“How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.” - Bram Stoker, Dracula
Everyone has fears and dreads, which is why this line from Bram Stoker’s Dracula struck such a great chord with me. The character in this story believed himself to live in a world of people who did not have great troubles like he did, but as we all know – even those who seem the happiest have a darkness within them. It is the yin-yang of life to be balanced in both darkness and light. One cannot live without the other.
But just as all of us have felt in our deepest moments of despair, we understand the feeling of longing for peace at times when it feels furthest away; like reaching out to a hand that won’t reach back. It is natural to want relief when we are scared or when we have allowed ourselves to indulge too deep into a troubling situation we believed we could handle. It’s easy, and common, in moments like this to feel as though no one could possibly know or understand our struggle.
In this way, suffering strikes everyone, whether it is self-imposed or external; it’s the realization of mortality in old age; it’s the traumas of war, abandonment, abuse or rape; it’s the severance of connection that comes with death or the loss of a child; it’s the mind wracking turmoil that accompanies addiction; it’s too much time spent alone and the regret that comes with too much time spent away.
We all suffer in our own way, and this is why horror is so universal to us all. None of us are so special that suffering doesn’t and will never touch our lives. But when it does, we do not suffer alone. Horror not only embraces human suffering but exposes it for what it is in all of its forms. It shows us the horrors that are out there and allows us to feel the troubles that we are not always able to take the time to experience in our day to day lives.
Reading was a special escape of mine when I was young. It didn’t matter if the world was falling apart around me so long as I could face my fears in the comfort of a novel. That repression of fear had finally found its release. For this reason, I was always intrigued by horror. Whether it’s a movie, a book, a haunted house or even a roller coaster ride - anything that allows me to experience the fears I don’t always allow myself to feel in my day to day life - is a comfort to me and is one of the main reasons why so many love the horror genre, and always will.
I’m making a little playlist as I countdown the days until the release of Compulsions. It will be comprised of the songs I listened to throughout the process of writing Compulsions. They mostly consist of classical and ambient thematic music but I thought it would be fun to share. Let me know if you guys have a playlist you write to or if you just prefer silence instead.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve found peace in what others might find disturbing or uncomfortable. I don’t know if this is a result of how I was raised, what I was exposed to or maybe a mix of nature vs nurture, but there’s something about horror that I have always been drawn to. There’s no single reason for this, except that we all choose to express ourselves and our vulnerabilities in our own, sometimes subconscious ways… whether that’s painting, logistics, metaphysical musings, building things with our hands, etc.
Mine, however, is writing; writing about the things we all keep hidden and locked away. In a world where we pass people by without giving them a second thought, people with entire worlds within them, I couldn’t help but try to understand what was beneath the surface of all the smiles, handshakes and fake laughs in crowded rooms. In my eyes, there was a darkness people kept hidden from others in order to seem “normal” or at least “okay.”
Dealing with dark material can be rough, so it’s understandable that people don’t put their own sufferings out there as nonchalant as they would the details of what they did this past weekend. But I never cared too much for small talk, and through writing I felt a release, a way to reveal these darker experiences of my life and the reflections I had about the world from them.
“The first monster you have to scare the audience with is yourself.” - Wes Craven
People are generally afraid of the dark and the negative, especially within themselves. It’s as if they were to touch it even once a hole would form in the universe and they would fall right in. But for me, someone who has experienced so much of what’s on the other side of the light, I’m no longer afraid of what’s there.
What waits on the other side is the evil within human nature that I have learned to understand as just another part of life; as a sort of discomfort to be made comfortable so it can be embraced and exposed instead of feared and repressed. It pushes me forward into everything that I do. It pushes me to write and it pushes me into all of my other passions and sources of happiness.
Even though the process of writing Compulsions was hard since it demanded me to be in a head space of consistent heaviness, I’m glad I was able to pour all of myself out there. It left me with a clear mind. It taught me the importance of honest artistic expression, and how to be vulnerable with my words and experiences.
If there’s one thing I could tell any writer out there it’s this: to not censor the stories you share with the world. Some people will understand and some people won’t. But in any genre, especially a genre as controversial as horror, no one is ever pleased. It’s up to you to use your voice in order to bring something that only you can into this world, in the hopes of sparking some insight into someone else.
I’m making a little playlist as I countdown the days until release. It will be comprised of the songs I listened to throughout the process of writing Compulsions. They mostly consist of classical and ambient thematic music but I thought it would be fun to share. Let me know if you guys have a playlist you write to or if you just prefer silence instead.
I’ve searched for the truths of human psychology ever since I can remember. After a lifetime of experimenting with others, and thousands of interactions with people willing enough to reveal to me the dark secrets of their lives – secrets which we all hold – I’ve written a book that is true to the vulnerabilities that have been shared with me, and that I have shared with others.
Nothing pleases me more than how this novel turned out, and I’m excited to finally expose it to all of you. But before I go on, I’d like to leave you with a quote to keep in mind that is commonly referred to within the writing and psychology communities, and that quote is this:
“You don’t have to suffer to show suffering.” – David Lynch
After much experience with small pockets of society that indulge in some of the darker sides of life, I’m eager to share my insight through the guise of my characters. If you’re like me – an individual fascinated by humanity, the stories we tell and their reflections of the good and sometimes inconceivably bad elements of human nature, then this book is for you.
In the pages of this novel, nothing is censored. In this story, we follow Xavier Andrieu on his life after winning the Kinsley award in literature; an award given only to the most essential creators of his time. But for a man who views the world through a glass veil, the news of his success only propels him further into his nihilistic view of the world. Incapable of feeling anything at all, he thrusts himself into a path of blinding destruction, indulging in the most gruesome forms of violence with a man who reminds him of his first love, Amelia.
Compulsions reads unlike any other horror novel, with a glassy first person tone that represents Xavier’s cold, detached insanity and shines a light on his relationship between indifference and obsession.