The Face of Horror by Hollis Jay (Guest Blog)
In honor of Women in Horror Month 2013, I have invited guest blogger Hollis Jay to come speak to us about her feelings regarding Women in Horror. The author of the novel “The Ever” and a poetry anthology “The Control Room (or the demands of Heather)”, Hollis Jay is an up and coming author focusing on the Gothic and horror genres. She also works in the realms of poetry and nonfiction.
She graduated with her BA in English and American Literature and MFA in Creative Writing specializing in fiction. She is continuing her educational goals and currently
working on has her MA in English focusing on with a focus on Gothic literature (Congratulations, Hollis!). She is the haunted mind behind the blog and podcast “Myriads of Thought”, and you can find out where to catch up with her on the internet at the end of this post.
The Face of Horror
Women writers are the salt of the Earth. Their ears are to the ground and they are listening to the streams of consciousness that happen all around them. They hold the power of life and understand death’s despair.
In his book, “Unforgettable Ghost Stories by Women Writers,” Mike Ashley states that “women writers [tend] to be more prolific than men” and that “it is to the legion of woman ghost-story writers that we owe that depth of humanity in the ghost story”. I believe that women also provide a sense of isolation and loss of identity that men do not always focus on within their writing (Ashley vi).
The horror genre is a complex machine. Yes, it offers gore and mayhem but it also creates a sense of strength and purpose within its audience. It gives them the will to carry on and become meaningful in their own right. Horror allows us to find our own true selves and initiate our lives into what we were meant to be, to discover what living never allows; and that is how much we are willing to fight for our lives and the lives of those that we love.
From the beginning, women have been relegated to the belief that our voices do not matter, that we do not count. In the world of horror, we can change this and become strong women who persevere and who are willing to supply our own special points of view to the fight. This viewpoint hinges on the power of our character. Character defines us as women, as human beings, and allows us to stand tall.
These creatures that we become entangled with, these ghosts that cause pain and loss, these merciless beings brought back from the dead have nothing on the strength of a woman and so, when we go to write we control them and their actions. Women understand a type of loss and affliction that men cannot even begin to fathom.
We are the bearers of bad news; the caretakers; the mothers; the motherless; we are the storytellers and in that aspect we are the true authors. Horror allows us to work out our grief. In subtle details, in extreme hardship and somewhere in-between, horror allows us as women to dig out of the grave that has been dug for us, and to transplant our feelings into our work. We kill off the evil. We save lives. We battle against unseen forces. This is our job. It is our time.
The horror genre has created a space for women to become dark and disturbed and to try and understand the misfortunes in the world. It has allowed us to collect our thoughts and no matter how twisted or filled with misfortune, we have been given license to express them in this venue. In this world, our world, we can kill off who and what we want and we can walk away free of guilt and with peace of mind. Although we may reflect upon our choices, we are satisfied with the outcomes and the peace that it brings.
As a woman, I have made writing horror a part of my life. This genre has always called to me and made me feel empowered and safe. I felt as if I could travel in this world with deliberate honesty and write things that I would be afraid to otherwise. Within the horror genre, I found a place of personal reflection that allowed me to understand my life and the lives of others. Horror is the only genre that can do this, that can create a release and a sense of purpose through its words. Others may try to make you believe, but there is only one genre that makes us remember how lucky we are to be alive.
Women are the heartbeat of this genre. We dictate our own fate. We stay strong in a time of war. We pursue the evil and the villains of this world and the next in perfect harmony. We can balance the forthcoming agonies and beat them at their own game. In the end, women rise from the ashes and tell our own story. We collect our minds and our hearts and fly free towards another day. In this genre, we make own rules and regulations and answer to no one but ourselves.
Ashley, Michael. Unforgettable Ghost Stories by Women Writers. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2008. Vi. Print.
Catching Up With Hollis Jay
Check out Hollis Jay every week on her blog and podcast from “Abnormal Entertainment” entitled “Myriads of Thought.” You can also find “The Ever,” her novel of the history of a haunted house on both Amazon Kindle and in print on Lulu.com. Her poetry collection entitled “The Control Room or the demands of Heather” can be found in print on Lulu as well. Ms. Jay is currently working on her new novel “Like the universe gasping for air”and hopes to have that and her new poetry collection “Searching for Solace” out in print soon.