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M. Teresa Clayton

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M. Teresa Clayton

JUDITH
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CEREBRAL AGONY ZINE
by M. Teresa Clayton   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, March 13, 2015
Posted: Friday, March 13, 2015

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Great interview with Dave Wolf

Interview with M TERESA CLAYTON

 
Interview with M TERESA CLAYTON

Start things off with your most recent submission to Cerebral Agony zine, your fiction piece Trick Or Treat. Was there any special inspiration for this piece, or was it influenced by any horror writers, well known or obscure, you consider personal favorites?
I have been asked that question about every single story I've written. I'm sorry to say that I have no particular influences that inform my particular style of writing, though many have compared my short stories to the old TWILIGHT ZONE show on television back in the early 1960's. I suppose that would be the closest to any "influence" for my writing of short stories. I did watch the show and it always captured my imagination and I still remember many of the stories told on that show, and of course the old OUTER LIMITS. 
I was asked if I had any stories about Halloween to share. I didn't. Halloween is not of particular interest to me. You would think it would be. However, I was challenged to write something, so I remembered back to this old house at the end of our subdivision. Everyone talked about it being haunted and it did have that eerie look sitting there beyond the newer houses that all looked the same, standing in neat rows along the street, lit by a street lamp every five or six houses apart.
I am now a Widow and I put myself into the story as the Old Widow Clayton. It seemed the proper thing to do, since she is the central figure in the story. I opened my mind and let the story tell itself. Odd as this may seem, all my stories write themselves. It seems as if I have no control over anything I write - they seem to transcribe themselves to me and I just type them into existence. The only inspiration I can give you for this particular story is that old house. It appears in a few of my writings.

Influences aside, are there any episodes of the old Twilight Zone and Outer Limits programs that still strongly resonate with you to this day? What qualities did those shows have that are not present in contemporary television?
On the TWILIGHT ZONE: it was an episode about a couple who stops into a town and enters a local diner [Nick Of Time -ed]. There, they begin to play with a fortune telling machine and they become almost prisoners to their own continuous questionings. On a show known as NIGHT GALLERY: The House, an episode about a woman looking for the perfect house and finds one; it is the one she has been seeing in her dreams but has always been afraid to enter. Then there is The Outer Limits and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. All those shows were running when I was too young to see them and truly understand them, but I suppose I saw them in reruns. I don't remember to tell you the truth, but knowing I was born in 1956, it only goes to reason that I would not have seen the original broadcasts. 
I wrote a story about a woman who meets a very handsome man at a bus stop at night; it's for adults only; and this particular story is so reminiscent of those shows. I love those stories that leave you wondering; not too much or you'd just end up frustrated and wouldn't bother reading another and not too little or the author does the thinking for you and that is so anti-climactic, isn't it? 
That is what I loved about those shows and those sorts of books and stories. I want to think. I want to imagine a bit of my own ending or my own explanation for the way a story ends. Television today has no end. And, the endings they do have are so clichéd and boring. I don't want to see it coming. I want that shock factor. I don't watch much television today and haven't for nearly two decades or more. It gives a person a lot of time to think. I can create my own entertainment right here in my own mind. And, sometimes, I share it.

Did you always have an interest in old haunting tales, or was that old house you mentioned of particular interest to you?

I have lived my entire life as a haunting in one form or another. I've always been a bit odd; different. As a child, I would imagine things and then knowing full well it was my imagining, but I'd still scare the hell out of me. That old house I spoke of at the end of our subdivision; that house is nothing compared to the one I dream about all the time. I know that house inside and out because I am always entering (as a lucid dreamer, I am always in control of the outcome should things get weirder than I thought it could be). I'm certain that I have either been in that house in a prior life or will be in this one. I am not afraid, but it is a bit eerie to say the least. That question always crosses my mind. Am I remembering or am I seeing the future? It may strike you as strange, but I have always known where I would end up years before I get there. I have a strong sense of premonition.

In what ways does the house you dream about differ from the house that serves as the setting for Trick Or Treat?
Both houses are very much alike, except one is much older and in disrepair. I wrote a really short story called THE AUTUMN VEIL and the ghost who resides inside the house (which at this point is in such ruin that it should be condemned) has walked its halls for decades. The house in all its incarnations is just the same house at different periods in time; perhaps I have seen it in the past, present and in the future and it remains with me. Or perhaps it was once the home of one of the other entities that now call this home their own. 
It is no secret that I often write as if the story were dictated to me and I am only the transcriber, or the catalyst. It isn't unusual for me to get up in the middle of the night and start writing and wake the next morning with only a hint of remembering sitting at the computer and writing. I know I wrote it but I have no idea where it comes from.

Without revealing too much of the plot, can you reveal some information about the storyline of Trick Or Treat?

There is the usual group of friends and one is always being dared. That testing of his or her courage, or mettle, is important to them; they want to fit in and to be better than their taunters. 
This little boy takes the dare. He knocks and the old woman asks him TRICK OR TREAT? Little does he know that the Old Widow Clayton will invite him in and what transpires from there is terrifying in the end. 
He is sworn to silence as he goes out and sends the next boy to the door. Each boy must show their courage now that the weakest boy has proven his worth. Let's hope that when they are each asked the question Trick or Treat? that they answer correctly. It's the perfect Halloween story. 
It has a twist you don't expect. All of my stories have endings that no one saw coming and that speaks volumes to me about my writing. I love it when the reader comments that they were totally surprised at the ending and it freaked them out. What an affirmation.

Is there anything you wish to reveal about The Autumn Veil, while keeping the finale a surprise for the readers?

Autumn Veil is a narration by the woman who inhabits the house, always did and always will. She is tempted to go outside but knows she must remain with the house. It is short but the story is descriptive of what she observes and hopefully the reader takes with them a sense of empathy for her and a feeling of what it must feel like to be tethered to something; being unable to break free.

What inspired you to write The Autumn Veil, and where did the story’s feeling of being unable to escape come from?
What if the house were a metaphor for our bodies? We cannot escape the inevitable: age. All the descriptions of everything she sees and hears are described metaphorically; it does give the story a new edge if you look at it this way. We are all just haunting the bodies we are given, or perhaps our bodies haunt our spirits?

It sounds as if surprise twist endings are an integral part of your fiction. How did you begin to develop this craft?
Again, it is something I was born with. I have done nothing to form it, mold it, or make it better. It just is. It takes a lot of patience living with me during writing. I become so deeply entranced in my story or verse that it is hard to wake me from the spell I'm under. Everyone understands that they are not to bother me if I am at the computer where I write. 
I kill a lot of people in verse and in storytelling. I have this uncanny ability to smell the blood, see it and taste it. I actually see more in the darkness than I do in the light and I can find so much more to write about and I can wallow in the textures and colors of the darker writes. I am not your “butterflies and daffodils” kind of poet and I do not write love stories. 
When a reader tells me they read something of mine and for the first time could actually feel like they were THERE in the story, that gives me so much satisfaction and I know I've done something incredible. I'm responsible for a few nightmares. I also give voice to those who are in mental pain and have no way to cry out. I empathize with their pain and write from their point of view. It is as if I can embody each character, regardless of whether they are fictional or real. 
I would have to admit that I am, in some part, in each of my characters. Every single story I tell, I am in it. I won't tell you who or what I am in that story or verse. I like to keep some doors neatly shut and locked. 
I've had a big audience with JUDITH; there are many who want a prequel to be written. But, I have to wait for those inter-dimensional beings to decide the timing of the write. I have no ability to write it without their involvement. 
Like so many other Mystic Writers, I feel it only fair to give credit to something "other" than myself for most of my writings. I am a catalyst much of the time and you can definitely tell when it is me writing or when it is being sent through me. 
Do I believe in ghosts? I live with them. Literally. They all want to be heard. It's only a matter of time. I've considered giving your magazine one story at a time from STORYTELLER (some will take up two or three separate zines).  However, some are more tame than others and I'm not sure if you'd be interested in those - even though they have held up under the hardest audience to entertain - MEN. My male readers loved the stories in STORYTELLER and I was surprised at which they favored.

Present some examples in which you have written from another’s point of view? How much were you able to empathize with those whose point of view you wrote from, going by any feedback you received?
I am part of a small group of writers. We challenge one another to write - someone picks a theme, another may add point of view, another may challenge form. The first time I wrote from a man's point of view was in a poem titled Le Voyeur. This poem is about the stalking nature of the male as he watches a woman he desires make her way around a room filled with other male admirers; each trying to win her. The male audience loved it. I suppose every man could relate to it in some way and it won me the respect and loyalty of many male readers. In addition, I have written over thirty poems from their point of view and several stories. 
One is a story that takes place inside an old bar late at night. A man who is new to the neighborhood sits down for a drink and notices an old man sitting in the corner mumbling something about black cats. There is only one woman sitting at the bar and she seems uninterested so this man decides to go over and share a drink and possibly hear the story as to why this old man is talking about black cats. The story he tells is an amazing one. Certainly has a twist. All of the conversations taking place in the bar are between men. In another, two young boys set out to find their missing grandfather. 
A poem that really stood out among my readers feedback was "Trophy Heart". It was a few days before Valentine's Day and the challenge was this: A gift in a heart shaped box. The lengths a man will go to in order to share his love with her. That was all. I shudder to think of all the men who shared this poem with their ladies... if the feedback said anything, it told me that all my male readers could definitely relate. That in itself should give every woman pause.

TROPHY HEART
She lies on the bed so stilI.
I push back the hair from her face
As I place her hands together,
Watching, as her fingers interlace.

Her breathing is soft and shallow.
A tear traces the hollows of her skin.
Reflections of dreams on the blade
Bid me now - the end shall begin.

Upon her neck I place the steel,
Her pale flesh bares no resistance;
Beauty in the eyes of the beholder
Torn from the eyes of existence.

My hand shakes with anticipation,
The mind echoing sweet goodbyes.
Just one last drag off my cigarette
Before I cut the last of our ties.

A Kiss on the lips that fade to white,
Release not even the slightest moan
As the knife plunges deep inside;
Her heart beating there … alone.

My hand enters inside the wound
To caress her vessel of mortality.
I lean down to kiss this treasure,
Laughing at this insane formality.

Gently I lift her still beating heart
From her cold and sunken chest,
To feel its power in my hand
The prize for my lofty quest.

To separate her heart from soul
And drink from this garnet chalice,
I celebrate with intoxicating joy;
No fear, no regrets, no malice.

Placed within the velvet box,
This the object of my affection,
To keep close to my own heart;
To heal my soul's affliction.

A souvenir from the one I love
Forever encased in this shrine -
No longer struggling to conquer
The heart that is finally mine.

Discuss how long you have been writing poems and a few of the verses that best represent where you are coming from.

I have been writing poetry since - about the third grade; even then, I was obsessed with death. It never frightened me or gave me any reason to fear. I was just so curious about it.

REFLECTION
I looked into the mirror and saw a reflection 
that called to mind a bit of introspection. I asked, 
where was she now after all these years and 
why I now feel all her fears and hiding behind a veil of tears 
denying all the breakdowns and this... dereliction.

She looked back from the glass with those hollow eyes
and spoke to me from cracked lips, then to my surprise, she answered
all the question asked to her; the sensible, the absurd, and 
still there hanging on every word were the answers I never heard;
denying all the truths and remaining here as my reality dies.

Who is this woman whose eyes are yellowed and overcast?
Did she come here to haunt me from my past? I'm afraid
that this is who I will become before I finally know, and
say goodbye and let her go, before I ever said hello... how apropos
that as I finally recognize the woman... her image is fading fast.

The mirror was empty, there was nothing reflecting back
at me though I was still searching for something lacked. I wondered
if life was worth all the pain we experience in our own end, and 
if all the time we so carelessly spend buys us nothing... we just pretend
and paint imaginary colors on a reality that always... always... fades to black.  

How do the poems you sampled above reflect your feelings toward mortality, or could possibly be autobiographical?
I believe in previous lives and future lives that intersect with this one. Science is catching up. Some of what I write is autobiographical, but mostly the Mystic Verses. I do not believe in sin. I do not believe in death. I do not believe in heaven or hell. I do not believe in the need to redeem ourselves to a greater creator. I believe we are divine... all of us. The Esoteric and Hermetic teachings would explain many of the parables and discussion the Christ had with his inner circle. The Gnostics understood.

MYSTIC
“She is the mystic one; you will know when you find her.”
Though I vaguely understood what I heard,
The riddle hung on that one subtle word… Mystic.

“She will appear to you pale; she glows a ghostly white.”
This vision imagined could not compare
With the porcelain skin of the Lady fair… Mythic.

“She will lift her eyes as if she searches for you here.”
The color changes - blue, green, black as coal; 
I swear her gaze pierced me and looked into my soul… Orphic

“She will know you without seeing, using purest sight.”
She entered into me, a dark labyrinth
Spinning a golden light; she the fairy Absinthe… Gnomic

“She will offer you her hand, there is nothing to fear.”
Frozen in time in this ethereal place
You try to look away but cannot forget her face… Panic

“She will tell you that you can stay or take your leave and flight.”
Choice matters not if she begins her dance,
Your feet will not obey; never given that chance… Tantric

“She is your dream within your dream; your delight.
“She is the creation, by your fantasies and your own hand,
She controls everything yet nothing, nothing at all…,
She summons you to her while she listens for your call…, 
She is the Mystic One and she only obeys your command.”  … Mystic.

EMERALD QUEEN
Thinking about all that is and all that has been
All things seen and all things unseen
All things real, all things dreamt and what hides in between
Searching my memories for images of our blessed Queen.

Blinding the unworthy eyes that glimpse her beauty
Forever mocking them with the final things they see
Burned into the hallowed halls of within our memory
The labyrinth of lies of what was and what could be

Searched the Woodland Isle, the land of Emerald Green
From the caverns of finest tourmaline
To tallest mountain, across meadows, to deepest ravine
Out into the depths of the azure; into the vast marine

Seeking the one who resides inside the mystery
Hidden behind the veil of the fabled Fairy Tree
I shall find her, holiest of holy, the goddess She
I will sever the spell that binds her, I will set her free

Behind the mist, the twilight mossy screen
Led to the threshold of betwixt and between 
Where the Powers, the Seers and Thrones convene
I finally found the remnants there; my beloved Queen

She, no longer the image of grace and beauty 
Yet I remembered my purpose, remembered my duty
And gathered her remnants and held them closely
Chanting the incantation that would bring her to me

Féadfaidh an FAE dúisigh ár banríon uasal
Póg a súile awake agus go réidh a croidhe bogadh
an anáil na farraige, dul isteach di, a thabhairt ar an saol
Bí linn anseo ag siúl mar aon ní amháin agus riamh a bheith ar leith

Knowing about all that is and all that has been
All things seen and all things unseen
All things real, all things dreamt and what hides in the between
I am both her guardian and vessel – Hail to the Queen.

I'm not sure these would be autobiographical - but they are the closest that I could summon, at this time, to represent me.

WHERE DOES THE DARKNESS GO?
Where does darkness go when we light the match?
Retreating like a frightened flock of ravens to the sky
Clouds of black smoke upon the distant horizon
From the ring of fire reflected in my eye
  
Where does the darkness go when the candle burns?
Shadows cowering in the corners of uncertainty
Confused by the flame as it flickers to and fro -
Balanced upon the truth so delicately

Where does the darkness go when the fire rages?
Blind souls feeling their way through a shallow cave
The gates of hell have opened up to swallow them
Their bonfires consume them before the grave

Where does darkness go when the sun fills the sky?
Shining a light on the transgressions of men,
No longer hidden beneath the cloak of deception
Passing judgment on those who have sinned

Where does darkness go when the moon is full?
Shades of those who walk alone in the night
Trying to escape their ruin and damnation
And the condemnation revealed in the light

I search for the darkness, my salvation
A shelter from the omnipotent flame
Cover me in obscurity and delusion
Forever separated from the truth and the blame

Who were the poets you read when younger and ended up influencing or inspiring your approach to writing poems?
Poe. He was the poet to perfection and a storyteller in verse. That is why he is still held in such high esteem today. 
I must give credit to my Third Grade teacher Mrs. Bowling, the woman was crazy (smart); she had us memorize these ten or more stanza poems and recite them for her. Poems like THE HIGHWAYMAN by Alfred Noyes and COLUMBUS by Joaquin Miller. Also, credit to my Seventh Grade teacher, Mrs. Baker; she introduced me to Yevgeny Yevtushenko., We would listen to him recite his own works via a vinyl album played in the classroom. Amazing to listen to. 
I also love Bukowski. But the ultimate influence to my writing in High School was Poe.

There are quite a few people who have contributed to the zine who are readers of Poe. Which of his poems most resonated with you?
The Conqueror Worm. In death, we are all the same; our physical bodies rot and become nourishment for those creepy crawly things beneath the ground while our souls wrap themselves around each other and permeate and penetrate and become one, then two, then one again. Why do we fear death? Death does not exist. We are like water; solid like ice, liquid like the flowing rivers; ethereal as mist, as fog, as phantoms in the night which can only be seen against the darkness yet we breathe it in; this vapor... we inhale it and it courses through our blood and exits through our own perspiration. We are all things, and yes, in the end, once we have breathed our last and our blood coagulates within our veins, we are nothing more than food for those conqueror worms.

What is the plotline of Judith and how much of a response has it received since it was published? Can this fiction be found in print or online?
JUDITH made my house payments for over a year. It was a booming success for me personally and professionally. It is published by Lulu Press and can be found at Lulu.com in hard cover, soft, and e-book. The e-book is free to download and will be until the first of next year. It is my gift to those who could not afford a book and do not have a Nook or Kindle to read from. You can find this book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as other smaller venues. The Burton women have passed down what is now an antique bedroom suite which includes a vanity with mirror. The mirror shows the signs of age among other things. The old antique vanity and mirror was handed down from generation to generation, from mother to daughter, along with the legacy of its madness; the heavy burden carried by all the Burton women, the haunting image within the glass, the reflection of innocence lost when the mind fractures beneath the weight of HER judgment… We see what we want to see in the mirror but when the mirror looks back at us, what does it see?

What sort of reviews or feedback has Judith been given online or in print? Do reviewers appreciate the ideas you put across in this novel?
“A novella that quickly catches your attention & carries you into the depths of your own reflection within that looking-glass. She is macabre, haunting, & brilliantly adept at making her stories your own. You’ll never look at a mirror the same way – hell, you’ll never look 'into' a mirror the same way! M Teresa Clayton is a writer to watch & remember.” -William S. Avery.  
“M. Teresa Clayton is the consummate author of the macabre, but with the writing of 'Judith'; she has managed to outdo even herself. This book grabs you by the throat within the first two pages, and leads your brain on a bloody trail- with shards of shock throughout the story. This author is simply uncompromising, and unsurpassed when it comes to giving us the Horror that we love.” -Debbie Dixon. 
“Mirror, Mirror on the wall… M Teresa Clayton puts a new spin on that old rhyme with her novella JUDITH. You may find yourself covering all the mirrors in your house!” Keep reading.” -W Avery. 
“Shall I spoil the secret? Condense the story into an easily digestible … and thus easily dismissed … single bite? I think not. You’ll just have to put forth a little effort and read the story for yourself, probably more than once. That said, M. Teresa’s Clayton’s “Judith” is descriptive yet chronologically disjointed storytelling perfectly sets the tone for this tale. I read it with a growing sense of unease and each time I convinced myself that I knew where the story led I was pleased to learn that I was mistaken, perfect for this genre. This is horror, no doubt; not all of it stems from supernatural sources. This is a ride worth taking.” - Quicksilver Night Prod. 
These are a few of the reviews I've received - however, most of the comments are made on the Facebook page and I'm unable to collect them all and give them to you here. I believe that the sales of the book, along with the ratings in the top 10 and top 20 at Lulu.com speak volumes. The book is still selling and I'm still receiving checks.

Is Storyteller a collection of fictional pieces written by you? How long has this publication been available for ordering?
All stories in this book are authored by me. These stories are a bit more tame, with the exception of THE WEDDING BED, which is slightly risqué. You can find this book in the same venues, online, as JUDITH. Each story is unlike any of the others in the book; there is a variety. Nine short stories to entertain you and each one with a twist and hopefully leaves you wondering about possibilities. I've been approached by Indie filmmakers about putting a couple of those on film. I do not write screenplays. I have offered to allow someone else to do that and take credit. So far, nothing has come from any of those inquiries. THE SHORE, WEDDING BED and STORYTELLER were the three that seemed to pique the interest of those filmmakers. Again, you will find me in each of these stories, as well as in the novella JUDITH. My readers are now enjoying a healthy discussion about who represents me or what characteristic or event represents me. I give no hints and I have yet to confirm anyone's guess. Hitchcock of me, I know. And, it is fun to see what others take from the story as well as the author!

What about The Shore, Wedding Bed and Storyteller interested filmmakers in bringing them to the screen? Were these local filmmakers or well-established indie filmmakers?
Some local and some not. All interested parties are Indie, I don't know if any of those, should they take on the project proposed, would make it to the BIG screen. The Shore and Storyteller would be the easiest to put to film; Wedding Bed is a period piece. But, if the screenwriter wanted to make it with a current time frame, that would be fine.

What have your casual readers been getting out of your fiction of late? How important are their thoughts to you?
I do not write for the reader; I write for myself. It is wonderful that the readers love the work. I have never written or published with the hopes of being well known, but if that happened it might be okay. I just don't want to have to write for the corporation, the sales. I don't want someone changing the story I WROTE, for the money as their goal. This is why I will not sign a contract with a big publishing house. I know two authors who have signed and they regret their choice.

How did you feel about being approached by indie filmmakers interested in your fiction? If you had the resources, would you ever want to see this idea come to fruition?
I was extremely honored. I have no interest in getting involved with a film-makers vision of the story. I will give my blessing and wait impatiently for the final cut. It would be interesting to see their take on the story. 
I have another story about a young Scotsman who is dying on the battlefield when two women descend from the clouds. I need a man and two women who can speak with that Scottish accent to do a recording of that story, and I will direct. There isn't much to it really. The title comes to me and the names of those two female characters came AFTER the story was written. I made the changes because, as it turns out, there really is a myth regarding this sort of thing. Who knew? The Veil Of Forgetfulness: beautiful and vivid. It would cost me nothing; I would be collaborating with a sound engineer, the three narrators and everyone would get to see their names on the project. That's how I like to do things: work together and make something wonderful and everyone benefits... including the listener/reader/viewer.

Are there any directors in particular whose work you admire? Present some examples of their work.
Hitchcock for sure. The Birds, North By Northwest, etc.  And whoever directed THE HAUNTING, the old black and white version of Shirley Jackson's terrifying book. She is the only writer who scared the hell out of me.

How faithful is the film version of The Haunting to the novel penned by Shirley Jackson (The Haunting Of Hill House)? There were two versions of that movie, the version you’re referring to was released in 1963 and directed and produced by Robert Wise (the other was released in 1999 and directed by Jan de Bont).

Oh, the much older version for sure. Your imagination does all the work. In the 1999 version they give you too much animation and manufactured effects. The film in 1963 was absolutely true to the book. Amazingly so. Some things were left out - but it did not poison the transfer from page to screen. Of course, books are always better; you are the director and it's your vision you see... but this movie did a fine job of scaring me and that doesn't happen often. It still gives me pause.

Do movies today give you the same impressions you got from The Haunting? What direction has horror cinema taken of late, and what would you suggest should be done to make horror movies horrifying?
I believe that we are spoon fed our feelings, our emotions, our understanding, our opinions. We don't think any more. We shoot people in video games and that desensitizes us to violence; we search for something to give us that rush and now young people shoot real people. They have brought the video game to life. The same goes for our television and movies. Nothing is left to the imagination any longer. The television shows are not filtered for the young minds and then we wonder why our girls are acting as they are and our sons are acting out in their way. Our movies are just moving pictures, bigger and brighter but actually dumbed down so much that it makes people like me ashamed to be a part of that genre at all. Yet, reading is losing its hold, music is even becoming manufactured; where is the art? Where is the human factor, the talent? How does the viewer of art interact with something that does not need them to think?

The trend in music, television and movies has been heading in this direction for some time. Artists like Jim Morrison had far more respect for their fans than most “entertainers” seem to these days. We all know mainstream media continues this trend to gain from the public’s tendency to believe whatever they’re told. Some would argue that this is the world and we should quietly let things continue the way they are, others would say that reality is what we make it. What is your position?

I do believe we create our own reality. The mind/soul can reach out to vast areas and bring back information and uses thought to communicate it to the brain. That is simplifying but I'd rather not expand on it. I have a great deal of respect for my audience. They inspire my writes. Many of them were THE inspiration for a particular piece. I'm not that depressed, but I can certainly put myself in their shoes and write from a perspective I have had experience with. That said, I do not write FOR my audience. They are "love notes" to myself from myself. I do it for me. It is my passion. It is my creative expression. I am very fortunate that so many like the work and follow it. I am very fortunate to be keenly aware of their presence in my reality; they are a part of it because I have called it to me and I have opened up my process to them. I could also become very closed off and unattainable, but, I prefer to stay human in all of its incarnations. I believe that all arts; written, visual, audio; are gift and we have a responsibility to affect change for the better. You and I are one and the same; what affects you is affecting me. Those Others I mentioned, they are part of intradimensional beings that inform me daily in my actions, thoughts and writings. They are always with me. They are watchers and they want the best for all of us.

What do you most admire about Shirley Jackson’s approach to writing? Are there other novels you have read by her?
This is the only book of hers that I have read and I have read it many times. Her style of writing is so descriptive that it puts you in the story; you can sense it with all of your senses, the haunting is happening to you, the reader, and it still continues long after the last page.

Are there other authors past or present whose work you particularly admire?
I see lyricists as poets; if I were to say I admire anyone's work, it would be the likes of a Morrison, a Justin Hayward, a Bob Dylan, CSNY, etc. The blending of music with words just gives it more depth. But, admire is not a word I use much. “I am responsible for my successes and for my failures"; no one else. You will see that this quote is not mine but will be in the biography of Gabriela Garza Padilla that I just finished writing and will make its debut in 2015. She and I agree on just about everything philosophical and anything empirically scientific.

Other fiction pieces you have submitted to the zine include the short pieces Time And Sensuality and Conversation On Jerry Spranger. Explain the storylines of those two and where the inspiration came from.
Jerry Spranger was a parody and I was just nauseated by the whole genre. The people are an embarrassment to themselves and anyone they are associated with. The whole genre just pisses me off. I hate that ignorance.  So I wrote that as a sarcastic response to what that whole thing is about. It wasn't my best for sure. I have no idea why it ended up published in your zine, but I'm honored. Perhaps you saw something in the story that was worthy. 
Time And Sensuality is erotic. She is masturbating and quickly moves from beginning to end at the stroke of twelve. Each clang of the clock announces each movement as she reaches her climax. Short and sweet.
Another one that is not my best, but found worthy of print. I love the cadence, the rhyme scheme and the story of this poem; however, it wasn't met with very much enthusiasm, so I assume it wasn't that interesting to the public as a whole.

THE LONG GOOD-BYE 
Where does the time go? 
The moments, not so long ago 
When I could feel your gentle sigh 
Whilst seconds flash and quickly die 
Soon lost in moment’s afterglow 
Are taken with your gentle sigh 

Where does the time go? 
We barely said our first hello 
When I could asked the question, why? 
Whilst youth was still the sweetest lie 
A truth I chose to never know 
Buried ‘neath that question, why? 

Where does the time go? 
The hours seem to ebb and flow 
Life is good whilst tide is high 
Before we thirst; left parched and dry
Caught in memory’s undertow 
Pulled under when the tide is high 

Where does the time go? 
Blown adrift, the winds of woe 
Darkened corners as day turns nigh 
I’ve lost my love, gone by and by 
Years rush on as the days move slow 
And the rhythm of my breath draws nigh 

Where does the time go? 
Wishing never made it so 
Never had the chance to say good-bye 
Nor pause to hear my cool reply 
Tis’ true we reap the crop we sow 
Laid barren now, the whispered long good-bye.

Inspiration comes from everywhere, everyone, everything. I am a watcher, a listener, a sentient being. I sometimes speak for those who have no voice. I sometimes try to correct the wrongs or offer condolence. I try to purge the hurt that empathically absorbed. I give a voice to the darkness, the sensual, those subjects we think about but don't speak of. I write about who I was in previous lives, future lives and who I am today (metaphorically). If you are alive you should be aware of everything. If you are not, you are simply existing. I am alive and I am blessed with the time and freedom, as well as the knowledge, of being able to expand my consciousness to many realms, many layers, many possibilities.

With more music being manufactured, and dumbed down television programming becoming more popular, and genuine entertainment becoming fewer and farther between, how can people like you and I and others who care about what we do and want the public to think instead of insulting their intelligence reach more people with our work?

Keep it pure. Let people know it is being kept pure. Ask people to give it a try. Sooner or later, we all come full circle. I am seeing the sales of books in the hand beginning to come back. People are not that happy with the Nook or Kindle; this was a phase, something new and high-tech. People are beginning to be less impressed with things high-tech and coming back to using their own minds. It may take a while.

How long do you think it will take before more people go back to reading books instead of reading on the internet?
Sales of the hold in your hand books are already seeing a resurgence. The e-book is all the rage as well. Nook and Kindle are losing ground. Soon, ebooks will too. It's hard on the eyes to read from a computer generated screen and not at all as convenient as some thought. The actual book - flipping through the pages and smelling the print on paper - that is something you cannot manufacture via technology. Also, one cannot buy a book and have it signed by the author - which is something I get a lot.  Same with Cd's - people want the CD and they want it signed.  It is personal. We have the ability to print out a copy of someone's art or photography and frame it and hang it in our homes. But how many people do this? No. We want the real thing, or a certified copy that is signed and comes with a validation. The book is not dead. Neither is the magazine. It waxes and it wanes as does everything else in the cosmos. Just wait for it and be prepared for the onslaught of fans knocking at your door.

Are you considering releasing an anthology of your poems and fiction? Would you release it in print or online or both?

I had two books out: ...And The Snow Falls (a sampler) and Mystic Verses. Both have been pulled and are being revised as we speak. I just finished the Biography of Gabriela Garza Padilla: Transcendence in Art. It will be debuting in 2015 to a huge gala of her art collectors and I will be the celebrated guest at that event in Monterrey Mexico. Keep your ears and eyes open! Another book of short stories is ready to publish and I am working on possibilities of a prequel to JUDITH for my readers.I have another novella in the works as well. A book about black cats - see STORYTELLER.

How would you most like to be remembered as a writer when people look back on your career?
She wrote with conviction. She wrote without compromise. She covered a host of emotions and experiences and no one can put her into any one category or box. She was unique, a bit eccentric, and entertained us with our own stories.

http://www.facebook.com/The.Mystress.Clayton

-Dave Wolff 

Web Site: Mystic Verses



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