500.  Very short tales I come up with to go alongside random images.  The pic above is a banana peel with a bit of stringy banana material on the end of it.  I thought it kind of looked like a worm.

I’ve talked before about how the backstory is what makes the pictures into horror, or into whatever you’d like.  You, the writer, have all the power.  How many words do you need to exercise it to your satisfaction?

Check out the story I set down to go with this image here.  C’mon, it’ll take two minutes.  Lemme know what you think.

Eeeeew Teeth

Gross, right?

Does the image above make you uncomfortable?

It does me.  Or at least it did when I took it.  But I was in a dentist’s office, next to someone who had just had her wisdom teeth pulled.  These are them.  Fresh with blood and bits of gum still attached.

But does it horrify?  Probably not.  It’s gross, but even if you’re disgusted, you’re probably not horrified.  I bet you would be if it were human eyes, however.  It’s just another body part, but the eyes are frightening to look at in a way that wisdom teeth aren’t:  they aren’t supposed to be there.

It probably occurs to you when you see the teeth that they are supposed to be there.  They are there with benign intent.  But excised eyes on a tray carry horror with them because the backstory of how they got there would likely be at the very least gruesome, if not terrifying.

The story that we attach to images makes all the difference.  The microhorror section of this site trades in that currency.  I allow myself 500 words to give a backstory to a random picture that I may have taken or been given, rooted in the horror genre.  Some of them are not so easy.  Others, like these teeth, are too easy and need a story that throws the reader off.

Head over to Mistfortune 500 and check out the tale I spun to go with this image.  I timed it, they take about two minutes to read.  If you like it, there are more.

How Do You Write Therapeutically?


Greetings and welcome back. Last week’s entry unveiled a new top-level page here at The Octopode, all about Salamander City, the forest acreage and log cabin I work on every week. If you missed it, head on over and check it out. It will be an ongoing subject of future blogs here.

Today I’m unveiling something else for you, unrelated: a new Misfortune 500! Let me ask you, what does the picture above make you think of?  If you had to spin a very short horror tale around what is in that picture, what would be about?  Take 120 seconds to read 500 words of horror having to do with that image, I fucking dare you.

Now, for a little bit of content specific to today’s title.

On March 10, my dearest friend and closest companion finished his sixteen years of life as a canine on planet Earth. Blake was, simply put, the best. I adore him. His passing and his absence have been extremely difficult.

Friends, and the vet who helped me let him go, have given advice and a shoulder to cry on. Donations were made in his name to animal welfare organizations. Cards were sent. Gifts. It’s been really nice to have people looking out for me as I travel through this grief.

One of the things that was recommended to me by the vet is to write a memoir of Blake’s life. Upon receiving this suggestion I immediately thought of two important lessons I’d already learned the hard way: first, writing has always been a balm for me. I’ve set down volume upon volume in efforts to grapple with pain in the past. Second, I know that when I am in a state of grief, I must take all advice that is given, on faith.

And that is a bit of wisdom I’d pass on to you if I can: when you are in pain, you can only gain from following advice given to you.

Even if it’s not good advice, you will gain the experience and the knowledge, and you will be actively working toward your own betterment, which is significant regardless of what it entails. Plus, when you’re in a hard emotional place it is difficult to think critically about advice given to you. You can’t trust your own valuation of such things. So, just take the advice that is given by people who care about you. Do the thing. You won’t regret it.

Now for my question to you. I decided to abstain from reading about memoirs. I have read autobiographies but never memoirs, and I am completely unfamiliar with the style. I don’t even know the form. The voice. The intent. I felt that just diving into it and trying to find what felt best to write would be the most therapeutic way to handle it. And it’s working. As memories occur, I relish my next writing session when I can set them down in the memoir.

What is your impression of writing therapeutically, and do you choose to freewrite or use an established form for this? Do you share the work? Do you even revise it?

How do you use writing as therapy?

Comment below.