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My mind is a whirlwind of thoughts and imagination. A simple raindrop, the smell of a trash heap, or the touch of a bee's stinger is enough to immerse me into a new story idea. My passion is writing and my inspiration is everywhere. So far, my focus has been in short stories, however I have many novels floating around in my brain. Recently I have also been handed the opportunity to review the works of others and share them with everyone that reads my blog. Feel free to find me on facebook (facebook.com/esselprattwriting) the web (EsselPratt.com)or follow me on twitter (@EsselPratt).

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Phobias, Fears, and Drowning in Tears

Phobias... everybody claims to have at least one.  Mine, for example, is the fear of spiders.  Constantly, they stalk me with their tiny eight legs, pairs of puncturing fangs, and beady little eyes.

Just last summer, I was confronted by on of my little arch nemesis' as he emerged from under the stove.  Me with bare feet, him staring at me while standing on his four back legs, the others taunting me as he held them above his head.  Squishing him with my bare feet was not an option, so I left him be.  Satisfied with my defeat, he scurried back under the stove to share his triumph with his little spider friends.  What he did not know is that I would be back with a poisonous spray to end his reign as champion.

Although arachnophobia is one of the most common phobias, there are countless others out there.  And, although many are just as scary as spiders, to the person suffering they could seem even more deadly.  Some phobias may seem just plain silly, such as turophobia (the fear of cheese), but they are still serious to those suffering.

I have always found it odd that we sometimes classify our insecurities as phobias and hide behind them as though we are not hateful.  For example, let's look at Homophobia.  Now, I am sure that there are some legitimate people out there that fear homosexuals.  I mean, there are people that fear cheese, so I can believe this.  However, too many people that show hate towards the LGBT community classify themselves as homophobic, when in reality they are not... they are just hateful, or have an extreme misunderstanding towards the culture.  These people are not to be confused with those that just do not agree with or accept the lifestyle.  That is their opinion, and they are entitled to it.

So, if there is a blurred line between an actual phobia and not liking something, how are we to know the difference.  The simple test would be to confront the subject with that which they claim to fear.  If they run away in tears, it is obviously a phobia.  However, it is not always appropriate to do so.  For example, I would never place a young girl in a room full of happy clowns to test her fear of them.  I think I would just take her word for it.

Do we really need to know the difference between phobia and a strong dislike/hate?  Honestly, I don't think so.  Too often, we are quick to label someone/thing because we do not understand them/it.  Instead of calling me an arachnophobic, let's just say I hate spiders.  I do not fear them enough to run from a picture, video, or toy.  I am not afraid to stomp on a real one, assuming I am wearing proper footwear.  I just hate them and they hate me.  So, until I am officially and medically diagnosed with arachnophobia, I cannot say that I have it.  The only time I think it would be appropriate to distinguish a phobia from a strong dislike/hate, is when it is taken to the extreme by the sufferer.  If the fear is too extreme, they may need appropriate medication to live healthy life.

Many times, those that claim to have phobias seem to find a strange source of enjoyment in confronting their fears in the form of books, movies, and videos.  For example, I know people that claim to have a phobia of clowns, but enjoy movies such as Killer Clowns From Outer Space.  Or those afraid of spiders watching the video above.  I think  this is why I love the horror genre.  Anything can be made into something scary, you just have to play on people's fears, and those people that fear it will come out in droves to watch.  Why?  Because they know that they are safe within their homes/theaters.

Some phobias bring their sufferers to tears, and force them to stay within the confines of their homes.  Phobias such as menophobia, maniaphobia, levophobia, kolpophobia, and medectophobia seem to be silly reasons to stay at home, hiding from the world.  These are phobias that are hard to justify as just being something the sufferers hate, but can really cause someone to experience high anxiety and nervous breakdowns.

Phobias are real, but hate is just as real.  Although a world filled with hate is poisonous, I wish people would stop hiding behind phobias and admit their hate.  The dialogue that would open is just what we need to reach a common ground, and begin the process of healing our world from the mental harm our hate has branded us with.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

NEW HORROR GRAPHIC NOVEL/COMIC SERIES: EVIL JESTER


Since Childhood, I have fostered a deep passion for comic books. They were an escape from the perils of everyday life. Somewhere down the line I manifested a deep satisfaction for horror as well.  When I discovered that the two could not only copulate, but also manifest an utterly perfect child born of their lust...I was hooked.

The visual horror portrayed in comic form is uniquely beautiful and something that a movie cannot seem to fully capture.  A movie tends to show you all the gore and presents an adequate amount of jump scares.  However, a horror comic gives just enough detail to tickle your imagination.  It allows your mind to absorb the images on the pages and twist them to play with your fears.

When I first heard that The Evil Jester Press was expanding into comics, I was intrigued.  I have a lot of respect for the Evil Jester and his underlings, and knew it would be a perfect fit.  So, as any aspiring writer would do, I quickly wrote a last minute short story (Because I was a little slow and only found out about it a couple of days before the deadline), and submitted it for a chance to be involved in the project.  I don't really expect to be accepted, although I REALLY want to be, because my story was rushed.  I think it had some nice visuals that could be translated well into comic form, however it was definitely not my best work.

Even though there is a chance I may not be selected, I feel that this project is destined for greatness, and want to show my support.  So, to all my comic/horror loving friends, please take a moment to visit the Evil Jester Presents Kickstarter Page.  For as little as $5.00, you can enjoy in supporter perks.  Even if you can't pledge $5.00, maybe you can spare $1.00?  Another fantastic way to contribute to the cause is to share the Kickstarter page with all of your friends!
 

If you are still not convinced, check out the frightfully amazing authors already chosen for the publication:


GARY BRAUNBECK. Horror icon and winner of both the Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild Award.

RAMSEY CAMPBELL. The most honored writer in the horror industry and often called "Britain's most respected living horror writer."

JACK KETCHUM. Multiple award-winning author who Stephen King calls "The Scariest Guy in America."

JONATHAN MABERRY. New York Times Bestselling author and renowned comic book writer for Marvel comics.

JOE McKINNEY. Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the critically and commercially successful Dead World series.

WILLIAM F. NOLAN. Legendary author of the Logan's Run series with over 80 books to his credit.

Whether you are a fan of comics, horror, books, art, or just a good story, this is a fantastic project to support. As of now, they are $2,421 into their goal of $15,000 with only nineteen days remaining. I have a feeling that they will meet, and possibly exceed their goal, but urge you not to wait until the last minute to show your support.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Equality: Heaven and Hell, Yin and Yang...

Equality.

What is it?  Is it real?  Is it attainable?  Why should we care?

Equality is right up there with world peace, in my opinion.  It is something that the majority of the world wants, yet resists.  As a judgmental society, true equality may never be accepted, but if we do not give it a chance we will never know for sure.

Equality is like a poorly cared for double edged sword.  One side is razor sharp and ready to cut through the BS of life's ignorance.  The other is Dull and chipped, not very useful at all and seems to only cause more damage than accomplish the task at hand, in a sense splashing the bullshit onto others rather than neatly slicing through.

Equality is essential for progress, peace, love, and our continued existence.  It doesn't matter what your beliefs, and how you show your acceptance of equality, as long as you treat others as human beings.  Too often we confuse equality for compassion.  I believe they are two different things.  We show compassion when an event occurs that brings another down.  For example, a stranger's house catches fire.  We show compassion because we feel bad for the situation, and want to help.  However, if that person is poor, and we are wealthy, we might not treat that person as an equal due to their social status.

Galatians 3:28 says: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 

Now, I must admit that I am not a religious man, nor do I read the bible regularly, but that passage seems pretty clear to me.  In the eyes of Jesus, we are all equal regardless of religion, social status, or sexuality. To me, it is clear from that single passage in the bible that Equality is real.

So, why is it that so many religious zealots refuse to accept those that are so different form themselves?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Georgia Infant Killed by 10-15 year Olds...

I am beyond upset right now.

I was just reading a story on my local news web site about a 1-year old boy that was killed in his stroller, with his mother right there, by two boys between the ages of 10-15.  As a writer of horror, this is a story that I would never dream of writing, yet real life has decided to grace us with this atrocity.

The two young boys apparently approached the Mother and child as she was walking near her home.  The young boys approached her and demanded money.  She told the boys that she did not have any.  She attempted to shield her child from the guns, but one of the boys pushed her away, and shot the baby boy right in the head.  The mother was also shot in the leg.

I cannot fathom something like this happening to one of my children.  How this innocent child's Mother and Father feel, I will never know.  But I can feel anger towards the attackers, and even more so towards the parents of those attackers.

Now, there are quite a few people out there that will cry out against the gun manufacturers, the Video Game Industry, the Music Industry, and everything else that could possibly be blamed for the violence that these horrible boys initiated.  But I am upset at the parents.  Where were they?  Did they know their son's had the guns?  Did they set a good example for their children, and treat them good from bad?  If so, where did they go wrong?

You see, These boys will be caught and become wards of the system.  Whether or not they learn from their mistakes is up to them, and I hope they do.  However, if the parents (or legal guardians) did their jobs, I do not believe this would have happened.

So many children are ignored as parents live their own lives.  Children become an inconvenience.  They are an extra mouth to feed, extra baggage when they want to part, etc... too many times an unwanted responsibility.  In my opinion, if these kids are caught, then the parents should be investigated extensively for their role as parents, and be charged with murder alongside their children if they are found to be unfit and neglectful.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Creativity is Flowing!

Lately, I have been writing a lot, and that is a good thing.  There is nothing more relaxing that sitting in front of my computer allowing thoughts from my brain bleed into the words on the screen.  The problem, though, is that focus on my goal insists on getting sidetracked.

For example, I wrote a short story a while ago that I wanted to submit for publication in an anthology.  Unfortunately, I did not have an anthology in mind.  As I browsed the internet, i could not find anything that fit the Sci-Fi/Dystopian theme...  However, I did find five open anthologies that I really want to write, and submit, something for.

As I write for the first one, I found that I was not writing a short story, but instead the first chapter of a book I have been putting off!  I cold make the first chapter work for the short story, and keep the readers wanting more, but do I want to?  Should I just continue with the book and start something new for the Anthology?  I think that I will, I just need to think it over a bit.

I did find a few magazines that I submitted my Sci-Fi/Dystopian short to, and hope to hear something back soon.  I also submitted a children's story, that I submitted as my #9 assignment to the Children's Institute of Literature class, to four different magazines for review.  I will keep everyone posted on both stories as I receive feedback.

Speaking of the Children's Institute of Literature, I am starting my last assignment for the class and decided to start a book for the final assignment.  In fact, I think that I will use the book that I started writing in place of the Anthology submission.  Originally, it was going to be an adult book with a subtle hint of zombies in it (I know, zombies are so cliche now, but mine is a bit different) but I found that I can easily transition it to a Young Adult novel.  For the assignment, I need to have the first three chapters completed, and I think that I can accomplish that easily.  I will keep you updated on this project also.

2012/2013 has been very good to me as a writer.  I am now published in four anthologies (2 will be released within the next month or two), I have two more that I should hear back from within a month or two, and still two more that I just submitted to magazines on Monday.  Now, If I can finish the five anthology submissions, I will be very happy.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I've Been Golem'd

As some of you are aware, I not only write horror/sci-fi, but I also write for Nerdzy.com and Infendo.com.  Both sites are video game-centric, and Infendo leans heavily towards Nintendo products.

Today I posted an article, with credit given to Kotaku, about a new Pokemon game that is currently being developed by 4Chan's /vp/ board.  Sadly, I seem to have upset a user of that board.

I received an email notification that a commentor, identifying himself only as "FAGGOT" (I found it weird that he would use a derogatory term for him/herself) found it necessary to say the following:

"The fuck do you think you’re doing? we don’t want this kind of publicity you douchenozzle.
Don’t make me golem your shit
I’ll do it
I’ll golem the shit out of your shit"


I was working, so I was not able to see the email notification right away.  My lack of response must have upset him, so within twenty minutes of the first post, I received a second message with the above picture attached.

"I tolja I’d golem your shit nuttlecakes
I tolja I’d golem it
you brought this upon yourself"

Now, I have participated in my share of trolling in my day, but I have never stooped so low to golem someone.  I have to admit, I did get quite a laugh about the two comments, and the picture, but wonder why little ole' me was singled out instead of the monstrous entity known as Kotaku, whom inspired me to write the article.

Obviously, the person that sent the message did not use a real/traceable email address.  However, their IP address does point to Canada.

I actually have a lot of respect for sites such as 4Chan .  They have created a form of expression that would not normally be featured in a more public forum.  The result has been some really fantastic content.  Of course, with the good comes the bad.  I don't look at this commentor's reaction as bad though.  He/She took the time to single me, a small time writer, out.  He could have set out to attack Kotaku with all he'she had, but instead chose me.  So, anonymous fan...I thank you!




Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Inspirational Conversations Fueled By Hatred and Disgust

Much like the specter to the left, I find myself staring into the dark abyss of my mind, watching the iridescent hues prance within the void of my thoughts.  Sometimes I become lost within the nonsensical labyrinth of wonders and queries, yet always seem to find my way back.

Recently, I have contemplated humanity and their role in the world.  Are we really the Apex predators, or instead the buffet of the mystic?  If we are to find our throne at the summit of the food chain, why must we continue to follow prophets that preach of equality, yet subliminally divide us by social status?

Faith is not a bad concept, in fact I urge everyone to find a faith that represents their core beliefs, and use it as a crutch to make themselves a better person.  However, I would discourage upgrading the crutch to a suit of armor ready for battle.  No one wins in a battle...no one.

Recently I had a short conversation with a man terminally consumed by homophobia.  I am a happily married man with children, and have never even thought of being with another man.  The man I spoke to seemed to also be married with children.  The difference?  He used his "faith" in god to persuade others in the sins of homosexuality.  I on the other hand feel that as long as you are happy, why should it matter.  It isn't contagious, and no one is getting hurt in the process.  I teach my children to treat everyone with respect, regardless of who they are.  Not to hate them for their differences.

Now, this man (who will remain unidentified) claimed that God says, in the Bible, that homosexuality is of the highest sin.  I guess Love thy neighbor doesn't apply if you disagree with their lifestyle.  Might my questioning of religious deities be enhanced by the oxymoronish ramblings of the Sheeple followers like this man?  Or should I write it off as though he is molesting his religion to the point of bending it to support his views?

Religion, as a whole, has not found comfort within my soul.  So many religions, so many views, so many contradictions  yet all claim to be Supreme to all others.  Sure, I have my beliefs and work hard to keep them within me, working in unison to guide me in the right direction.  I don't discriminate against races, lifestyle choices, the Gods you worship, or the cause you support.  I do, however, become upset when someone uses their "faith" to publicly condemn someone, or some people, because their beliefs do not match (this includes extreme atheists hellbent on proving others wrong).

If reading/writing horror has taught me anything, it is that everyone is equal when it come being consumed by evil.  No one is safe from the chainsaws, claws, chains, or butcher knives, even the devilish entity itself.  So rather than point out the differences between one another, why cannot we work together to abolish the evil that plagues our race (yes we are all Homo-sapiens) and find comfort in knowing that we are protected by another human, instead of hiding behind a religious shield?

As a society, we have become nothing more than mindless zombies strung along by the omnipotent puppeteer in the sky, tugging at those strings every chance we get to feel as though we are actually selecting our own paths.  Instead, the internal battle overcomes us as we become that which we are attempting to destroy....evil.



The man I spoke to may feel that he is spreading God's will by demonizing homosexuality, however, he has unknowingly accepted the devil in his heart, resulting in the fertilization of repugnance instead.  I don't hate that man for his ignorance to the maleficence he is cultivating , instead I pray, in my own non-religious way, that he will someday receive the purification enema that his soul craves, yet is denied by his nefariously controlled heart.

In retrospect though, I would like to thank that man for giving me an idea for another short story.  Even evil can be inspirational at times...


"The heart may be weak, and sometimes it may even give in.  But I've learned that deep down there's a light that never goes out.  I know, without a doubt, Kingdom Hearts...is light!"