I have a little bit of a story about this poem.
One of the best things about writing is sharing my imagination with others–even when what I imagine or create is a bit unsettling and dark. I haven’t published or shared any fiction-in-progress for a while, and while I created this poem mostly for my own thoughts, I’ve decided to share it here on the blog.
A couple of weeks ago, I scrolled through my Yahoo news feed and found snipped after snippet of things going on in our world that really bothered, nay, disturbed me. There is a lot of sorrow, a lot of pain, a lot of darkness in this world, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it.
On the other hand, I have also been doing family history work in my spare time and have had the opportunity to attend LDS temples almost weekly for several months. I have had some amazing experiences attending the temple, where I often bring questions in my heart to ponder as I worship and refresh my view of things of the Eternities.
Even though I have had wonderful experiences doing this, the despair of the world I return to is often still palpable. In serving as Relief Society secretary in my church ward, I pray constantly for dozens of young women and men by name. I’ve started praying for lots of people I wouldn’t have thought to pray for regularly in the past, from co-workers, to refugees, to people who help me at stores or restaurants I visit, to people I hear about on the news that I don’t even know personally. I find that I am more sensitive than ever before to the suffering of others, seen and unseen. And I am not without my own stretches of personal shortcomings, confusion, angst, and despair.
I had a thought that, as I am a horror writer, I might try turning what I perceived as the unmistakable “sings of the times” into a cliché science-fiction-horror-movie style poem, to visualize that despair in my own words in a creative way that ultimately doesn’t take itself too seriously–or literally. (And I apologize in advance for any parts that may come across as irreverent as well.) It’s a horror poem, kind of gross in a few stanzas, with an ending that can be viewed as either hopeful or harrowing depending on what outcome you wish to imagine for the main character. I didn’t conform the structure too strictly to a rhythm or rhyming scheme. It’s not really an “uplifting” story in a sense–because it’s horror. But it’s a thing I wrote that I thought worth sharing because it was cathartic to write. In my mind, it’s about fighting back against the tides of darkness in the world even when it seems futile. I have no idea if that’s actually what I achieved, but my readers already know my writing style pretty well… So, enjoy! And don’t take the regular morning news too darkly… :-)
MAD SCIENTIST’S REGULAR MORNING NEWS
By Sarah E. Seeley
I’ve reached the end of this tunnel.
Instead of light I’ve met a wall.
This Thing men made growls after me.
I did not touch it,
I spoke against it at the summit,
I fled—but somehow I am drenched in blood.
I know not whence this blood did come,
Whether it is my own, or another’s.
I may have tripped, or pushed someone down.
My fear is loud,
My heart is pounding in my ears,
There’s no way out—I’m naked to the creature’s sense of smell.
It feeds and grows, but never sates.
Its maw snaps bone and squelches flesh.
Others scream out their dying breaths.
As it draws near,
The fate of all the world seems clear,
These are the jaws of destruction once prophesied by crazy old mystics—and they who called it forth by their own hands cannot stop it.
This Abominable Experiment Gone Wrong,
It knows I cannot run away.
Its body scrapes the concrete halls,
Beneath the earth,
Where night chokes out in silent mirth.
I cease to claw at the halting barrier—and turn to face the creeping basilisk in the darkness.
I fall and plead to gods thought dead,
That as I die I might be numb.
I quail at approaching pain.
A voice inside,
Then bids me rise and fight the tide.
I take a breath—and dive head-first into the monster’s belly past the teeth.
Salt Lake Comic Con FanX is this upcoming Friday and Saturday, and I am excited and honored to be a guest on a panel discussing why we love horror. Here is my official schedule, and the fantastic panel artwork provided by the convention creators:
- Saturday, March 18 @ 7:00 PM–The Art of Horror: Why People Loved to be Scared (room 151G)
Courtney Alameda, Michaelbrent Collings, Robert J. Defendi (Moderator), Sarah E. Seeley, Nathan Shumate, John Steiner
The past month since LTUE has been a long stretch for me. I’ve been rejected from three graduate schools, though I am still waiting to hear back on the fourth school I’ve applied to. In good news, after my deposit check to secure my spot in the Koobi Fora program got lost in the mail (I sent a second check), both checks eventually arrived, my spot is secured–and I’m going to Kenya this summer! I’m still waiting to hear back on the second round of fellowship considerations. But I’m excited either way, and looking forward to a wonderful adventure and an educational experience of a lifetime in just a few short months. Thank you once more to everyone who donated to my GoFundMe to help me pay the deposit. I shall be thanking you many times over in the months to come as I move ahead.
Writing has slowed down for me as things in my life have gotten busy the past few months, but I am indeed still working on my orc novel and my novella Woodcutters. I’m hoping to complete these projects sometime this year (and hopefully sooner than later).
And last but certainly not least, the Association for Mormon Letters has nominated Windows Into Hell for an award in their 2016 short fiction collection category. I am delighted by this news and honored to have this anthology be considered among two other collections. I am also honored to be included with so many amazing authors under consideration in all of the categories. You can read more about the AML awards and the nominated stories, poetry, and more here: http://associationmormonletters.org/blog/2017/03/2016-aml-awards-finalists-2-poetry-and-short-fiction/
Each year that I have had the opportunity to attend the Life, the Universe, and Everything symposium, I’ve had a wonderful time making new contacts, reconnecting with the Utah writing and art community, and participating on panels. This year was amazing. Participating on panels and helping up-and-coming writers find resources and contacts has allowed me to grow so much over the years, and I love the atmosphere of learning and camaraderie that is always present there. Thank you to the LTUE organizers for having me back again this year, and for all of your hard work behind the scenes to make everything run smoothly.
As I love to do after conferences, here is a shout-out to many of the amazing authors, artists, and friends I had the pleasure of associating with other the weekend:
Angie Lofthouse, Caryn Larrynaga, Ben Ireland, Candace J. Thomace, Kelly and John Olsen, Julie and Jay Barnson (and Rowan, and Brenna), Ben Keeley, Joe Vasicek, Daniel Friend, Kevin and Acacia Haws, Trevor and Destry Downs-Robertson, Scott Tarbet, Jodi Milner, Colton Goodrich, Collin Jensen, Scott Parkin, Howard and Sandra Taylor, Beth Meacham, Nathan Shumate, Lehua Parker, Andrea Pearson, Nihon Joe, Julie Frost, Holli Anderson, James Wymore, Nathan Croft, Jason King, Travis Dunn, Craig Nybo, Cody Langille and the UHWA, the League of Utah Writers, the Leading Edge Magazine, Immortal Works, Futurehouse Publishing, Xchyler Publishing, Fiction Vortex, and so many more!
Thank you all for an amazing weekend! If I get into graduate school in faraway places in the fall, I may not attend this convention for a few years, so this has been a bittersweet experience this time around. I have truly grown so much and found a sense of community with nerdy people like myself by attending and participating at this conference year after year.
To all my readers, friends and associates, do good, and keep writing!
To see all my photos from LTUE 2017, check out my album here on Facebook: bit.ly/2l0TKYk.
I can’t believe LTUE 2017 is less than two weeks away! Here is my schedule for this round. I’m honored and excited to participate again. Keep writing, and I’ll see you there!
February 16-18 at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Provo
- 11:00-11:50 AM: Natural Disasters (Birch)
What makes natural disasters so devastating? How do we mitigate these effects? After a disaster, how do people and civilizations recover? This panel seeks to explain the answers using historical events.
Daniel Friend, James Ganiere (M), Beth Meacham, Sarah E. Seeley
- 12:00-12:50 PM: How to Make a Species: Adaptation and Evolution (Cedar)
This panel will seek to explain how a species (real or fictitious) might come to be through the science of evolution and adaptation.
Derick William Dalton, Helge Moulding (M), Scott R. Parkin, Howard Tayler, Sarah E. Seeley
- 3:00-3:50 PM: Geology…in Space! Or, How to Make a Planet (Aspen)
Using the theories of astronomy and geology to explain how a planet is formed, as well as planetary characteristics that might support life.
Daniel Friend (M), Colton Goodrich, Sarah E. Seeley, Collin Jensen
- 6:00 – 6:50 PM: Book Signing (2 hours)
(Zion, Bryce, Arches, Timpanogos)
*I’ll be in the vendors room at the Immortal Works table all three days!