Doing Nano this year because I can. One idea that’s sticking with me is this concept of the rustbelt gothic, an idea I toyed with before (but called post-industrial fantasy over at Behind the Wainscot). It was interesting seeing these posts on rustbelt gothic poetry. And it seems like they’re putting into words the same thoughts I was toying with- the idea of ruins of industrial complexes, ideas about haunted abandoned homes,  Woods obscuring everything, towns existing like they are nestled between autumn trees.

And in the distance a train howls. A world that already experienced an apocalypse.  I read somewhere that they wanted to film part of The Road around Erie, PA because it had the right “end of the world” look, and I can see that. It’s visible in every face.

Of course, I’ve explored this sort of thing before in lots of shortstories. Most of Glass Coffin Girls could be considered rustbelt gothic.  It’s interesting because we’re not talking about horror per se. It’s not. It may contain some supernatural, maybe. But it’s about a tone. It’s about how haunted the rust belt feels these days.

Musically it’s like the Swans are the soundtrack to this haunted landscape.

There is also maybe a mystery here. Or maybe something mysterious. I know I want to evoke powerful symbols. I want to draw on myths and folklore and push it inside. I want it to feel like a modern day gothic. The tone will be autumn and black dresses. The tone will be a man on fire in a burnt out shell. The tone will be whispers into mirrors. The tone will be the floating ghosts in the lake, calling you towards them.

I’m also thinking about my childhood here. I’m back in some small town and I remember going to the library every day and reading the Man, Myth & Magick series. I remember being pulled to those books. The symbols speaking to me. The concepts burning holes in my memories the shapes of these images.

I also remember watching Hammer Horror films on tv, and watching Folk Horror stuff, and I remember all of this on television.  Maybe Big Chuck and Little John?Or maybe it was Ghoulardi? I don’t know. I just remember these movies holding me in rapt attention and then later in life hunting them down, trying to find them.

And somehow this is all going to fit together. In  a book of all things.

I’m also probably going to post here nanothings daily or so, and maybe litpunch it all over the place. Something like that.

Dusk #360DaysofSymbols

Day 30of 360 Days of Symbols. Today’s symbol? Dawn.

We woke to the sound of night, the masks still attached in the purple light. Everything was still becoming something else. It wasn’t a time of shadows yet, and the hours of sun had passed. The moon was waking still, and the stars were faint memories in the sky, waiting to be remembered. This was the liminal moment of every day.

The center slides his mask off and we wait until the slow drum beat to raise the canes and start to dance. He will not turn into a crow this time. We made precautions. Magical insurance of a sort. Binding to earth, binding to sky, binding to fire.

Start singing now. It is time now. The dusk is swimming away: hurry, hurry. We must finish before the world becomes night and the hours have changed away.

Solstice #360DaysofSymbols

Day 29 of 360 Days of Symbols. Today’s symbol? Solstice.

As a joke every year the sisters would get together and hook the projector up to the ratty old VHS player. It was solstice time, and for them it was the time for the Wickerman. They would dig in basements for the tape, still pristine in the clamshell box. Pop it into the machine, listen to it whir, threaten to eat the tape and all, and then instead start playing.

Over and over again every year on the solstice they played it. The voices were warbling, and the sound was strange and almost under water. It added to the surreal feelings the movie provoked. Love and lust and horror and joy. They would clutch each other when Christopher Lee would speak as Lord Summer Isle and squeal too happy when he sang.

Tape so worn he seemed like a ghost, touching them still. Now in their forties, now time worn on them all. Two divorces between them, no children but the ghosts of promises. Still, here, still now, they feel the electric surge inside as they view the mock pagan rituals. Sexual. Nymphetic.

When they slept they dreamt of that island, dreamt of hands filled with apples. The sacrifice worked, the sacrifice always worked. They would waken happy and satiated with the taste of autumn on their tongues.

Dawn #360DaysofSymbols

Day 27 of 360 Days of Symbols. Today’s symbol? Dawn.

There. The first light. It creeps across the landscape. Blue, dark blue, lighter blue, tints of greys. The darkness becomes more solid things, the more solid things into shadows. The body is revealed one limb at a time, covered in leaves. Fallen. Orange and brown. One hand is in a creek and the body is dry and starved for life.

Flies will not touch it. Its eyes are missing, just empty holes. Mouth is perched in a smirk. Body is naked and there, on the palms face up are keyholes. Tattoos? Maybe. But they don’t feel like tattoos.

Eventually the light becomes red and the last of the night is shrugged off, lain on the ground and then shoved underearth, back to where the stars belong, back to where the moon sleeps.

Eventually someone will find the body. Smoke a pipe, look over it. Try and puzzle out this mystery themselves before going to the police. Always, always, looking at the trees. And seeing tiny doll eyes staring back at them. And the scent in the air of rusted keys in running water.

Spark #360DaysofSymbols

Day 26 of 360 Days of Symbols. Today’s symbol? Spark.

flicker lighter flame, at end of the stick, watch the sparkler come to life. run through circles, write the name in the air, do secret sigils of sparkmagic. the kids play tag, one burns the other and cries. put them out in buckets of water, smoke rises up into the night, suffocates stars.

file into the last light, the one doorlight, the windows echoing the shadows of adults inside. the smell of beer is still fresh in the air, and in the distance the thunder of fireworks resound like mountains moving.