In these last days before Halloween, there is much going on. Everywhere you turn, people are talking about horror this and the most frightening that.
This morning, I had a driveway moment listening to Scott Simon interview William Peter Blatty about his masterpiece, The Exorcist, still one of the scariest books ever written (and the movie is great too).
This novel always makes me think of one of my favorite horror novel related stories ever. Back in my early days at the BPL, a young woman named Gina worked at circulation. Gina loved reading horror novels, but only read them while at work so that she was never alone while reading them. One slow Saturday while Gina, myself, and a young man names Scott were working, Gina was getting freaked out enough by the novel that she put it in a drawer, locked the drawer, and went to take a break to calm down.
While she was gone, Scott and I worked together to take the book out of the drawer and move it to another drawer. When Gina went to read the book again, see opened the drawer and the book....was gone! She screamed, but then calmed down when she found the book 1 drawer over. She simply thought she had misremembered which drawer held the book.
Scott and I continued this game for a few days, with Gina getting more frightened and agitated each time. By the time she had finished the book and had figured out what we were doing, I asked her if she was mad at us.
"No," she told me, "that made reading the book so much better." Gina loved to be frightened to her limits by reading horror novels, but adding a real life freaky element made it even better. She was experiencing the story of a possessed child and was reading it from what appeared to be a possessed book.
This always reminds me of why people read horror tales. We like to feel that fear. The more the better. But we also know it is not real.
Back to gearing up for the 31st. Personally, I spent the end of this past week being interviewed or preparing for interviews. So on Monday, look for me trying to convince Chicago Tribune columnist Barbara Brotman to read a horror novel, and listen to me live on Wisconsin Public Radio taking your calls about horror (you can use the link to stream it live). I will provide links to all of my appearances on Monday.
Tonight, I am attending out annual haunted block party and carving a pumpkin. And tomorrow, I will be working the RA desk at the BPL and posting my review of Zone One.
We are in the homestretch now.