Wednesday 5 May 2010

Primal Scream Blog Fest - Plus a little piece of "me"

I don't write horror, Raquel, so this is about as heart pumping as it is gonna get. On a side note, it's been days since I've put the essence of my own being into this blog and I feel a little lost. With all these blog fests, contests, A-Z challenge reflections, "I" have been hiding in a corner of my brain, hypothetically listening to albums which shaped my own music style, and watching my detached hand post on my blog, all from above, it seems. So, instead of you just thinking that this blog fest post, is just "another" blog fest post, I am going to admit something personal which may conjure up a little intrigue. Although this scene is in my novel, it is based on a personal experience. It doesn't happen 'exactly' like it does here, but it's quite similar. Um ... yeah, I also wanted to ask you: How often do you draw from personal experience when you write? So anyway - here is my entry:

“Get up!” she screeched, yanking on my hair.

“Owww!” I was confused. I thought the pain on my scalp was the onset of a migraine, for a spilt second.

I half awoke and looked at her, and from a half-squinted eye saw her dark silhouette surrounded, like a noir femme fatale, in gleaming sunlight from the kitchen window behind her. Her shoulder-length fiery red hennaed hair may as well have been blowing in the wind like a Charlie’s Angel. As she lifted her cigarette to her mouth in what seemed to be video-clip slow motion, she enamored her face with smoke as she let it slowly ooze from her nostrils. The beam of sunlight filled with cigarette smoke, and I watched it float above my bed in beautiful patterns.

“Get up, I have to go to the supermarket.”

“And why do I have to get up for you to go to the supermarket?”

“I need you to drive me.”

I had just gotten my license. My mum didn’t have one. Waiting for Dad to come home was just not justifiable. She was bordering on one of her crazy bipolar rages and nothing could stop it.

“I’m on holiday. Can’t you let me sleep?”

“Get up NOW, you selfish little bitch!” And with that she dragged me out of bed by my hair, twisting and flinging my head around as if tenderizing an octopus. I was on the floor kicking and screaming before the pain got the better of me.

Unable to stand up in fear of being hurt some more, I flung my arm against her shins as hard as I could and crawled along the carpet and out of my bedroom door. I locked her in. Fear shot through me at the thought of what she would do to me when I let her out. I heard my own heart beating over the sound of all my belongings being smashed or wiped from my shelves onto the floor. She was screaming so hysterically that her words were incomprehensible. Everything went silent. I asked if she was okay, with my ear to the door, but she didn’t answer.

I sat and leaned my back against the door, contemplating going in. I noticed sunlight creep through the crack below. She was opening the blinds. After hearing her smash the window, I heard a sound like scratching wood along with a desperate groan. I found myself holding my breath, scared to move.

I observed my hand shaking as it opened the door. She stood with a piece of glass in her hand. Blood was smeared all over her face and through her hair. She stood as still as a mannequin, watching her mascara-tinted tears trickle down her cheeks in the wardrobe mirror. Above the mirror, in the wood of the wardrobe, she had used the piece of glass to engrave the word empty. Still looking at herself in the mirror, she said, “Look at me. I need to retouch my make-up.”

Don’t miss out on my contest! There a critiques by professional editors up for grabs!


  1. WOW I felt the intensity, this was insanely awesome!!! I loved it, and your last paragraph was brilliant!

  2. Nicely done.

    Tenderizing an octopus? LoL... Yep you're in Greece alright. It's one of those bits of cooking voodoo that varies from country to country... One that doesn't actually make much of a difference.
    In Greece they beat the creature against the rocks or a cutting board, as I recall... In Spain they blanch it three times in a copper pot... Right sorry getting off track.
    As i was saying, nice piece! I don't know if it's horror, but potentially real life situations can be horrible enough.

  3. Wow. That's intense and knowing it's based on a real experience increases the impact.

    I do draw somewhat on real life experiences, but not for the main plots. For instance, the baby in my very first scene? She's based on a real baby that came to the ER. Only she didn't have a Mark around to save her. :-(

  4. I would say that ended up being a close contender for horror. I think humans are the more horrifying monsters.

    I keep thinking back to the lines you wrote before this glance into your writing, 'Although this scene is in my novel, it is based on a personal experience.'

    Those kind of personal experiences are fountains of endless supply, to keep the muse writing. I should know I tap into them quite often.

    Excellent piece of writing, I lived every word as I read. (Hugs)Indigo

  5. Wow what a crazy scene, very well written though. Your descriptions are just right, very sensory, but not too long.

    In my own writing I base things on my real life more than I care to admit. It does make it easier to get away with having less imagination than some though.

  6. Oh my goodness. That was crazy. I was holding my breath along with her. Intense.

  7. That was very well done. Totally captured me! I think the last line really drives it home, that casual remark about retouching make-up that's what I'd call maniacal brilliance.

  8. Intense and amazing writing without being over-the-top. It's that last, calm line that totally took my breath away. Chilling.

    I grew up with a bi-polar parent and I know it shapes the kind of stories that fall out of me. But when I've attempted to write directly about it, I get incredibly blocked. How do you sort out in any coherent way "I adored my crazy parent yet often resented and detested him"? I need to mature more as a writer to do justice to the complexity of the emotions, I guess.

  9. Wow! That last line was so perfect too. Very well played. All the entried are so impressive I may be very jumpy tonight...

  10. Johnny Depp in the latest rendition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:

    "Mommy. Mommy."

    Seriously. That's why I spent so much time in therapy. Thanks for reminding me!

    It's only 10:15AM here in Dallas, and I may need to step out for lunch and self-medicate, me and my brother.

    Get it?

    Well done. Exactly the quality I expect from AA.

    - Eric

  11. "I need to retouch my make-up.”

    AlliAllo ~
    Was that spoken in real life? Or did that come out of your own head?

    And, did you receive an Email I sent a couple of days ago? (No need to rush a reply. I just want to make sure you got it and don't mistakenly think I've ignored ya.)

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

  12. You are amazingly talented. I love your tenderizing an octopus. Yikes! The incongruous rage at a mundane task is so intense and rings quite true.

    Thank you so much for always, you delivered!

  13. That was awesome. You drew me in. More please!

    As far as drawing from my own experiences, yep. It's hard not to do so.

  14. Really well written! Nothing quite so terrifying as the unreasoning rage of a bipolar person and you captured that here. Good job.

  15. Jessica-I want to take your kid self into my house and protect you. I've had addicts in my life, but NOTHING like what you experienced with your mom. Powerful, TERRIFYING stuff. I'm so glad you have a channel to make it productive, because I think a less strong kid could have drowned in it. I'm crying. I mean I KNOW you said it isn't exact, but if ANY of it was accurate, you shouldn't have had to go through it, and I suspect an awful lot of it was.

    I use a lot of real settings and personalities, but not many real experiences. I mostly write suspense/conspiracy stuff, and my life just hasn't been THAT KIND of interesting.

  16. I know what they mean now when they say "Write what you know." Wow, the personal experience is so clear and makes this piece of work even more chilling.

  17. Very, very powerful. I wanted more too.

    Milt x

  18. Very, very powerful. I wanted more too.

    Milt x

  19. Wow. That was incredible. And deeply disturbing, as I suspect it was meant to be. Great job.

  20. This was very good - some serious emotions here (from the writing and from the reader). Great job!

  21. Frightening. Intense. Horrifying. Real. Powerful work. I don't know what else to say.

    In my writing I set up scenarios that require emotions with which I'm intimately familiar, but the scenarios are not from my life - I'm not brave enough for that.

  22. Jen: Thanks :)

    Alesa: LOL. that so was not supposed to make you laugh. LOL

    Candyland: Right back atcha!

    Mary: I thought it might. So that's why I said so. I wonder if I'd have gotten a different reaction if I hadn't said so?

    Indigo: Thank you so much. I'm always tapping into my own experiences when I write - even if it's just an emotion played out in an entirely differnt scenario.

    Matthew: Thanks matey!

    Rebecca: Thanks!

    A.GRey: Yes, I was quite proud of that when I came up with it! ;)

    Laurel: I think it took me quite a long time to come to terms with everything. My mother wasn't bipolar - in real life she was a drug addict but it affected her in a very similar way to how bipolar does - especially when she was withdrawing. I used to get extremely blocked, until one day I started writing about it in 'fiction' style, rather than reiterating what really happened to the T. Now I CAN write what really happened, but only after tapping into my ability to write without technically writing the truth. I think it's just a psychological thing in the beginning. It's like there's so so much you want to say and can't get it all out without stumbling over it and experienceing the feelings again - which is scary. Good luck with it!

    Mia: thank you :)

    Eric: Huh? LOL

    Stephen: nope, last line from my own head :)

    Raquel: thanks! I'll be round to yours shortly!

    Shannon: I'll give you more eventually! :)

    Angie: Thanks!

    Hart: It used to make me quite depressed, but I've got past that now. My mother and I have a really great relationship now (most of the time), and we've made amends. I'm so sorry to make you cry :(

    Catherine: Thanks!

    Milton: more to come, more to come :)

    Sarahjayne: Thank you!

    Jaydee: Thanks :)

    VR: Not brave enough? Ah pfft - I bet you are!

  23. Whoops! Falen, I missed you. Thanks! :)

  24. I draw on my own experiences all the time, whether it's places I've been, strangers I've observed.. I think all of us do that!

    Great piece, btw!

  25. Yes, sorry.

    I'm healthy and twisted that way... You know at the movie theater, the creepy person who laughs at the oddest times? That me! I try to be discrete about it... but sometimes it just bursts out.

    I guess tenderizing octopus didn't convey (for me) the violence it was meant to. I was stuck with the image of blue skies, turquoise waters, and an old lady slamming an octopus against the rocks because her grandma did the same... It was an incongruous image, which produced hilarity in me. : þ

    To answer your question about writing... On one level or another, I pretty much always draw from personal experience when I write. Unless of course it's academic/nonfiction/professional stuff.

  26. I think out of all the entries I read, this piece should win something hands down! You are soooo good at capturing authentic feelings and transferring them to such eloquent and powerful words! Damn you! Just kidding! Have a great weekend :)

  27. A tense read, thanks for sharing.
    I could visualise the woman smeared in blood, so well.

    (I had visions of the women in the village beating their evening meal)*smile*


“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin

“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney

“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch

“Probably what my comment meant was that I don't care about the circumstances if I can tell the truth.” ~Sally Kirkland

“We're not going to pay attention to the silliness and the petty comments. And quite frankly, women have joined me in this effort, and so it's not about appearances. It's about effectiveness.” ~Katherine Harris