But I'm just David Bain. And while I have indeed been known to read The New Yorker from time to time, my goal is more to be a combination of Stephen King, Joe Lansdale and, I dunno, whoever is currently topping the Amazon Kindle Hard Boiled Western Science Fiction Occult Magical Realism chart.
Actually, my goal is to write what I want when I want, genre and classifications and literary posturing and positioning and propriety be damned. My only self-restriction is that I never, ever phone it in. I'm relentless in giving each story, each essay my all.
It is said by those more vociferous than I that MFA programs in general sap the sap from your writing - that, body snatcher-like, they suck any last bit of humanity and creativity from your soul and leave your writing an empty, spiritless husk, your stories dead-eyed zombie clones doing the conformity shuffle into the hallowed pages of The Not Even Read by the Contributors Review.
I am happy to report that was not my experience at Columbia College Chicago. I won't go into it here, but CCC's Fiction Writing program really, truly did focus on expanding imagination and technique, genre and classifications and literary posturing and positioning and propriety be damned. (Or darned, at least.)
"War Wounds" stems from an assignment in Mort Castle's "Writing Historical Fiction" class. Can I say enough about what a wonderful man, mentor, editor - and, most importantly, writer - Mort Castle is? No, I cannot. Go buy New Moon on Water, or Cursed Be The Child and find out for yourself. He's exactly everything I aspire to in terms of scholarly and editorial work too - check out his seminal On Writing Horror: A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association or his simply stunning annotated version of Bram Stoker's Dracula or Shadow Show, one of the best anthologies (in any genre) of recent years, a collection of tales honoring Ray Bradbury, which Mort co-edited with Bradbury biographer Sam Weller.
But I was going to tell you about "War Wounds" and how I came to write it. Simply this: Mort gave members of the class odd, out-of-context snippets of real, historical documents, in my case lines of correspondence between brothers in the Civil War. Our job was then to immerse ourselves in the historical era surrounding the documents and write a piece of fiction incorporating the snippers. Yes, certain lines from "War Wounds" are lifted direct from history. I was rather pleased with the result. (And I'm humbled to say I think Mort was too.)
I've used this technique several times since - if not quoting actual documents, then using them as inspiration. The story of the past is more or less firmly written in the history books and in the primary source documents remaining. But the fictional past remains endlessly plumbable, endlessly viable, endlessly fascinating and alive.
The collection is an exclusive ebook, available only to members of The Bain Insiders Club.
David Bain brings you four stories from the dark side of the past, weird tales of the occult and supernatural that look back on horrors personal and historical. When we look into the dark mirror, we see the present, but reflect on everything that got us there - for there are always shadows in the mirror, shadows deeper than those in the surface reality the glass allegedly reflects, ghosts going back and back and back...
The collection also includes:
Tom & Huck's Trade - A gross-out take on Twain's classic tale...
The Wolpertinger - A Bavarian Ghost Story - A fallen jagermeister encounters the legendary beast of Bavarian hunting lore.
The Preggers - Young, unwed and pregnant in the 1950s makes for a monstrously uncomfortable situation
with more to come...