Monday, February 27, 2012

When Death Comes Near

Our subcultural esthetics are ripe with images of and allusions to death. Almost every day, I receive posts with photographs and other images of Gothic art and photography on my Facebook page--beautiful women dressed in black, lying by the grave marker of a deceased lover, a black-robed figure standing in the background as storm clouds gather. Our literature and movie classics tell tales not only of the dead, but the undead as well. Dark immortals such as lost souls and vampires roam across the dark landscapes of our minds. Even as I type these opening words, I'm listening to Draconian's slow and mournful dirge called Death Come Near Me, a delightful piece of Gothic/Doom metal superbly woven with a creative mix of death grunts and angelic female vocals.

Still, when death strikes close to us it becomes a serious matter; after all, Gothic folks may accept it as an inevitable part of the life cycle, but when it strikes a close friend or loved one we are deeply affected nevertheless. How a person reacts to it and how we all contend with our own eventual demise depends greatly upon our most deeply held beliefs. Even so, death truly represents the great unknown. It not only puts an end to physical existence but closes the door of opportunity for the living to make amends for wrongs committed. There is no longer the ability to tell a person how much he or she means to you or how you'd like to spend more time together. Death is final and most of us hurt deeply when someone special to us passes.

Last week a family member to whom I should have been closer than I actually was, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. It hasn't been easy for me and for the past several days my heart has been filled with sadness and remorse, my mind filled with questions of what I could have done differently--how I could have made things better between us. Yet, in this person's passing I am reminded that in the future I will have new tests of character and opportunities for overcoming the personal monsters that hampered an important relationship that I can no longer resurrect. 

I have had a potent reminder of how final death actually is. With this reminder comes the imperative to do better and try harder for the special people that are still in my life. 

Photo source: Gothic Pictures Gallery. Author unknown.    




Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gloomy Days

It's a beautiful day here in the Arkansas Ozarks. The sun is shinning, birds are singing and temperatures are lingering in the upper 50s. Spring is definitely in the air.

Yesterday was a beautiful day as well but it was cooler, the sky was overcast, threatening a rain that never came and the sun never showed its face. The birds still sang and the day spoke of spring, but as I walked through the nearby woods I reveled in the cloudiness and somewhat gloomier atmosphere that enveloped the area. Although I had already been feeling melancholy due to outside influences, the day matched my mood perfectly. As a result, I got some much needed work done on my latest novella, which is near completion, and figured out a perplexing situation I find myself with on Microsoft Word 2007. I even watched a full episode of the original Battlestar Galactica on You Tube. All in all, I think yesterday was a wonderful day.

Don't get me wrong, I recognize a pretty day whether the sun is shinning or not; but admittedly, it's the darker days that seem to not only inspire my creativity, but better compliment my somewhat melancholy personality as well.

When the sun is shinning I become more restless; I want to go outside and do more physical types of work. I'm not as content to stay indoors by the computer; I become more social. There is a strange paradox in all of this because although I'm more inclined to do things outdoors on sunny days, I try to avoid being in the sun. Even on a day like this one, which won't come close to approaching summertime temperatures for this area, the sun burns too much for me to want to stay under it for any length of time. It may only be February, but the sunshine is already far too bright for me to venture very far without my sunglasses; the glare is simply too much for me.

My musical listening habits seem to change according to the brightness of the day as well. On dark, rainy days I'm perfectly content sitting on the computer doing something creative while listening to my favorite doom metal, dark ambient or some of the more moody classical composers. It's at the times when sunshine is more abundant that I might actually get caught listening to brighter, more mainstream music. One time, I might have actually put on some Grateful Dead; a rare moment indeed!

Of course, it's during the darker months of the year that we experience the coldest weather. I don't particularly like the cold; and I care neither for too much snow nor have any great love for ice storms and the devastation they can cause. In spite of these things however, I always look forward to the autumn, when the days will once again grow shorter and gloomier--when I can dress darker and more stylishly without my favorite clothing holding in the summer's heat--without their requiring more frequent washing; hence speeding the loss of their black dye.

There is something that I absolutely love about the summer's here however, and that's the nighttime. When the sun makes its way below the horizon the heat may well linger throughout much of the night, but that bright scorching orb is gone. There is no longer a burning upon my skin as I walk from place to place or a brightness so intense as make my eyes squint. Instead, the woods around me burst into an almost deafening, yet restful symphony provided by the tree frogs, katydids and crickets. Scientists say that the music these creatures produce are a part of their mating rituals. I prefer to believe that they are rejoicing in the night and can no longer contain their exuberance that it has finally arrived.

Of course, there are those who find amusement in my longing for cloudy, rainy afternoons and in my dislike of Daylight Savings Time, an exercise in which the clocks are set ahead in order to induce an illusion of putting off the darkness. I take solace in believing that some, such as you the reader, might concur with me in my love of gloomy afternoons and the long nights of autumn and winter.

Photo Source: Gothic Pictures Gallery. Author unknown.      

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Vampire's Day Soiree: Angeline: For All Eternity

It's just about 1:30 in the afternoon as I write this, so I'm very late with my participation in today's alternative Valentine's Day activity called Vampire's Day Soiree, which is taking place at Holly's Horrorland. Truth be told, I haven't figured out how to become a guest on Holly's blog and it will be okay if I can't pull it off. 

I don't have a new vampire post or anything, but I do write short Gothic fiction; so I thought that I would simply post an excerpt from one of my vampire stories called Angeline: For All Eternity. I hope that it will make a nice contribution to today's event. 

From Angeline: For All Eternity - by A.D. Vick

“You want to be with me don’t you Adam? I can feel your desire—your craving for me. Well, I crave you too my love—in ways that you cannot even fathom. I want your life—your essence to become a part of me.”

Gently stroking his hair and face she continued. “I ask only one simple pleasure from you. I demand a ritual that I believe will be equally as pleasurable for you as for me. If you trust me enough to consent to this it will seal our bond as life partners; you will have gained my eternal love and affection. We will walk together through this world in unison and with undying devotion to one another.”

Although he would have consented to just about anything she desired at that moment Adam made a feeble attempt at cohesiveness by offering a question. “What type of ritual do you want me to take part in? What is it that you want?”

“I ask only that you allow me to drink some of your blood,” she responded. “I won’t hurt you and I believe that you’ll find it to be a most pleasurable experience, but that is what I ask.” 

Angeline: For All Eternity: Copyright © 2009 A.D. Vick, All Rights Reserved 

Photo Source: Gothic Pictures Gallery Author unknown

To participate in today's Vampire's Day Soiree, simply follow this link to Holly's Horrorland. 


Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Exorcism of Emily Rose: A Review

As a writer, I ordinarily have no inclinations toward writing movie reviews. As a matter of fact, I don't believe that I'm very good at it. Nevertheless, I saw a horror movie last weekend that really did it for me. As a matter of fact, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is the first flick that I've seen in a long time that actually caused real chills to run down my spine. For those who have not seen it, I'd like to tell you a little about it; hopefully, enough to entice you into checking it out.

The film, which is essentially a courtroom drama, is based upon a real-life case concerning a German Catholic woman named Anneliese Michel, who underwent multiple rituals of exorcism from 1975 until her death in 1976. In the film Father Richard Moore (Tom Wilkinson), a Catholic priest, faces a charge of negligent homicide after performing an exorcism ritual for 19 year-old Emily Rose, who died after the experience.  He is defended by an aspiring attorney named Erin Bruer (Laura Linney), who also happens to be agnostic.

The story is told mainly through courtroom testimony and flashbacks during which the realities of young Emily's demonic possession and Father Moore's efforts are revealed. Additionally, somewhat chilling occurrences taking place inside her own home during the time of the courtroom proceedings inspire the defense attorney, who feels she is losing the case, to change tactics.

For me, the special effects in this film ranged from intriguing to believable with some of the most spine-tingling scenes taking place during the exorcism ritual.

While I watch a good number of horror movies, very few actually cause my spine to tingle with fear; this one did. For that reason, I recommend picking a nice cold night, shutting the lights off and watching this one. Since I enjoyed this one so much I'd like to ask, have any of you readers watched enjoyed any good horror flicks lately; one that really induces shock or fear?

I'm including the theatrical trailer below; just to entice you all a bit more.



Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Ghost of Emily Malone

A couple of years ago I joined the Gothic Poets and Writers Literary Club, which is a venue where creative writers can showcase their dark literature before a like-minded audience. In June of 2010 a new poem made its way to the club's front page. It was entitled The Ghost of Emily Malone, written by an artist calling herself Midieval Fantasy.  Even though I'm not generally as attracted to poetry as prose, there was something compelling about the title, which made me want to read the entire piece. To say that I absolutely loved it would be an understatement as I honestly rank this piece as one of the best poetic works that my eyes have ever gazed upon; and because of it, I now like to consider myself one of Midieval Fantasy's biggest fans. 

Since I have secured the author's permission to post the above-mentioned work on this blog, I think it best to let the poem speak for itself. So without further ado, I present: 

The Ghost of Emily Malone      

Part I

The night, oh so gently, kissed me on my face
From the light of the sun I have fallen from grace
I hearken up to the blue moon alive
Which allows me to live, allows me to thrive

And the best night ever, that I have had at all
Came just last night, in the middle of fall
I was sitting secluded by a gravestone half clean
The mist around it an embrace, cool and serene.

I looked to the name that it did represent
To see with whom my night would be spent
Engraved upon the cold black stone
Read the name : Emily Malone

I bid her hello and sat down to read
About woeful suffering and human’s greed.
A feeling of sadness crept into my heart
As if from this world I had wanted to part

A wolf howled in the distance, eerily sweet
I then heard a sound that swept me off of my seat
A voice calling softly, whispering shrill :
“You will join me someday, you will, you will.”

I looked all around me seeking the source
For that distant being whose voice was hoarse
Yet not one living soul could be found
So I set back among the plush grassy ground

I opened my book and turned it to Longfellow
The Day Is Done felt wistfully mellow
As I closed the leather binding a sight caught my eye
A movement of shadow I tried to deny

Yet nothing stirred not even the wind
I was just being jumpy, no need to defend
I looked again at the grave that sat so alone
And read the name : Emily Malone

I wondered then how she had passed
And when that breath had been her last
Wiping away the dirt and grime
I read her death was fifteen ninety-nine

Once again the voice it came
It spoke with a vengeance, crying my name
It cried and screamed while whispering still :
“You will join me someday, you will, you will.”

Then in a view what did behold
A gothic beauty worth more than gold
She came to my side, her icy hand on my cheek
Then she kissed me, leaving me weak.

Her smile was desolate, her eyes full of sorrow
She took my hand and bid me to follow
No will had I to resist her mute plea
I let this ghost have control over me

I studied her features, attire and such
She looked quite ancient, and cold to the touch
And suddenly it struck me with whom I did roam
I was with she : Emily Malone

No ounce of fear for my life did I know
She was the nourishment I needed to grow
I wanted to know her and love her in strife
And make her my adored dark gothic wife

With her I walked among the tombs
Stopping where the nightshade blooms
Suddenly with a voice so exquisitely real :
“You will join me someday, you will, you will.”

Upon the poisoned berries we made a bed
And upon my chest she lay her dark head
And there we make love together for hours
I was the castle and she was my towers

The voice of night filled me with peace
I looked over to the spirit who was starting to cease
Slowly disappearing before my blue eyes
And I felt quite sure that our love had been lies

She was vanishing, going away
Leaving me alone to the cruel light of day
I cried out a name with a harsh baleful moan
The name of the ghost : Emily Malone

She seemed to understand my despair
As she started to become nothing but air
I knew not what I was supposed to do
Only that my time with her was through

Holding her tighter, an embrace of fear
She softly kissed away my tear
Then with her last breath she whispered her fill :
“You will join me someday, you will, you will”

As dusk approached I came back to sit in this place
Hoping for a glimpse of her pale pixie face
Every night under the shrouded moon would I wait
Knowing without doubt she would be my fate

I think of last night so toxic and pure
We had done things never thought of before
Together forever I wanted to be
I with her and her with me

I knew not why these feelings I had
She was gone and I should be glad
But all it takes is to look at the stone
That reads the name : Emily Malone

Reading her name I transfix once more
As I read about Deirdre and the blue claymore
Then to my wonder I heard a slight murmur
Which after a moment became ever firmer

Toward it I ran like a Christian devote
And to me her ghost did float
Her voice sounded like a cold winter chill
“You will join me someday, you will, you will.”

Part II

To the grave close to hers she went and sat
Giving the ground by her a soft gentle pat
Like a adoring puppy I obeyed and sat down
As she touched the stone with a sorrowful frown

I wondered at first why she brought me right here
And in my soul I felt a deep fear
She stroked the cool granite and bid me to see
The name that was etched so sullenly

I was loathe to look with a feeling of terror
I feared if I did I would look in a mirror
Yey stilll I turned my head to the stone
Which read the name : Thomas Malone

I looked back at the ghost all in vain
Wondering if I was no longer sane
Something about the name pulled me in
And to her past I wondered again

She smiled softly looked me in the eye
And made me feel as I wanted to die
And eeriely she told me, calm and surreal
“You will join me someday, you will, you will.”

I felt myself being pulled back in time
The year was fifteen ninety-nine
A man stood in a cemetery with a happy sigh
The man in the cemetery looked just like I

He was tall and regal and Goth to the core
Dressed in attire from an otherworldly shore
The ghost then appeared, alive and vibrant
And to his side she openly went

They kissed and touched among the dead
Thoughts of passion filling their head
And there they made love among the cold stone
The man she was with : Thomas Malone

When their lust was slated he held her tight
And they stayed side by side all through the night
As dawn started to come up and leave its mark
The man decided to no longer be left in the dark

On one knee he went, to her wondered surprise
And smiled at the look that had filled her kind eyes
With this phrase made with love he gave his seal :
“You will join me someday, you will, you will.”
Suddenly another scene played in my head
It was the day the two would be wed
The night held a marriage that had just begun
A night that would be remembered by everyone

A couple stood together hand in hand
Surrounded by graves put in the land
They were dressed in black down to their feet
Both were so elegant, so gothic and sweet.

The vows were read and the kiss have been given
You could tell that the lovers were utterly smitten
Neither thought they would ever again be alone
The couple was named : Thomas and Emily Malone

Not ten minutes later did an angry mob appear
Putting the couple in terrible fear
By the end of the fight Thomas lay dying
Emily was at his side, softly crying

Thomas assured her it would be alright
And stayed alive through the rest of the night
As the sun came, he passed and this vow he did spill
“You will join me someday, you will, you will.”

Then appeared the funeral hour
Everyone’s mood was sullen and sour
She looked at the face forever cold
With him she now would never grow old

Once everyone had left, she sang him a song
She sang it loud and she sang it long
It was one of agony and grief
All she now wanted was blessed relief

Pulling back the hair from his handsome head
She vowed to be with him be it alive or dead
She was forever a shadow now lost on her own
Without her lover : Thomas Malone

She withdrew the knife, a shiny blade
And to the world a goodbye she did bade
Without second thought it sliced through her skin
She thought in death their life could begin

Laying beside his coffin she waited
As the light in her eyes slowly faded
She hoped that these words she would fulfill
“You will join me someday, you will, you will.”

Her spirit, however, did not move on
And forced was she to witness the dawn
By night she would walk in anguish and fear
By the light of the day she would disappear

The fate she was dealt was hard to accept
As along the tombs she silently crept
Wondering if she would see her true love again
Reborn into the cruel world of men

She wondered if he, in spirit, would be changed
If he would be lucid instead of deranged
This she did wonder as she did roam
Crying out for her lover : Thomas Malone

She wanted to see him, alive and well
Knowing it would make more bearable her hell
To see him breathing with a book in his face
Without a care and full of Goth grace

And waited she long for the partner she once had
The soul that had once made her so glad
Every night she would vow this love would fulfill :
“You will join me someday, you will, you will.”

Part III

Back to my senses I slowly came
I began to weep and cry out her name
Her life had been tragic, not as was planned
Only then did I start to understand

Suddenly I realized the startling truth
About this maiden forever in youth
I was the reincarnation of her lover which died
The death that had caused her own suicide

I was he that had died in her arms
And was forbidden all of life’s charms
The man who, by grace, died not alone
I was the man : Thomas Malone

Together again, yet not all was right
I was a mortal Goth, and she a spirit of Night
How harshly had fate twisted our path
Causing us to feel a meloncholic wrath

A frozen tear fell from her sad widen eyes
As her love for me she could not disguise
Voiced she then with a tone that could kill
“You will join me someday, you will, you will.”

I thought on the time she spent without me
Spending the years in woe and misery
She was unable to reunite with her soul's twin
Which had made it impossible to be together again

I cherished her so, my wife of the past
I knew that my destiny had found me at last
I cursed the time that we never did know
My sadness as black as the purity of snow

Yet in this moment she is here with me now
And I wanted to be with her, though I knew not how
No longer apart did I want us to roam
But to be once again : Thomas and Emily Malone

I thought of the way in which I could die
That would not cause my soul to fly
Shaking her head, she disagreed with my plan
She wanted me to say alive as a man

I knew she was sadden to think in this way
Trying to spare me from death’s disarray
And then with a vengeance she whispered still :
“You will join me, someday, you will, you will.”

She wished there to be a different road
That could bring us back to love’s blissful cold
but my death she could not bare to see
She had seen it once and could not save me

Our time together could be not long
We both now knew our love was wrong
Different entities were we on earth’s darkened plain
We had everything to lose and nothing to gain

My life she refused to let me take
That choice she would not let me make
So always would we be completely alone
Separated forever : Thomas and Emily Malone

My thoughts were hard to comprehend
I only wished for my worldly life to end
But she held me fast and would not let me go
Within her a sorrow no man should know

Before me was the woman I was suppose to protect
Yet, by my death, I had shown her neglect
My vows to her I longed to make real :
“You will join me someday, you will, you will.”

I then held her close, gave her no need to fear
I told her then that I would always be near
She smiled at me with a love in her touch
A craving for her overcame me so much

For many hour long I showed her my passion
Until her face was no longer ashen
There we did lay in the grass and the dirt
I was suffering remorse that her I would hurt

I sat and I listened to her as our song she did sing
And I glanced at the finger that still held my ring
With a quiet despair I looked at each stone
The ones that said : Thomas and Emily Malone

She finished her song and then silently lay
As we both waited for the cruel light of day
I had decided that this would not be our last night
I would go willing to that which caused so much fright

My mind was made up that I would keep my vow
That someday was here, I would join her now
I smiled as she said with the hope we did feel :
“You will join me someday, you will, you will.”

I stood suddenly and ran off with full speed
Where she then followed me to the poisoned weed
To that place where our bodied did unite
Under the stars so shiny and bright

The wild berries I ate before she could stop me
And I writhed and I cried in full agony
I fell to the ground, my life fading fast
Her ghost held my body until I breathed my last

And then, just like that, I was only a soul
My body a shell that would soon turn to coal
I looked over to she who was no longer alone
Reunited at last : Thomas and Emily Malone

In joy we wept with love so profound
As we both floated up off of the ground
In the air we danced together as one
Waiting for the rising sun

And as it came we did disappear
As though we both never were here
And these words did our fate fulfill
“You will join me someday, you will, you will.”

Copyright © Angelea Beatrice Sakai Woodham
December 10th, 2009
Revised: Febuary 3rd, 2012 All Rights Reserved

Photo Source: Gothic Pictures Gallery
Author unknown

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Internet Unpleasantries

Yesterday, I encountered something that I considered quite disturbing and it put me in a weird frame of mind that lasted for most of the day. It all began when I made my daily visit to The Ultimate Goth Guide. It's a wonderful blog maintained by a young lady named Amy. During the course of any given week, the material offered on its pages is likely to include discussions on Goth fashion, events, music and bands, literature, makeup suggestions and maybe even an interview with someone well known in the scene. 

I discovered the blog several months ago and visit it at least once a day. Although I've never met Amy in person, she comes across as an absolutely delightful person who is almost bubbling over in youthful enthusiasm for the Goth subculture. Imagine my surprise and consternation when I read her post entitled Ultimate Goth Guide Hate Site. Even more disturbing were the contents of that other site, which its operator chooses to call Superlative Goth Guide. 

At the top of the page is an insulting and unreasonable facsimile of Amy's Logo or masthead, if I can use that word. The posts that follow are in my opinion, composed of nothing but vile dribble--empty arguments created for the sole purpose of personally attacking both Amy and her credibility.  As her many readers chimed in with their words of appreciation and support, the attacker compiled their comments, included many of them in a newer post and then let loose with a plethora of disparaging and insulting remarks toward their authors. 

As I sit here this evening, I can only shake my head in disbelief. I keep wondering why anybody would want to launch such an unethical and unprovoked attack upon such a decent and inspirational person as well as her admirers. I can't help but believe that the Superlative Goth Guide is the product of a sick mind--somebody who has nothing better to do than to discourage creative people and stir up contentions where they don't need to exist. 

In my opinion, the attack site reflects the machinations of a twisted personality and is composed of pure venom. For that reason, I won't even legitimize its author by providing a link to it here.