Welcome to the final day of February which is also the last day of Women in Horror Recognition Month. I am glad I participated more officially in the celebration this year. Together with Monster Librarian, I think the library world got an excellent and broad picture of the contributions of women in horror as they apply to a public library audience.
But why is this post looking forward to March? Well, I first got in touch with Kaaron because we are both going to be featured speakers at an Australian RA training in March focused on horror.
I will have more on that presentation as well as a brand new coupon for my book coming soon, but for now let’s close this wonderful month out with Kaaron.
I have archived this year’s WiHM posts here. I have also tagged any post I have ever done about women in horror.
Now, here’s Kaaron.....
“Why do you write horror? You’re a woman.”
It’s the classic question, one I’m asked more often than “Where do you get your ideas?”
The thing is, quite often the questioner has just finished telling me about a vicious murder, or an arsehole ex-boyfriend, or a child drowning in a swimming pool. They’re armpit deep in horror, shocked by it, fascinated, disgusted, entranced. This is the stuff that chills us to the bone.
Most of my stories are a visceral response to these horrors.
In “Dead Sea Fruit” the thing I was horrified by was body image and how many people it destroys. The story is about the Ash Mouth Man, a legendary character anorexic girls believe in. They say that after you kiss him, everything you eat will taste like ash, so you’ll never want to eat, and you’ll be thin.
The inspiration came from a friend telling the story of a young girl who travelled to India and drank from the Ganges, with the sole purpose of getting dysentery and therefore losing weight.
This was one of those moments where a bunch of women were horrified, outraged, shocked, and terrified for our own daughters. We wondered how this could happen, and why, and how did we keep our girls safe.
My response was the Ash Mouth Man.
And no, the girl who drank from the Ganges is not alright. Years later, she is still sick.
"Why do you write horror?"
I get asked this question more often because I’m a woman, I think, and more specifically a mother, as if becoming a mother numbs all but maternal feelings, as if having a child renders all of your past vacant.
Many people can see the same things I’m seeing, talk about them, then let them go.
I can’t let them go, and I can’t forget. I want to try to make sense of the nightmares.
Why do I write horror?
Because I never, ever will.