Since I’m not good at blogging (and the first to admit it), there’s a temptation to meta-blog whenever I do get on here. Obviously the rare times I do update this page are the moments when it’s on my mind, and since it’s on my mind it’s what I feel like writing about. this makes for lame reading, I know.
Since my posts tend to be so few and far between, major life changes tend to take place in the interim. It seems like only a few months ago that I wrote about my move to Statesville, NC and my work as a teacher there. Well, fast-forward a little, and I’ve moved again. Now I’m living in South Florida (where, in an unexpected plot twist, I actually lived for about 5 months right after graduating college). This move is for a number of reasons, I suppose– Florida teachers, while by no means wealthy, are at least paid better than their North Carolina cohorts; I’m living near my grandparents (both maternal and paternal– collect them all!) and aunts, uncles, and cousins; and the school I’m working at seems like it will be a good fit for me. I freak myself out if I try to think too far in the future, but I’m planning on this move being at least semi-permanent, and I plan to stick around here for at least a couple of years. I’m tired of bouncing around all the time, and I would like to start putting down roots.
Of course, job hunting and moving and the start of a new school year have taken a toll on my creative energy. I have one short story I’ve been struggling with since last winter, and I need to get it finished and on paper and out into the real world. Otherwise, the bulk of my creative thought has gone into the anthology I’m editing, Silent Screams. I’m about a month into accepting submissions, and have accepted a handful of stories. My friend Emory Watts has drawn up some amazing cover art, and it is coming together nicely.
The idea for Silent Screams has been on my heart and mind for several years now. Horror writers often have an image (one we sometimes encourage) of being a particularly sick and morbid bunch, but, as I’ve mentioned before here, I’ve found the opposite to often be the case; the genre is filled with people who are kind and generous and who care deeply about others. Horror fiction, for me, is a genre of ideas; about asking dangerous “what if” questions and exploring their ramifications, of analyzing the nature of evil that lurks within each of us and holding it up for examination against what is good, and true, and pure. In some vital ways, horror is about being honest about the brokenness of the world we live in, and the best stories for me are those that inspire compassion and a willingness to see things from another person’s point of view.
Proverbs 31:8-9 says “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy (NIV).” My understanding of social justice begins with my faith– I believe people are important because they are important to God, made in His very image. Like many others, I have been pretty ill about the recent news surrounding Planned Parenthood, but this is only one example of the way in which the vulnerable are exploited in our modern age. If we remain silent in the face of modern slavery, and abortion, and genocide, and religious persecution, we are ourselves a part of the problem. We, the privileged, have a duty to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. My platform is the realm of speculative fiction. Perhaps I have been placed here for just such a time as this. Thus, Silent Screams.
I’m excited about this book– it’s not going to be a fun-filled romp like Pantheon, nor will it be a book for everyone (not all people are horror fans, after all), but it feels like an important and worthwhile project. I’ve seen some great stories so far, and fully expect to see more in the next several months. May the cries of the innocent no longer go unheard.