How WIHM Saved This Final Girl…
As a young girl, I didn't dream of becoming a metaphorical Final Girl.
I wanted to be Morticia Addams. I wanted to stay home in my creepy manse, waltz with my infatuated husband, snip the buds off roses, feed my carnivorous plant, and look fierce in a tight dress.
I got the stay home part right. Because I work long hours and have a family, any hour not logged into academia, or my now grown children, or my house chores, is spent TRYING to write. At home. Away from interesting people. And as any writer can confirm, trying to write is a task that is easier said than done. Trying to write is decidedly different from actual writing. Trying to write involves beating up on oneself, along with wailing and the rending of clothes. There are many things that stand between me and my imagination. Virginia Woolf was spot on with her “room of one’s own” assessment. In 2017, my male counterparts have responsibilities and distractions of their own, but there is still something to be said for being a woman and a writer. Many days, I find myself longing more for a wife than for a room. And I don’t want a Morticia Addams type wife (as much as I idolize her).
Which brings me back to my childhood fantasy and how different my life turned out to be. My creepy manse is more on the rickety side of suburban style. I am unable to waltz due to cats and dogs underfoot. No time for gardening, let alone dealing with debauched plants. And my standard pajamas and bathrobe inhabit a galaxy so far away from fierce that a Hubble telescope could not link the two disparate styles.
Writing is not glamorous and it is often lonely. It is the stalker/killer in my Final Girl metaphor. It is the trauma that those of us compelled to write cannot avoid. It keeps us from a fully developed social life; it sets us apart, and not always in a good way. As a woman who has written horror stories since my pre-literacy days (some of us remember forcing our parents and other adults to act as personal scribes), it is also something full of stereotypes and assumptions. Ironically, one of those assumptions is that my home life echoes that of Morticia Addams as opposed to what I have already described.
I could go on to extend the Final Girl metaphor: pen/pencil as phallic weaponry, co-writers "picked off" by changing genres, but I hate when metaphors are overly abused. The point, the true point, is that I am a Final Girl, isolated and introverted--at times happy with that situation, sometimes not so much.
The saving grace: other writers. One would assume that there is a high level of competition especially between writers who share a genre. I have been fortunate to find the opposite to be true. Some of the nicest people I have ever met are horror writers. Go to any convention or book reading and find out for yourself. I have become nestled into a truly supportive community amongst horror writers. We share market news, publicity ideas, joys and sorrows. My friendly horror writers are the cavalry (police officers?) that show up to rescue the Final Girl.
Other writers are the saviors, but what really puts the slasher/monster to rest, avoiding all sequels, is Women in Horror Month (WIHM). On the loneliest of nights, I remind myself, "February is coming."
I am not going to lie, part of the joy of the month is receiving recognition. It is wonderful to be a part of a WIHM magazine, or blog, or event. The publicity is always welcome. But what I have found myself most looking forward to is the much needed reminder to applaud the work of others.
This February is the 8th WIHM, and I began chirping about it on social media way back in July. That is because I can remember many, many years without a WIHM. I can remember many, many years of wondering if the compulsion to write is a crazy one--one that could possibly benefit from medication.
WIHM allows us to link arms with our sisters. We celebrate each other. We don the hat of publicist and work to stir up chatter. In a culture that often pits women against each other, this camaraderie feels sacred.
In that spirit, here are some writers, programs and events I would like to celebrate this year for WIHM:
Siren's Call 5th Annual WIHM ezine issue. This is always an eclectic and interesting issue that is downloaded by the masses. It will become available in February--check sirenscallpublications.com to download a free copy. There is no place more fitting to house an ezine dedicated to WIHM than Sirens Call. They have an inclusive sensibility and are so generous in their promotion of new and established writers. Past issues have kept me thoroughly entertained during my snowed in/power bereft Februaries!
Anything brewing in Mercedes M. Yardley's brain. She is one of my favorite contemporary writers of any genre. Check out her author’s page: https://www.amazon.com/Mercedes-M.-Yardley/e/B006B9MFA2/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1484314891&sr=8-2-ent and read something!
Nancy Kilpatrick has a new novel coming out: Revenge of the Vampir King. Nancy is a horror expert: a wonderful writer, editor, researcher. She is also someone who embraces the ideals of WIHM. She is truly supportive of other writers. The novel is available on Amazon.com as an ebook, with the print book becoming available in April. In order to wet appetites, here is the back cover blurb:
Vampires and humans are at war!
Moarte, King of the Vampirii, is a prisoner of his Sapiens enemy. The beautiful Sapiens Princess Valada, believing that Moarte killed her mother, tortures him, even to the point of breaking the bones in his wings so he cannot escape. She intends to incinerate him to ash in sunlight, but Moarte escapes.
Moarte hungers for revenge. When, through an act of betrayal, Valada is captured by the vampirii, his first instinct is to drain her blood and annihilate her. But he realizes he can get revenge in other ways, using her as a tool to gain the upper hand in this conflict. But who is manipulating whom? Both want revenge, and control of the other, and Moarte wants to drink Valada's blood. Dark desires lead down a path neither had envisioned, a threatening spiral that can destroy empires.
Hunter and hunted change places again and again in this novel of twisted, violent passions. Seeds of deception are sown amidst love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, obsession and indifference, in an erotic tale of warring races, foes since the beginning of time, and two unlikely adversaries aligning to battle a common enemy.
Theresa Derwin is creating a website for WIH research. Theresa is an accomplished writer and editor, and I am looking forward to the finished product. People interested in signing up for the site will be eligible to win horror books and ebooks. You can contact Theresa through the website: http://terror-tree.co.uk/
Please take a moment to check out the many events that are specific to WIHM: http://www.womeninhorrormonth.com/events/
Elaine Pascale had been writing her entire life. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband, son and daughter. Her writing has been published in magazines and anthologies. She is the author of the soon to be released Blood Lights, and If Nothing Else, Eve, We’ve Enjoyed the Fruit. Elaine enjoys a robust full moon, chocolate, and collecting cats. Find out more at elainepascale.com, https://www.amazon.com/Elaine-Pascale/e/B003MRXUCS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0, or https://twitter.com/doclaney, or https://www.facebook.com/elaine.pascale