Back in the Land of the Living
I was reading over some of those posts, and thinking about it and decided 'hey, why shouldn't my blog benefit from those posts?' So, exceedingly lazy though it is, I'm going to spend the next week or so copying some of those guest posts to this blog. I'll get newly creative after that. I hope you enjoy.
The first one I'll put up is the most recent, one I did for Halloween:
Halloween approaches! I'm afraid I notice it less and less each year, partly because my daughter is grown, but also because I spend so much time with monsters in my day-to-day job. In the books I write, in many ways, every day is Halloween.
Serial killers are always in costume, you see? They dress as 'normal people', practice their smiles in the mirror, and only show their true faces to their victims or those who catch them. Ted Bundy was not the most prolific serial killer we've ever seen, not by far, but he became famous in large part because he looked like 'us', not 'them.' He wore the face of our friend, our boyfriend, our brother, our husband, our father, our grandfather. They eyes, it seems, are not always reliable windows to the soul.
I'll relate two stories from my own life, in honor of Halloween, and to demonstrate my point. One of the stories is funny (at least I thought it was), while the other still gives me the smallest shiver.
Some years back, after I sold my books and we bought a house, my next door neighbors found out that I wrote fiction books about serial killers. They immediately cooled towards us, which amazed me. They judged me because I thought about the subject at all, which I thought was vaguely superstitious and incredibly naive.
One Halloween, they tried to be nice. We met across the driveway and admired the weather, and then they asked me what costume I was planning to wear.
I gave them my best 'ain't it a great day' smile and said: "I'm already in costume. I'm planning to be a serial killer."
I thought it was hilarious. They did not. I don't think we ever really spoke again.
Some years back (farther back this time) I called up a business to order some of their products and got the wife of the business owner on the phone. One thing led to another (I have my chatty moments) and she ended up crying over the phone, telling me about how someone had come into their home at night a few months back and shot her husband in the head. He'd died, and she'd been left alone to raise their daughter and to try and run their business. She cried and cried. Eventually the tears petered off and she apologized for them. I told her, of course, that it was no problem. I admired her for her strength and sympathized with her loss.
It was almost twelve months later that she went to prison. It had been she, you see, who'd shot her husband dead. All those tears, the heart rending sobs, they'd all been an act. She was watching us carefully through her tears.
My point in the end? Don't be too scared, this Halloween, of the monsters in the masks. The real ones wear blue jeans and business suits and look like us.
Perhaps you'll meet one at your door as he takes his children around to get their candy.