Women in Horror: Who inspired me this year and what’s to come in 2019
Hello and welcome to the last WIH blog of the year!
I am so happy to have had this journey with all the good, the bad, the struggles of 2018 I am sure of one thing: I am happy it is over. I learned a lot this year about the women in horror community, the wide expanses of the horror genre, the relationship between my art, myself and the genre. I picked up my prose and poetry writing again and was amazed at the overall support and general excitement from people about women in horror, which continues to grow. It truly made me feel like this was the year, which began my life-path in a solid, loving and supportive direction. I cannot tell you how much it means to me seeing so many of you excited about the genre and how you are working to make it inclusive, just by existing and being loud about your love of it. You define what horror is, not the other way 'round. Gone are the days of shame the world used to make me feel for loving a part of me so deep. I had so many intense, honest, open and mind expanding conversations this year about horror. Some good, some great, some sad, but all had one thing in common: love and a will to push forward into the future of horror. An acquaintance here in Berlin who also works in promoting horror artists said to me once that they were afraid of the name horror would bring to their brand and I said if you own it and celebrate it, you are creating what horror you like. Stop blanket sweeping the whole genre into one category. Take what you love and make it yours. It was around the same time as the elevated horror nonsense came up; this idea of uplifting horror wrapped in the shame of loving horror just for horror. No thank you. I can love horror with all my heart and not need some branding wizard to tell me how I'm wrong, puhlease. Like I said before, own it, celebrate it and create what you love and horror will be your best friend. Too long have we let people who do not understand the genre define what it is, too long have we let outside forces make us feel shame for celebrating what makes us feel alive because it doesn't fit their idea of what "normal" is. 2018 you were a cold bitch sometimes, but you gave me such spirit and strength. I can stand firm and say fuck all the haters and enjoy what you love. And with that this blog is dedicated to all the people in the horror community who gave me strength this year.
First and foremost the Graveyard Shift Sisters. A blog, an infinite fountain of academic resources, uplifting women of color horror creators. Here I found out about The Sunken Place class with Tananarive Due and her partner Steven Barnes, an incredible academic survey on racism in American film, with so many POC creators highlighted and discussed at length. It opened my eyes, it gave me fresh insight, made me cry more than a few times and showed me a whole new path to creating horror art. I am endlessly grateful for this course and if you have a chance to take it, snap it up. You will scarcely find such intelligent, loving people to teach you amazing things as Tananarive Due and Steven barnes. My favorite find by GS has been Sycorax’s Daughter horror anthology, edited by Dr. Kinitra Brooks – it is on my top five list of horror anthologies of the year.
UPDATE!! Amazing news Ashlee Blackwell of Graveyard Shift Sisters announced just this week that she along with Tananarive Due created a documentary called Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror, based on the book by author Dr. Robin R. Means Coleman. It will be exclusively on the horror platform Shudder February 7th. check out the video below for a brief introduction into what the documentary is about.
Augie Peterson- author/podcaster- Such a joy to have met Augie this year. I never would have thought that by the end of the year we would be working together. She has been a constant source of positive support. In this tough year, it’s been great to meet authors who are willing to put in the work to create more diverse stories. I am consistently surprised with her stories and am looking forward to discovering more. Her horror stories have been a joy to create art for thus far and will continue to do so in the new year as we journey on with our collaboration. If you haven’t seen the work we’ve done so far, check out mine or Augie’s twitter for more info. Coming soon: Time-lapse vids of my creations for her amazingly creepy stories on my Youtube channel.
Nightlight: Black Horror Podcast- created by Tonia Thompson- is my favorite podcast find of the year. It consistently creeps me out, I love the layout of the show and the creative attention to detail with the voice actors who read the stories. Plus the interview with the authors at the end give the story a new level of depth and understanding. I always love hearing where inspiration comes from, whether it be a painting, a poem or prose. I guess it's the creator in me and the general curiosity of how people create their own art. Nightlight really broadened my experience of horror narratives and how incredible it is to have someone read it to you like you're in a horror theatre play. This is something special to me as my mom, when I was younger used to sit by my bed and read me stories in different voices which made them come alive with such feeling and emotion. I will forever thank her for my love of reading and the creative arts in general. Go give Nightlight a listen and be entranced in a wonderful world of horror.
Anatomy of a Scream: Is an awesome, female-run, queer-positive entertainment & lifestyle website and a well of insightful and inclusive articles all around the horror genre. Their writing is super fun, whip smart and personable. They always give me that feeling basement hang outs with your friends watching horror movies or dishing about the latest horror book you've read. They are also the p
ublisher of @thisisgrimmag, a semi-academic, inclusive, horror magazine, which I have recently sponsored! I am already loving their first issue and am looking forward to the new what they come out with next.
Three authors that enriched my horror experience this year:
Emily Carroll- Horror comic wonder person. Her book Through the Woods changed how I took in comics. To have a queer creator like Emily Carroll in the horror community with her powerful story lines that rewrite out-dated narratives and bring her own new narratives is a gift. I can’t tell you how important it is to see yourself in comics, in art, in writing, hell in every aspect of life, diversity matters and visible queer creators doing amazing things telling their stories gives this queer horror creator hope. She recently came out with a comic called Beneath the Dead Oak Tree with Short Box Comics that was a bloody romp of a horror read.
Carmen Maria Machado- Her Body and Other Stories- My favorite collection of horror short stories of the year. A book that reflected real life horrors I had experienced back at me and opened my eyes more to how our society tries normalize horror filled experiences by female and queer identifying people . I keep going back to it and finding new passages that spoke to me on a deep level. I think most queer people can understand this feeling of reading stories that you've experienced in another person's words. It makes you feel seen and whole. To read another woman writing queer narratives in the horror genre is something so special to me. It also further shows we need more diverse voices, to be able to read stories that reflect queer experiences is so important. Carmen Maria Machado has a new book coming out in 2019 and I cannot wait to read it. If you haven't read Her Body and Other Stories I highly recommend it, as it is what I believe to be an important book not only for the queer community, but for the genre.
The Traveling Bag- This book just hit a cord with me. It had a constant drum of dread and haunting. Every short story in this horror collection gifted me a new feeling of lingering thoughts on the human condition. There were so many stories that illuminated experiences I think a lot of us can relate to. An overall theme of "be careful of your actions". How far you are going to go for hurt pride or revenge, what does being a good person really mean, don't overwork yourself to the point of nonexistence and so much more. Like every good horror story for me that is, it leaves me thinking and often times changing how I approach internal or external situations for the better.
The person responsible for making me feel safe and welcome in the community, Hannah Neurotica, the creator of Axewound Festival and the Women in Horror Month. This woman deserves all the love, for she does so much work for the horror community. Hannah has been a true inspiration for me. When I first entered the community, I was scared about the back-lash and possible dude bros being gate-keepy, but when I did my research and found this amazing woman who created Women in Horror Month, my heart kinda exploded with happiness. She was the catalyst to me doing a head long dive into a year long research project of women in horror that will now be a passion project that spans my lifetime. I will be forever grateful for her and all she continues to do, to uplift female identifying creators in the horror community.
Finally but not least at all, I want to thank all the inclusive women in the horror community I’ve met this year on- and offline. Your existence is amazing and beautiful. I am so happy to have found a place to feel supported for who I am with love. May you have a wonderful new year and my best wishes to you for 2019.
Coming in 2019
A bit of a shift: I will still be doing WIH blogs, but my focus will now be on uplifting queer horror creators. This whole 2018 year, I have been seeing some fantastic queer run horror projects and I really want to give it it’s own blog focus, so 2019 will be the year of queer horror content! As I am a queer person, this is of course a passion project of mine and I will be reaching out to other queer creators to do possible collaborations. If you’d like to be a part of this, please get in touch. I am super happy to work with others on guest blogs or combined posts and podcasts. If you'd like a sample of me doing podcasts, I was on one called Passion Project at the beginning of this year. It is a program that uplifts queer artists and creators run by the lovely Nathan B. have a listen and get to know me over a casual chat. Passion Project
Alright hope you have a great end of the year and see you soon!