My interview in WACO TODAY magazine: “Tapping into darkness”
The just-released October 2011 issue of Waco Today magazine features an interview with me titled “Tapping into darkness: MCC instructor finds niche in horror fiction.” I wasn’t sure how much detail and depth from my conversation with journalist Terri Jo Ryan would make it into the finished piece, but I just came from reading it, and I must say I’m truly impressed at how much she managed to pack in there. The photo taken a local cemetery also looks good, although my facial expression makes it look as if I was doing my best to appear emotionally comatose. (Or maybe that’s how I always look.)
Two minor corrections to statements in the narration that accompanies my words: 1) I don’t suffer from a rheumatic illness (I was talking about somebody in my family), and 2) this year’s installment of the Dark Mirror horror film festival that I created at my college, scheduled for October 28 and 29, will take place not at 7 p.m. but all afternoon and evening each day, with films showing at 3:00, 5:30, and 8:00 p.m.
Presently I’m wondering how the interview with “play” with readers here in religiously conservative Waco, since it features me talking about dark and edgy religious matters. Here are some excerpts:
Had he lived a century ago, Matt Cardin, author of “Dark Awakenings,” (Mythos Books, 2010) might have been a rival of horror/fantasy writer H.P. Lovecraft, instead of his disciple. Had he lived two centuries ago, Cardin might have been classified as a “mad genius,” haunted by a morose muse bent on his eventual despair. But Cardin lives in 21st-century Waco, and he has found a home in some pop subcultures in his fascination with the sacred and profane mysteries of the supernatural. The former religious studies student from southwest Missouri now tags himself an “agnostic Zen Christian, if that’s possible.”
“I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Jungian,” Cardin said, alluding to the famed Swiss psychoanalyst who regarded human beings as essentially religious creatures, and who posited controversially that God had “an evil face” as well as a kindly visage … For Cardin, “The tension between ‘life is a living nightmare’ and ‘life is wonderful’ is immensely compelling to me as a writer,” he said. “So my stories tend to explore this shadowy realm between existential dread and spiritual communion.”
The author credits his own nightmares for pushing him into the field of horror fiction. Visions he suffered during sleep paralysis (in ancient times, a malady blamed on demonic creatures known as incubi and succubi) inform a lot of his fiction, Cardin said.
“The (Judeo-Christian) scriptures have always had a quasi-Lovecraftian horror encoded within them,” he contends … One of his scholarly essays included in “Dark Awakenings” is “Gods and Monsters, Worms and Fire: A Horrific Reading of Isaiah.” In it Cardin ruminates on the recurring hints throughout the Hebrew scriptures that Yahweh, the God of Israel, is infinitely powerful, capricious and deeply terrifying.
Again, the full interview is available online. As for me, I’ll be buying a print copy.