Tag Archives: dark

Lights Out, Everybody

[I typed this up, in response to Chuck Wendig’s request for creepypasta stories, and I though I’d share with ya’ll. This happened to me, and it is 100% true.]

I was probably 14 when I first read The Amityville Horror, and since I was a good deal more gullible in those days it didn’t even occur to me to think the events described in the book might not be true. I was entranced by the story and stayed up late into the night to finish.

By the time I was done everyone else in the house had long since been asleep I was really freaked out by the story, but it was late and I knew I needed to try to get some sleep. I stood up out of bed and pulled the chain to turn off the overhead light, and then got into bed and turned off my bedside lamp.

For a while I just lay there in bed, still totally freaked out thinking about ghosts and demons and whatnot. I won’t say I felt a presence in the room, but my sense of fear was almost tangible and the feeling started to grow in my gut, that I need light, I need light, I need light, I NEED LIGHT RIGHT NOW!

I went to switch on my bedside lamp, only when I did, I saw a flash of light and heard the worst possible sound imaginable, the “ping” of a filament giving out and I was plunged back into darkness. By then I was really scared, stomach churning, heart pounding, and I literally jumped out of bed, grasping for the chain that would turn on the light. The fan chain and light chain got twisted up together, and I’m yanking on them both, over and over, and my heart is about to explode in my chest, because I need light. Finally some tiny sliver of rational thought in my brain realized that the light wasn’t going to come on this way, so I ran out into the kitchen and turned that light on without incident.

I sat there for a while, forcing myself to take deep breaths, bringing myself back down to earth. Finally I worked up enough courage to go back into my room and see what was wrong with the lights. I took a flashlight with me, but as I walked into the room, I reflexively flipped the switch by the door and the lights came on just fine. I was reassured, but just for a second, because I realized that I hadn’t turned the light switch off; I know I pulled the chain to kill the lights. And everyone else in the house had been asleep for at least an hour, so there was no way anyone could have flipped that switch.

Needless to say, I slept with the lights on for the rest of the night.

Where Have All the Good (Young) Men Gone?

I don’t know if you’ve heard it yet, but there’s been something of a buzz going around the internet about YA books lately.

(Apparently YA stands for “Young Adult”, and not “Yankee Angler” as I had previously supposed. This might explain why my previous attempts at writing YA literature failed so miserably.)

The buzz started as a low thrumming sound surrounding this article published by the Wall Street Journal which implied that maybe YA books had become too dark over the past few years. The buzz increased to a cacophony when Chuck Wendig released his tiny leather winged minions to roam the Twitterverse with his message of “Hey, adolescence is very likely going to be the darkest time of these kids lives, why shouldn’t their books reflect that?”

For what it’s worth I’m sort of in the middle on this issue. I think that writers should be able to write what they want to write and parents should be able to draw the boundary lines for their children and have the intestinal fortitude to enforce those lines. Stop trying to get the school to do your dirty work for you, parents (a mantra that applies to far more than this.)

But that’s not what I want to talk to you about today. I think in all of this hullabaloo about darkness in YA we’re missing a far more vital problem.

This problem can be summed up in this one picture:

Look at that picture. Look at it long and hard.

This is a picture I took of the book nook at the Wal-Mart where I work. This is the entirety of the YA section. This is the place where Wal-Mart consolidates all of the most popular books in the nation into one tiny little microcosm of the book selling industry.

Notice anything strange?

Not yet?

Keep looking….there! See it?

There’s no books for dudes! Not one!

Now I’m not saying this is Wal-Mart’s fault. They’re just buying the books that are big sellers. But what’s up with this? Why aren’t my slightly younger brethren sinking their teeth into daring accounts of manly exploits in fantastic places with the same ferocity as the females our the species seem to bestow on brooding tales of dark romance with forbidden creatures?

Have all the men migrated to their game consoles to control space marines with their thumbs, leaving behind the kinds of stories with “words” and “pages” to be completely overrun by the fairer sex? I don’t know. And frankly maybe this isn’t a new phenomenon. But it doesn’t seem like so long ago, that Harry Potter (Harry not being short for Harriett in this case) enchanted the world with his wizardly exploits.

I’m not trying to be sexist here, but the inequality of the situation astounds me. Because if guys aren’t reading when they’re young, then what’s the likelihood they’re going to start later?

I don’t have the answers. Maybe you do. Please to leave a comment and enlighten me with your wisdom.