On Having Something to Say
And Why You Should Say It
I spent most of this week getting back into the swing of things. In addition to coming home from last weekend’s amazing writing retreat, the kiddos are back in school/daycare after winter break. Work was slow, so theoretically, I had a lot of time on my hands, but for whatever reason I didn’t get a whole lot done. Slept on the couch on my lunch breaks. Listened to wrestling podcasts. Took care of our bearded dragon. Not much else.
Some weeks are just meant for getting through. I spent a lot of this week revising my personal goals.
Last year, I essentially threw writing on the backburner. I don’t remember if I ever made that public, but there it is. I won’t say why, except to say that this business can be a motherfucker sometimes—if you know, you know.
Going on that retreat really helped shift my perspective on all that, though. Something about actually sitting down and doing the work, putting one word in front of the other, with nothing else to worry about, reminded me just how damn important writing is to me.
I got shit to say, believe it or not, and I’ve got plenty in the tank left for me to say it in a compelling way.
Listen, sometimes what I need to say isn’t anything more aspirational than a snowbound pastiche of John Carpenter’s The Fog. Sometimes, it’s a goofy, apocalyptic dinosaur book. But other times, there’s something more. Gods of the Dark Web is a story about mid-2010s unease, the simmering horror that later boiled over in ways all too easy to see, even if you weren’t paying that close of attention. Shit too tedious for me to list here. Saint Sadist is more personal—a psychosexual nightmare imbued with twisted religious iconography and cultish madness.
And even if what I have to say doesn’t matter, I sure do enjoy saying it.
With that in mind, things picked up toward the end of the week. I read Barn Door to Hell from beginning to end, made some small changes, and sent it off to Shane McKenzie and Wrath James White so they could give me notes. I also started a short story for an anthology by an editor who was kind enough to invite me.
I know I said I was done accepting anthology invitations, but the concept for this specific anthology was too intriguing for me to pass up. Stay tuned for details.
Shane came over on Friday. We tried watching The Last Dragon (I’ve never seen it) on the projector. Things were going well for a bit, but my youngest needed to go to bed, so we tabled the screening for another time.
The Last Dragon is a movie that I’ve always been tangentially aware of. Kids on the playground and various coworkers over the years were always like, “Who is the master?!” and I just had to nod along and smile because I hadn’t seen it. It was fun to explore a movie that’s so imbued in our culture’s consciousness and even more fun knowing there are still such seminal works I have yet to see. I haven’t finished watching it yet because Shane says I’m not allowed to watch it without him.
It’s going to get extra cold here in Texas by the time you’re reading this newsletter. I hope none of us lose power. We’ve been through enough these past few winters.
Currently Reading: Transcendental Mutilation by Ryan Harding and All Smiles Until I Return by Aron Beauregard.
Currently Watching: Fool Me Once and Money Heist: Berlin, both on Netflix.
Fool Me Once is a mystery/thriller series based on the novel by Harlan Coben. I liked it, but I didn’t love it until the last couple of episodes when the twists started hitting. The reveal of the killer and how everything ends were truly unique. I was seriously impressed with how gutsy this show was with its finale.
Money Heist: Berlin is a prequel spinoff to heist show/soap opera/political thriller Money Heist. Revisiting this world and some of the characters was the entertaining antidote to winter blues I didn’t know I needed. So excited to keep watching.
Hunted Highways, featuring novellas from myself, Carver Pike, and Rowland Bercy Jr, is starting to garner its first reviews on TikTok, Instagram, and in various Facebook groups. It drops on January 26, but you can preorder it right here.
Fiction for the Cosmically Disturbed is the newsletter for family, friends, and readers of horror author Lucas Mangum. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.