I love to read. It has been such an important part of my life since I was a kid. The first grown-up novel I read was “The Hobbit”, by J. R. R. Tolkein, and it was after reading that book that I first wanted to become a writer. Even back then, though, my first attempt at a story of my own was of a haunted house. I wrote spooky poetry in elementary school, and I’d frequently borrow the same book on superstitions from my school library out of some strange curiosity about what scared people.
My first exposure to the horror genre was with Stephen King’s novel, “The Shining”.
I wasn’t more than ten or eleven years old, and I’d found the book at a church yard sale. That book frightened me so much that I had terrible nightmares. My mom was so upset over me being so scared by that story that she threw it away in the trash. Later on, my compulsion to relive the thrill of fear drove me to fish it out and re-read the scariest chapters again! After that, I was hooked – Horror and the Supernatural became my most beloved genres.
I’m continually seeking that old thrill, and I’m finding more and more that I just can’t find the right book, the one that will click with me and stir the chilling fear in me again. Perhaps getting older and living through life’s experiences dulls the imagination? Or maybe I just need to write the book I want to read, as I’ve heard several times before as advice given to writers.
In any case, I still read other author’s works, and I love it when I stumble on someone’s writing that brings back the spark of imagination for me. Lately, it has been from reading stories by Algernon Blackwood, who influenced the writing of H. P. Lovecraft, one of my most favorite authors of all time.
You can download his short stories for free in pdf format from this website.
So far I have read “The Wendigo” and “The Empty House”, the latter being a creepy-cool haunted house story, but probably not up to today’s standards of scariness. That’s okay with me though, since I still love the old Hammer films, and Vincent Price and Bela Lugosi movies. Additionally, I also enjoy modern ghost story movies like “The Conjuring” that came out this past summer.
Whatever you like to read, though, just find the time to do so – that’s my advice – even if you need to listen to audio books while you drive to work or while exercising. Fit in some time to let your mind paint pictures for you. Let the images form as the author takes you on a journey into his or her own creation of a different world and enjoy the change of perspective it brings (i.e. escape from reality) however brief it may be. You never know what passions you might find stirring within you.