Friday, January 09, 2009

Are You in Love with the Dark?

Apparently I am, and I wonder if there are some kindred spirits out there.

By “in love with the dark” I don’t mean caves and closets. I mean the mysterious, the sinister, the creepy, the dangerous. (All you “Twilight” fans can count yourself in, by the way.)

I think it all started when I was in high school, and I fell for this guy named Mark. It was the first time I was interested in a boy not because he was cute, but because he was mysterious. My adolescent mind decided Mark was an Enigma, yes, with a capital E. This conclusion was due almost exclusively to one paradox I had observed about him: although he was a member of the Brains clique (today known as Geeks), he wore his hair shoulder length like a Freak.

Brains were generally pro-Establishment, conservative types and wore their hair short. Freaks skipped school, did drugs, drank, and listened to music like “Brain Salad Surgery” and Frank Zappa. Mark aced his tests, did volunteer work, and was polite. But the hair...what was the meaning then of the hair? He had to have some secret counter-culture attitude, some rebellious streak. He had to have a Dark Side.

I wrote a poem about my feelings for him, called “Dark to My Light.” In it I spoke of my own ever-cheerful, sunny persona and my longing for the darkness Mark represented. I’m quite certain there are a lot of us who feel our families, co-workers, and society in general depend upon us to be positive sorts. Meanwhile, we feel a great lack of the negative in our inner lives. So we are drawn to sinister characters, horror movies, macabre stories. We have fantasies that are dark and sometimes quite twisted.

The dark is much on my mind lately. My latest story collection, Soulful Sex: The Darker Side is about to go to press. And I am finishing up editing a very dark romance novel called (do you sense a theme here?) Looking on Darkness. To make matters worse, I am reading Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. Meanwhile, I find my nocturnal fantasies seem to be set in the most ominous locales, like, for example, Hell.

I’m sure anyone who knew me personally would tell you, I’m the last person you’d expect to fantasize about Hell. But fact is, the people who seem all sunny and upbeat are generally the ones whose secret thoughts are dark like this.

I’ve had this thought concerning Mr. Gaiman many times. His public persona is just so darn, well, cuddly. He seems for all the world like the kindliest English gentleman you’d ever want to meet. He loves children and cats. I’ve not read one report of him being rude or mean. And yet, the places this man’s mind travels are terrifying at times. In a sense you could rightly say that Death whispers in his ear: indeed, Death is his muse. Death of course, having been personified in The Sandman comics Neil wrote, personified as a very sweet, funny, attractive young goth girl (before goth was a craze).

I recently found this awesome illustration which currently serves as my wallpaper. (Sadly, I renamed the file and can’t find the original source, so if it was you or if you know, please tell me so I can give proper credit here!!) It’s the character Death, playing her muse role for Neil Gaiman. Brilliant.

And if you could see an artistic rendering of myself writing, there would be this dark fellow standing behind me, murmuring in my ear. He would look a bit like Neil, a bit like Mark, a bit like Jonas Tammany from my comic book. He would look a bit like every dark male character who has inspired my imagination over the years, including the various fellows in The Darker Side and Looking on Darkness, and Bloodchained.

Can’t help it...I’m just in love with the dark.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi.I'm crushing over a guy since 5 months.but few days back 20 days i e .he stopped talking to me.m getting very desperate about him.i cant just cant get him out of my mind.i really liked chatng wth him butni cant tel him that.what should i do.the pain isn't going away.i try talking myself out of it but that isnt working either.i read probably every article on getting ovr but nthng is helping me.wht should i do i get my life back.its collapsing