I’m introducing my wife to the ghostly glory that is Mike Mendez’s “The Gravedancers.” She’s painting the next in her series of modern demon skulls. We’re a few drinks in. It’s Monday. This is to be expected.
We’ve both had shit days. I’ve been dealing with Federal programs (how do people abuse or “work” the system when I can’t even fucking get into it?) all day, and swallowing my rage at bureaucracy gone mad. Hannah, as she often does, has spent her work day fixing mistakes that others have made, mistakes that shouldn’t have been made to begin with. She should know. She wrote the training manual, and she’s not even a real employee! She’s been a temp with the same company for almost three years.
So, why not? A great ghost story (hmmm… do I follow this up with “Poltergeist” or “The Fog?”), some delicious ice cold vodka and artistic pursuits. All of this to help us forget about our shitty Mondays… and, for me, the fact that my ginormous new Projekt, the one I will probably spend the rest of my life working on, launches tomorrow.
It’s 7:51 PM. Let the jitters begin.
See, the Elders Keep Projekt, as it exists within my head, is so big and scary and fun that I don’t know how you could be a horror fan and not love it. A new short story every month until November, and November is when the novel length anthology comes out, all with recurring characters, interconnecting plotlines and four novels planned out for later? That’s a promise of entertainment at a very reasonable price. If you jump in, you’re going to have ablast with the Projekt… and with me. I’m a fun guy. You want to hang out with me for a few years, right?
Good, because I’m also curious to see how word of mouth works across the Internet. I guess that would be would be more correctly termed, “word of mouse.” It’s interesting for me. I like stats. I’m a stats guy. I suppose the stats are what tells the tale. I want to see how many downloads I get. I want to see what kind of Twitter and Facebook activity the story generates. I want to see what happens next month, when the second story comes out and I charge for it. Free is one thing; ninety-nine cents, especially in this economy, is quite another. The anthology will run you even more.
I’ve never been good at closing the sale, especially when it involved something important to me. I’m curious to see how my inner businessman co-habitates and works along with my inner artist. I imagine it will be a little bit like Andy Warhol trying to finger-bang a Sumatran rat monkey. If nothing else, that should be fun to watch.
I’ll be honest with you, Loyal Fanbase, and tell you the dark secret fear that resides within my heart. That is the fear that I’m going to work and push and infuse this thing with as much love and guts and talent and blood as I have… and no one is going to give a shit. Every writer has that little blade in their belly. No matter how successful one is, I have to believe no one is immune to that worry. You want people to like you, right? You would be sad if nobody liked your work, right?
Pay attention, kids. This is valuable insight into the heart and soul of the working writer.
It’s 9:10 PM. I decided to go with “Alien vs. Predator: Requiem” as the second part of our double bill. Don’t look for logic in this decision.
If I could hold your hand, I’d lick it, like a puppy. That’s how torn up I am right now. That’s how much I want you to like me at this precise moment. It’s a terrible thing. There’s definitely a sick sort of desperation in my laugh. It’s like being in high school again. That need to be liked, coupled with that masochistic “look what I did” desire, mean I’m a bit of a dweeb. And maybe a little sad. But that need is there, and I’m not cool enough to deny it. I may never write of it again. I may spend the rest of my career being the bad-ass, thick-skinned macho horror writer who can outdrink and outsmoke you all. I’m not even saying that’s not true right now. I probably can outdrink and outsmoke you all.
RIght now, though, I don’t want to.
I want you to read my story. I want you to encourage other people to read it. I want you to join me on this journey into myth and fear and humor that has been living in my head for so long. I want you to talk to me. I envision there being a whole community built around this little fictional community I’ve built and… well, you know the tune.
I want to succeed. Who doesn’t? And that, to a large degree, depends on you.
No pressure, on either of us.
The gates to the Keep will open soon, and this kind of worrying and wanking will be pointless, over and done. I hope you enjoy the world I am creating for you. Now, let’s be true to the DIY spirit we were brought up with and FUCK SOME SHIT UP.