Writers: Inhabit your delusions, embrace your freakishness

Longreads — my favorite online portal to high-quality longform writing — invited me to be their “featured Longreader” for the June 8 edition of their weekly newsletter. Here’s what I sent them:

My favorite longread of the week is A Psychotronic Childhood, by Colson Whitehead, in The New Yorker. Whitehead and I grew up right in the same era (the 1970s and 80s), and his description of a childhood spent roaming the lurid matrix of cable TV’s alternate universe and the gothic stacks of the video rental age, when you could stumble across life-changing fare like The Devil’s Rain and Dawn of the Dead and Videodrome with no way to contextualize and thus defang it by running to IMDB or Wikipedia, gives me shivers of recognition. Then there’s his truly moving account of being philosophically and artistically educated by these kinds of films — some of them high-quality but most of them residing somewhere below gutter-level — since they liberated his creativity by teaching him that it’s perfectly okay, and in fact spiritually invaluable if you’re an artist or writer, “to fully inhabit one’s delusions, to give in to every kooky aspect of one’s freakishness.” Words to live by, truly.

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD, GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES, and HORROR LITERATURE THROUGH HISTORY.

Posted on June 19, 2012, in Writing & Creativity and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Yes, the internet does have a way of un-weirding our minor epiphanies. Good article.

  2. One of its most useful and winsome roles, methinks.

  3. Videodrom – and Cronenberg in general – really hit my brain like a ton of bricks. I look forward to reading the article. Thanks for sharing this!

    • You’re welcome, and I fully and heartily ditto your comments about Cronenberg and Videodrome. I first saw that movie on HBO as a teen in the 80s, today I’m astonished to reflect on the way that kind of outrageous and transgressive (in all possible senses) cinematic art was infiltrating the collective psyche and nervous system of people, including young people, everywhere.

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