Today, my short story, “A Good Man”, was published at http://www.fictionontheweb.co.uk. Many thanks to Charlie Fish at Fiction on the Web for publishing this, one of my best stories. “A Good Man” is not horror, but a modern crime drama. Mr. Fish describes the story thus: “On the day before her death from lung cancer, Christopher’s mother tells him a secret about his father that may change his perception of his parents forever…” Doug Hawley, in the first comment on the story notes: “Lots of detail examining an old question of how do you judge a person’s life. It left me wondering.”
Please drop by Fiction on the Web any time and check out “A Good Man”.
Yesterday I read “Fish Head” by Irvin S. Cobb in The World’s Greatest Horror Stories, edited by Stephen Jones and Dave Carson. Though the cover above is from a 1985 chapbook, the story was originally published in 1913 in The Cavalier and was one of Lovecraft’s favorites. The link above will take you to the Gaslight text.
I highly recommend reading the story. Although there is little action and what little there is is contained in the last two pages, the story is very effective at setting up a suspenseful mood just in telling the telling the story of Reelfoot Lake and its mysterious inhabitant called “Fish Head” because of his resemblance to a catfish.
I suspect that Cobb, who was a native of Paducah, Kentucky situated near Reelfoot Lake, probably drew upon actual visits to Reelfoot to describe the atmosphere and environment in such realistic detail that, to me, almost seems to reverberate with a sense that one is experiencing the lake as vicariously as one can.
“Fish Head” is an interesting study in the use of language creating atmosphere, mystery, and suspense by the use of description alone. Please read it at your first opportunity. You won’t regret it.
Someone told me recently that the pyschologist Carl Jung believed the work reveals something about the author. We discussed this idea for a few minutes before it hit home in a very scary fashion, because we were discussing my works of horror. I realized that at least sometimes my own subconscious fears may influence, if not determine, the course of my stories. Storylines reflecting the subconscious fears of the author makes a lot of sense, because, to my mind at least, dreams and nightmares also originate in and reflect the undercurrents of the subconscious.
So, what do you think? Is the subconscious wellspring responsible for the creation of dreams the same one responsible for creative works? What does this say about authors like Yann Martel who wrote “Life of Pi”? What does it say about authors like Clive Barker and H.P. Lovecraft and even myself?
“Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.”
“The secret of artistic creation and the effectiveness of art is to be found in a return to the state of ‘participation mystique’ – to that level of experience at which it is man who lives, and not the individual…”
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”