A Little Warmth Against the Winter

)L to R) Dave, Brian, Adam Cesare
)L to R) Dave, Brian, Adam Cesare

It’s been suggested by many throughout the centuries that entertainers and artists have four stages to their career. It is not lost on me that I’m now entering the third stage of mine (a realization some of my peers are coming too regarding their own careers, as well).

During the third stage of his career — when he was living more off his reputation and the past than any new written works, and the ravages of an adventurous life were beginning to take their toll on his physical body — Hunter S. Thompson would often invite younger writers to his house. He reportedly did this because their enthusiasm for a craft and a business which had not yet broken their hearts, and their gratitude toward him, often re-energized him and his muse, no matter how temporary.

(L to R): Brian, John Goodrich, Dave
(L to R): Brian, John Goodrich, Dave
Last Saturday, I was lucky enough to have authors John Goodrich and Adam Cesare join us here in my home recording studio so that Dave and I could interview them for upcoming episodes of my podcast, The Horror Show with Brian Keene. But the day turned into a mini-convention, with authors Scott Cole, Stephen Kozeniewski, and Mary SanGiovanni, filmmaker Mike Lombardo, super-fans Kevin and Kristen Foster, and Dave’s girlfriend “Phoebe” joining us, as well.

I won’t lie. After a few years of soul-searching, second-guessing, burning out, burning down, and wondering if anything I did actually fucking mattered, it was nice to have a home full of younger or newer writers and artists who seemed genuinely appreciative and grateful and full of good spirits and hope.

I found their presence — along with that of a few old friends — provided a little warmth against the snow that continues to fall outside. It’s nice to know that maybe some of it mattered, and maybe a few folks will remember you when you’re gone.

After recording, we all took a field trip to The York Emporium. While browsing, I found three signed copies of John Skipp and Craig Spector’s THE LIGHT AT THE END. I made sure Adam, Scott, and Mike each went home with one, and I felt a real sense of history as I handed those books to them — three generations of horror writers, one generation after the other, helping each other and all hoping for the same thing.

On Sunday, Mike Lombardo and I finished a year-long task of moving all of J.F. Gonzalez’s papers, books, and private effects. While going through boxes, J.F.’s wife, Cathy, found a bunch of hand-written letters from Robert Bloch to J.F., Mike Baker, and Mark Williams. None of those four are with us now, and my time is probably limited, but it pleased me that Mike understood the importance of those letters, and why they mattered, and the generational sense of history imbued in them.

Outside, it’s snowing again. I’m sitting here writing, and thinking — supposedly alone, and yet surrounded by others. Surrounded by a history I’ve somehow become a part of.

6 thoughts on “A Little Warmth Against the Winter

  1. That’s good to hear B-man. Sometimes we all need a little support or a reminder that things are still worth it. An example for is we were less than 36 hours from moving into our new place and we got a call that the property manager denied us to move in. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t so close to the move in day. On top of that the office manager had already told us we were good to go. The kids were excited, we were finally getting out of my moms , who didn’t really want us there to begin with, we set up utilities, bought a fridge, had the moving truck already, etc. Then this happend. I had to disappoint my family with this super crappy news, cancel stuff, so on and so on. I was and am pissed. We would have moved in tommarow morning. I had to take a step back and rely on the positive things (there arnt to many) but I still have my family. I have to look at it like it wasn’t meant to be. My mom is moving to Oregon on Friday and we’re now moving to a hotel. We are one step away from being homeless. I still can’t believe it. I’m in robot mode. It’s too much to handle. But little reminders are still there to allow me to continue on. YOU sir have helped me. The first thing I did when I exausted all my options of getting into this place was drive to Starbucks and sit in the parking lot. I read the entire Lost Level book in one sitting. (I was saving it for a rainy day & this is it) it made me feel better. Why? I’m not sure exactly. But I was able to relate somehow. YOU are the only author that I click with so well, I simply feel better reading your words. I really can’t explain it, I did feel better leaving earth for a few hours and getting lost in your world. When I finished I felt so much better. I was able to transfer some of that energy to my wife and kids to allow them to feel alright as well. We’re all very disappointed about our situation but we will be okay. YOU helped for me to achieve this and then I was able to talk to them and make things not seem as bad. B-MAN YOU HELP MORE THAN YOU KNOW! REMEMBER THIS. When I read your blogs and posts I can see it. You are kind and helpful. You are a good person and I thank you for allow me into your world!

  2. I completely “get” this post, and your feelings, Brian. Too many of us are passing on, and we’re helpless to do anything but be there for loved ones left behind, and to preserve precious artifacts. I’ve started thinking about what I might do with my papers—especially the reams of correspondence with writers, editors, artists, and others during my years with Dave Silva’s The Horror Show. I saved everything. Speaking of Robert Bloch, I have a few handwritten postcards he sent before and after our interview for the magazine (back when we had to endure 3-4 days between written messages!). Might be repeating myself here, but I love your new studio. Getting snow—again—here too. Keep the home fires burnin’.

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