Bright Spots

Today, we’re going to talk about the positives.

Yeah, I know. What? How can the guy who wrote Saint Sadist write about positivity?

The answer’s obvious, of course. To paraphrase Walt Whitman, we contain multitudes.

But onto the meat of this thing. 2020 has been a terrible year, probably the first year I wouldn’t tell a doomsday-preaching evangelical they were crazy if they said we were living in the End Times. While I don’t think the apocalypse will play out quite the way they suspect, I’d say for all their years of playing this fear-mongering guessing game, they may have at least landed somewhere in the ballpark of reality.

I recently changed the name of this blog to Coping Mechanisms for the Apocalypse. Those five particular words have been in my head a lot over the last two years or so. It’s likely no accident they rose from the swamps of my subconscious around the same time I spent a long weekend in a psych ward.

There are two apocalypses. One is global and the other (and perhaps more important one) takes place inside of you. Why do most of my seemingly real-world horror stories often devolve into psychodrama and symbolism? I believe real world problems aren’t actually solved in the real world. They’re solved in our dreams, our subconscious–collective and otherwise.

The world’s on fire and everything hurts, so let’s cope together.

In the world of dark fiction, we’ve so far seen stunning debuts from Samantha Kolesnik and Jo Quenell. We got not one but TWO new releases from Chandler Morrison. We got Murder House by C.V. Hunt, a book I think will go down as one of her best. We also got another winning collection by Charles Austin Muir and new nonfiction by Brian Keene. Not bad at all, eh?

We can still stream movies and shows. Speaking of which, I recently saw a Thai film called The Pool. It’s GRUELING in the best way possible and cinematic storytelling at its best.

Lockdown sucks, but I’ve been cooped up with people I love more than anything. My kid’s at an age where he’s infinitely curious and can still hold down a conversation. My wife is the hardest working person I know and remains a beacon of light despite having her own struggles. Today is our son’s birthday and though I’m working the day job, I’m bound to get some quality time in during the evening.

I bring up The Pool because it’s probably the most apt metaphor for life in 2020 I’ve seen so far. It has lots of out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire-moments, heart-wrenching deaths, impossible odds, and luck both good and bad. Basically, the main character is trapped in a deep, empty pool with a hungry, pregnant crocodile. Anything else I say will spoil it.

I feel like we’re the film’s protagonist, Day. His circumstances constantly go from bad to worse. The exhaustion and pain on his face is our exhaustion and pain.

At least we’ve got some good reading material though, huh?


Signed copies of MANIA are still available here.

My Patreon now features weekly short fiction every Thursday. Posts are open to the public. Pledging is optional. Right now, all stories take place in the Gods of the Dark Web universe, but that may change.

The first episode of the Dark Corners Podcast, co-hosted by me, is now up. Check it out wherever you get your podcasts, or you can watch the video versions on YouTube or IGTV.

Born Fighting

By now, I’m sure all of you have read my most recent blog post. Some of you have seen fit to cut me out of your life as a result, which is sad, but also hardly surprising. Authenticity is rarely celebrated or even tolerated by those who wish to preserve their own brand.

And that’s fine.

I was born fighting. At six weeks overdue, I gave my mother a less than pleasant labor experience, even by labor experience standards. Multiple times throughout that long night we both almost died. The first things I felt in this life were pain and terror.

But I also learned how to fight for my life. I learned that I could.

In the wake of that blog post, I had good people come out of the woodwork to show their support. People like that can make the apocalypse a little more bearable.

In the heat of battle, you lose friends, but you also find out who your true friends are, who has your back and who will fight alongside you.

To those who have stood by me: you are seen, you are heard, and you are loved.

Because of you, I am okay.


Signed copies of MANIA are still available here.

My Patreon now features weekly short fiction every Thursday. Posts are open to the public. Pledging is optional. Right now, all stories take place in the Gods of the Dark Web universe, but that may change.

The first episode of the Dark Corners Podcast, co-hosted by me, is now up. Check it out wherever you get your podcasts, or you can watch the video versions on YouTube or IGTV.

 

The End?

It has been a very trying couple of weeks. Scratch that. It has been a very trying four months. The last couple of weeks, however, completely broke me.

First, I faced some drama over the cover of Saint Sadist. I won’t recap it here because I’m exhausted. Also, we managed to resolve it, even if I hate that it happened at all.

That bit of drama PALES in comparison to what else has transpired though. Long story short (and I will keep it short because it’s already been reported on extensively), the indie horror scene–like the movie industry, like the wrestling business, and like the music world–has an abusive men problem. The two prime examples are a prominent male author sending inappropriate messages to several females in our industry, then subsequently harassing one of these women for speaking out, and a renowned male bookseller assaulting his girlfriend and attempting to rape his own daughter.

To say that I now think of this so-called community as a hostile work environment is a gross understatement.

Couple this with rising COVID19 numbers in my state, racial tensions that could be eased today if our government only cared to do something about violent police, a series of transphobic comments by arguably the most powerful cis-woman in the world, rampant cancel-culture (yes, some deserve to be called out, but not every campaign is noble), our president’s constant use of the U.S. Constitution as toilet paper, my own social isolation, and the impossibility of work/life balance when my kid is home during the workday, I’m fucking exhausted.

Some things to know about me: I will never stop writing. Writing nurtures me. It cleanses and soothes me. It helps me and I used to think it helped others. Also, I am a person of my word. All preexisting obligations to publishers, even gentleman’s agreements in which I have yet to sign a contract, will be fulfilled. These include: the release of my dinosaur apocalypse novel Extinction Peak through Section 31 Productions, turning in a story for a top secret literary smut anthology, letting Grindhouse Press publish my story “Primitive” in an anthology this October, the release of a top-secret omnibus, and the eventual publication of my collaboration with Ryan Harding.

Once all these obligations have been met, I’m out. I’ve had it with the scene’s hostile cliquishness, abuse and harassment, and blatant favoritism toward people who later turn out to be abusers.

I will continue to post regular content to my Patreon. Posts will be accessible to the public, all pledges optional. I have a job. I don’t need the money, but I certainly won’t reject it either.

Also, I will continue to occasionally blog here. It can be very therapeutic and if I wasn’t always on Facebook and Twitter, I’d do it more often. Guess what accounts I’ll be staying away from for the foreseeable future.

Lastly, Sean Duregger will continue to produce excellent audiobook versions of my work and I will co-host the brand new Dark Corners Podcast with Rita Goodall.

That’s all I really have to say today. My tribe knows who they are. I would follow any one of them to the ends of the earth and I know they would do the same for me. If you are part of my tribe, thank you. You can follow my Patreon (again, pledging is optional), follow me here, support Sean’s audio productions of my work, and subscribe to the Dark Corners Podcast (all social media for the show is handled by Rita).

This is Lucas Mangum, signing off.

Waking Up Screaming

I dreamed I was back on the cruise ship, and I couldn’t find our son. The next thing I knew, I was at a funeral that turned out to be his. I woke up screaming. My wife asked me if I was okay, and I told her I just had a nightmare, but nonetheless, I went upstairs to make sure our son was breathing. My chest was so tight, I thought I might have a heart attack.

I wake up screaming a lot. Antidepressants can cause nightmares.

Today, I woke up and learned a family member was given news no one ever wants to hear. Life can be a nightmare.

Always take time to let the people you love know that you love them.

Hug your pets.

Ask yourself, before you make that argument on social media, if what you’re about to say is really helpful. Spoiler alert: it isn’t.

I’m often irritated by the methods employed by people referred to as Social Justice Warriors, but to pretend their grievances aren’t warranted is the pinnacle of ignorance.

I go to bed peacefully. My days are filled with educating myself, writing the stories I want to tell, and spending time with my family. Yet, I wake up screaming. I used to go to bed screaming and was blessed with pleasant dreams. I used to think life was a balancing act between light and darkness, but balance implies some sort of order. Tension between the two energies is a more accurate depiction. Instead of a yin yang, we are shifting scales on the bodies of two wrestling serpents.

We are wisdom and we are venom.

Good morning.