Confessions of my Past, Present and Future
Jeffery X Martin
I tend to think a lot of writers my age, which is none of your business, were introduced to the horror genre through the works of Stephen King. My mother allowing me to read The Shining at an early age certainly helped set the path, but it wasn’t until I got my hot little hands on Night Shift that the horror bug really wrapped itself around my cerebral cortex and began to tighten.
King didn’t use high and lofty language. No “sepulchres by the sea” or “Cyclopean eldritch cities of madness and despair.” Sure, I like those things now, especially the madness and despair, but King spoke in words I could understand. When the Boogeyman came shambling out of the closet in King’s story, I got it, and I got it good. Nightmares followed that story, and a couple of the others. I was also touched by his more human than inhuman tales, like The Girl in the Barn, filled with evocative imagery and the wretched stink of regret. It was then I understood that horror was not just all boogedy-boogedy and cheap scares. It was a state of mind, a place in the heart, and to explore it thoroughly, one had to venture into the most frightening place of all: themselves.