My Alpha Male post is here.

This week’s topic in the Express Yourself Meme is:

List 5 favorite monsters throughout history.

1. As oversaturated as they are in books at the moment, I love the real, historic Vampyres. The evil kind, with a dangerous alluring undercurrent, not the sparkling kind going to high school and stalking Mary Sues. It seems like people have forgotten that real Vampyres are supposed to be really scary, evil creatures.

2. Loch Ness Monster, since I love cryptozoology and water.

3. Werewolves, since I love wolves and stories of feral children. It delves into so many “What if?” questions. And one of the themes of Steppenwolf, the book that most influenced my life, is that we all have a wolf-like part of ourselves deep inside, similar to the idea of the id or the reptilian brain.

4. Dragons, because dragons are cool, and not always dangerous. I still fondly remember Mr. Dragon of The Manhole, the classic Mac game from the makers of Myst. I was rather disappointed at the new incarnation of Mr. Dragon in the updated, color version of the game for CD-ROM and the iPhone. That whole game isn’t the same in color and with all the changes.

5. Ghouls, because I freaking love ghosts and stories of haunted graveyards, battlegrounds, hotels, and old houses. I even have occasional paranormal elements in my Atlantic City books in the form of (generally non-malevolent) ghosts.


I’m up to my junior year of high school (1996-97) in the October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge. Part of me wishes I could take that year, put it in a sealed, padlocked iron box, and throw it to the bottom of the ocean, but I know the memories will live as long as I do.

Long story short, my family ended up back in Pennsylvania and left New York on 20 August 1996. One day shy of seven years later, I would almost be killed. Yeah, that’s not exactly a happy anniversary for me. We were supposed to live in Pittsburgh, but things didn’t work out, and we ended up living with my paternal grandparents, while 99% of our stuff was in boxes in my other grandparents’ house while they were in Florida till the Spring. The only book I had was The Tao Te Ching, still one of my most special books. That book was one of the few things saving my sanity that year.

That was such a tense, frustrating, anguished, depressing time. I was so depressed at being so far away from everything and everyone I’d ever known and loved, and I began to feel like I were slowly spiraling into madness. In some ways, my new school was probably better for me than the first one, but I was too angry and depressed to really see that till much later on.

When my parents and brother moved to Massachusetts in April, I decided to remain with my grandparents for the rest of the school year. I’d already been screwed out of enough, and didn’t want to change schools a third time, just when I was really starting to feel like I belonged there and to really like the school. In mid-June, I drove up to Massachusetts with my other grandparents. I could’ve stayed for my senior year, but didn’t want to be there all alone for so long. Part of me wishes I had stayed, in retrospect.

Of course, in November ’96, I went back to my Russian novel, and got a huge amount of work done. The writing style and subjects of this middle period are very distinct to me when compared against the earliest material and what I wrote later.

And in July of ’96, I discovered two very special angels who were a shining light in the darkness that year. My love for Laurel and Hardy was forged in fire. I will never forget how these clown prince angels put their loving arms around my weeping heart when I most needed it. They’ve been my favorite comedians ever since, and I will love them till the breath leaves my body.

I really believe they went straight to Paradise when they left the material world. Words can never express what it meant to me to have them to look forward to every Saturday morning at 11:30 on AMC, and a few other times during the week. Stan and Ollie were truly two of the most special people ever created.

5 thoughts on “Monsters and Madness

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