Category Archives: writing

Shallow Grave (part 8)

Shallow Grave

Part 8

Thadd Presley

I never had to sign my name in blood to hear the voices. The voices have always been in my head, loud and clear, before the man came. While in my early teens, I listened to what they told me while dreaming of the day I would publish their lives in my stories.

I never thought I would publish a book every year? I didn’t know the public would enjoy the stories as much as they do. It never occurred to me that I had a future doing what I loved. I didn’t believe in myself, which is why I took the deal – if that’s what it was. I swear to you I didn’t realize at the time.

The voices didn’t care one way or the other. They were part of my life and I accepted them for what they were: a universe of characters swirling in my head, living out their lives for me to document. After the man talked with me, the voices became louder over the years, and now they grow more commanding everyday.

It seems lately that I don’t have a moment of quiet.

Usually, the voices took their turn. I wrote their stories and, once I had their voices on the page, they would quieten down again. Some had overlapping stories, since many of them lived in the same area, practically the same town. But, lately — and especially on nights like tonight — no amount of writing, no matter how much I wrote, could quiet the voices. They grew louder and louder. Underneath I heard a deeper fear than usual.


I began writing early this evening, my regular time, because I wanted to finish a story contracted through a horror magazine that my publisher told me would really pay off in the long run. I needed to get it written so that I could write my column for the local newspaper. But, it never became possible. I have been constantly interrupted by a small female voice. Mingled within her lightly spoken words has a loud cracking voice of an elderly man. They have kept up a running dialog in my head all evening and after just a few hours, they had taken over my head completely. I heard nothing but what was happening in their world.

Lydia, don’t you love me?” the old man asked again, possibly for the twentieth time. He spoke with a cracked voice between labored breaths. I clearly saw the bedroom and hospital bed. An oxygen hose hung loosely below his nose. A crown of billowing white hair ringed his head.

Yes, I do Papaw, very much. Now, please, you should sleep. It’s coming up on three in the morning.”

Yes, I thought, please go to sleep. Please, leave her alone and let me get back to my story.

But, Lydia dear, I can’t sleep, darling. Not while he’s here. He’ll take me away if I do. I know he will.”

She stood at the bedroom door looking in on her grandfather. Her face looked pale because of the wet, black mascara trails streaming from her eyes. “There is no one here except us.” She spoke, trying to calm him. She was worried about him not sleeping, because she’d seen this delusion worsen without proper rest.

Shallow Grave (part 7)

Shallow Grave

part 7

Thadd Presley

 

Whether I decided what type of life I wanted to live before I was born or decided through a series of choices made over a number years, does it really matter? I suppose if I had the choice to be bound by Fate or chose my life, I would chose to live a life determined by Fate. Otherwise, I would have to accept responsibility of my choices.

For years, I compared my life against the lives of my friends and family. I realized the same pattern appearing again and again in the their lives. It seemed as if they lived the same day, week, or month in a repeating loop. I felt bad for them, looked down on them, and even thought they were stupid. Something had to be wrong with them. At least, that’s what I thought at the time. But, I realized that they didn’t chose their life, just as the major decisions I thought I had made in my life seemed to be worked out by the time I got the chance to act. All the stress I placed on myself while trying to decide what to do was a waste of time ad energy. The things I wanted most in my my life, once I decided that I really wanted them, were simply waiting for me in the right places. College was there, my career was there, my wife was there, my children were there. Does that mean I was powerless? It seems the only decision I ever really had to make was: be alive.

So, was my life was out of my hands? Sometimes it seemed that way. The many distractions were always lying in wait to take me away from my work, not a moment went by that someone close to me failed to suggest “this” or “that” thing we should do, and for the most part, I was able to roll with the punches and dodged the big ones somehow just before it was too late. I don’t know how it all came together.

Maybe I wanted to believe this because it would mean I wasn’t responsible the decisions in my life. It would free me me from the guilt I’ve felt for so long. But, even while it seemed to be possible, I knew it wasn’t true. I knew I was responsible for the things I did and there was nothing I could be ashamed of more than being afraid to face up to my decisions. I could have chosen a different path if I wanted and I probably should have. I could have been a different person if I wanted.

But, I chose to do all the things I did for a reason. I wanted to get all the things I ever wanted, and because of that I’ve had nightmares for most of my adult life. I’ve feared for my immortal soul every time the lights went out and I stood alone crying out to God for some sign that I’ve still got a soul to cry for.

There were times when I claimed responsibility for all the sins I committed only because I meant I was responsible for the good things that happened in my life as well. It sounded shallow and weak even then, but that’s who I was. I wanted to look big in the eyes of some people, but not everyone.

I saw clearly what fame looked like early on and steered clear of it because it was interfering and imposing. A shadowy figure didn’t have to tell me that I didn’t want to be on David Letterman. That was my choice and it was an easy choice.

A pact with the devil wasn’t the reason I kept my career to myself. The people close to me knew what I did and sometimes knew where I went, but only when they needed to know what I was doing. There wa was no good reason to tell everyone what I did and how I spent my days. I chose not to look for adulation or seek out false praise from people who thought they knew me.

I wanted to be able to live in my small town and remain as low key as possible. It was important to me, my wife, my kids, and my own sanity. Everything depended on my ability to be a normal person, and to be able to live a normal life in my home town.

I didn’t want my name in the tabloids, the gossip pages, all the scandal rags. There was a class of people – a sub-human species of man – who lived off other people; the moochers hunt weaker people and eat everything left behind; the leeches attach themselves onto a person and suck the life out of them, usually it is painless; and then there are the parasites who find their way into a person who has achieved a level of success higher than they are capable.

The prospect of these people getting to me or my family and ruining our lives to make themselves rich turned the mansions and bright lights of Hollywood and New York into mausoleums for hollow-eyed corpses and I didn’t want to be part of it. So, if things turned out the way they did simply because I signed my name on the dotted line, that was just part of my life. Not all of it. I’ve done so much more than that single act.

Shallow Grave part 6

Shallow Grave

(Part 6)

by Thadd Presley

 

Over the years, following my first novel “Shallow Grave” there has always been one nagging question: Was the book a product of my imagination or did I sell my soul for it? Late at night, as the fear of hell and eternal damnation seem the realest, I tell myself that I’d know if I’d sold my soul? It wouldn’t be something I could forget or suppress. After all, how could selling my soul be so easy? It’s not like I have a receipt laying around in case I didn’t get everything I ever wanted.

While the book has done very well and led me to a good career, the money hasn’t exactly been in the millions. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many of the nicer places in North America, Canada included, more than I ever thought I would actually, and I spent time in the most famous European hot spots. Through publisher conferences, book signings, and writer retreats I’ve seen much of the world.

During the release of the second book, I was even fortunate enough to take my family to Ireland and just a year later we spent a month in Australia together. It’s been great.

More books followed, proving my success wasn’t a fluke, more than enough to convince me that my accomplishments were my own. Sells were enough to keep my children in college and the family comfortable, although we weren’t able to take vacations every year and I certainly never become famous.

In fact, after the first few late night talk shows and half a dozen book signings beside the leaders in the horror genre, I realized I didn’t want to be a famous person. Fifteen minutes was more than enough. Any more attention would have caused problems between my ego and the antisocial disorder that had been working so well for me. I was a writer after all, not an entertainer, and I wanted things to remain just as they had been all along.

But, that’s just where the fear found it’s greatest foothold. During all those sleepless nights, if I was fortunate enough to sleep at all, the nightmares and horrors were just beyond the veil of consciousness. No matter how sure I was of my innocence, the fear always found a piece of solid ground large enough to support the weight of it’s accusations. Often where the fog of memory and shadow of guilt came together, I’d find myself facing certain truths that convicted me thoroughly and deeply.

I never wanted fame. I didn’t write to attain a fortune. I wrote because I wanted to have a writer’s life. I wrote so I could find a woman who would someday become a loving wife. Together, I wanted us to become comfortable with a family.

As I am often reminded by the black and faceless accusers, who derail my dreams into darkness and depravity: I got everything I wanted. Everything I could reasonably ask for and expect to receive has been delivered into my life on time and in just the right amount, as if I ordered it direct from a warehouse.

Shallow Grave (part 1)

Shallow Grave

(part 1)

by  Thadd Presley

The wind blew out of the woods and though the window, ruffling the curtains, heightening my awareness of the strangely warm night. I had been writing for three hours every night for the past week, feeling more at home at my desk than I had in months. I was becoming more involved in my writing and the newest character, Markus, was finally going to escape the town and the evil I’d created for him so long ago in the short stories written in my youth. The writing had suddenly become effortless and each scene fell out of my mind so easily that I didn’t realize I’d slipped back into an ongoing story I never finished. Actually, I’ve hadn’t tried to finish the story and for over a decade I stayed away from it, dodging every scene that formed in my mind. But tonight, the click-clack of the typewriter keys calmed and somehow soothed the story out of me. I remembered a time when the typewriter was the only thing that quieted the voices in my head. The voices and scenes that returned to me tonight  were directly from the origin of my stories which took place in the same fictional town.

Lately, the voices for these long lost stories had become so loud that they were nothing more than a constant noise I couldn’t escape. I’d written nothing new in so long I was beginning to worry. I knew the only relief from the burden was getting the stories out of my head and onto the paper that I hoped would hold them forever.

Being a professional writer, I often took my writer’s curse in stride and learned how to use it to my advantage. I always told myself that I was lucky to have these voices, although it was sometimes troublesome, it was part of being a writer and, knowing that, I welcomed it.

In my work, it never seemed strange to hear voices and write down what they told me. Many of the voices came through as dialog, but others told me about their lives, their families, and I saw it as my job to document what they said. In some ways, in many ways, I was a journalist and biographer for the people and places that resided in my heart and mind. I made it my life’s work to tell the stories of those that lived and died in my head.

Does this seem strange? It might seem lunacy to those who don’t write stories, create music, or perform any other kind of art. Also, I realized that it’s not just artists who hear voices. I think most all of us have a nagging voice in our head. After all, my thoughts come through in the form of a sound. My ideas have never appeared before my mind’s eye on a computer screen. The voices, the people, the words become part of a process that drives the ideas that make  life worth living.

I always heard the voices and for a long time I didn’t mind having these strange people living in my head. It all changed when I was in the seventh grade. It occurred to me suddenly that I didn’t know if the voices were other versions of myself or if they came from somewhere outside of me. I decided I wanted to be a writer around that time and I’m not sure why, but the voices had much to do with the decision.

Whatever reason it came about, all I can say is that it’s become my career and I’ve been very lucky to have a job that I mostly enjoy. After all, not many people get to document the lives and secrets of imaginary people.
My love for writing has been very strong ever since, but I was often hesitant to write about the depravity of some lives and the gruesome themes of others. It was a good friend of mine during college who told me that it was a gift and I’d be a fool to not follow every trail and embrace it, no matter where it took me.

Years ago, before I realized what my future was going to be, I tried to talk it over with my best friend. I’d already told him the story before, but it never came out the way I intended. Perhaps, he thought I was trying to brag about my chance to publish n a back door fashion and that might have been a tad bit true, but mostly, I think, he thought I was lying. Then one night, I finally got it all out to him.

“Greg,” Allen shouted one night while we were drinking in the local college bar, “it’s time to show your talent. Come on and just publish the novel. You said yourself that it’s finished. What are you scared of? You chicken or…” He didn’t want to continue because we were friends and he knew it wasn’t his place to dictate my career, but he knew me well enough to call me on my bullshit.

“I’m not chicken. I just don’t know if I should do it. My mom’ll want a copy and she’ll not understand why I’d write something like that. It’s not my style at all.”

“Do you want to be a big time writer or not?”

“Yes,” I answered. “I want to be published, but I don’t want people to think I’m a weirdo or become someone who thinks of evil shit all the time. It’s bad enough to be typecast as a horror writer when there’s so much more to write about.”

He only smiled at me.

“Everyone knows there’s more to a writer than what he writes.”

It’s always been hard to argue with Allen, because he always knew me so well and I he usually had my best interest at heart. “But, my mom.”

“But my mom,” he mocked. “But my … What the fuck does she have to do with this? You are the writer. She knows the talent you have. Believe me, she’ll understand. I think she’d be more disappointed if you didn’t follow your dreams because of what you thought she would think.” He laughed then. “She knows it’s only a story. It’s not like it’s a biography.” He took a moment to finish his pint. “She’ d want you to publish and realize your dream. She’d want you to be happy.”

But, he was wrong on one point. It was a biography. A biography of someone in my head and that person is part of me. So, in a small way, the stories are my biography. I shrugged the thought off and took a drink of my beer.  “Yeah, you’re probably right,” I said. “I just don’t want her to be shocked when she reads it. For God’s sake Allen, it’s the weirdest story I’ve ever written.”

“But you have a publisher ready to roll.”

“Everybody has a publisher ready to roll. It’s call Amazon. They’ ll publish anything on demand.”

“You know what I mean. You’ve got an income stream waiting to be utilized and you’re…”

“Yeah, I’m behind on rent. Just say it.”

“Damn it, she’d want you to do this. Imagine if she knew you were afraid of publishing a story because you thought she’d not like it. She’s a grown woman and has probably read books just as weird.”

“I know.” My excuses were running low at this point and I needed the money.

“Then quit wasting time. The moon is full and the devil is waiting.”

“Don’t say it like that. The voices are not the devil.”

“Well, then, correct me if I’m wrong. Last time I talked to you, didn’t you say that someone spoke to you out of the darkness and promised you fame and fortune? I think you said that the voice said anything you want could be yours.”

“Yes, but that was just my imagination. I’d been awake for days writing on the novel and probably having delusions. It was probably just sleep paralysis.”

“But, you did it. Didn’t you? You listened to the voice and now the public is waiting to buy your book. Money in hand.”

Slowly I took the knife out of my pocket. “I did it with this, you know.”

“Tell me again. Exactly what you did. I want to be rich too.” He was holding his empty glass up to signal the waiter. It seemed as if he was getting ready to hear the story for the first time.

“I’ve told you twice already. It’s just not something I like to –”

“I want to hear it again. Please tell me.” He ordered us each a pint each and when they were  in front of us we took them to a dark, corner booth. He was waiting for me to begin, so I downed half the pint and began the story for him.

Thadd Presley parody of “Bad Company”

A bit egotistical (ego testicle) of me to write a parody with my name in it, but I have to get these things out of my head so I can move forward into new territory.

This little ditty is Bad Company from the band Bad Company. I know Five Finger Death Punch recorded a cover version, but I’m going Old School because I am OS.

 

 

Short stories, always being spun
Best of me, oh is never done
I was born, notebook in my hand
Behind a pen I make my final stand

That’s why they call me
Thadd Presley I came to write
Thadd Presley til the day I day

Novel Goals, deserve all that I’ve caused
Closed the book and threw away the sun
Now these lines, they all bear my name
What I write is my claim to fame

I can here them say
Thadd Presley and I won’t deny
Thadd Thadd Presley until the day I die

Hey, hey

Thadd Presley, I came to write
Thadd PResley til the day I die

Tell me you don’t know how to read
But I’m Thadd Presley
It’s the way I play my words are dirty
Oh some have come across me

Have a Cigar (parody)

I’m sure you know how parodies work. Read the lyrics to the music video. I love Pink Floyd and listen to their music all the time, which is probably why I hear their songs in my head. So, here it be: the parody



Duck in here, dear boy, was that a star?
Was it a cop car? That just passed by
You’ll probably wanna hide
You better not run or fight
They’d love to shoot you
Well I’ve always had a deep respect
And I mean that most sincere
The Blacks are just fantastic
That is really what I think
Oh By the way, my skin’s Pink
And they claim all blacks are the same, boy
We call profiling a race a shame
We just got out
We heard about the shoot out
You gotta get the word out
You owe it to your people
They’ve kill so many we can hardly count
If everyone was just green
They couldn’t tell us apart
It’d be a helluva start
We wouldn’t be such monsters
If we all acted like a human being
And they claim all the blacks are the same, boy
We call profiling a race a shame

Flying Crabs

Flying Crabs

by Thadd Presley

When my mother took her children to the beach
we had the most fun while flying kites high out of reach.
So high and fast they’d fly, soaring above the water
that when  they came down, it was really no bother

For my oldest brother would put them back in the air again.
It was he who discovered the night-time sandy friends.
At dusk the little crabs would come out  in droves.
We caught a bucket full  and took them home

My mother let us keep some because they were small
but did she know what we were planning? no not at all.
The morning came and we took straight to our kites,
latched onto the string, and then put them in flight

The kite hoisted them high into the sky and with stalky eyes
they viewed the world , as the only crabs to ever fly.
Finally they would gather the courage and drop back to the sea
When my mother caught, she broke our kites, and grounded us for two weeks

Sam I Am (to the tune of “Rock you like a Hurricane”)

Sam I Am
(to the tune of:  “Rock You Like A Hurricane” by The Scorpions)

(press play and sing along with the original)

 

I am Daniel – He said to Sam
I am Sam , yeah Sam I Am
Do you like Green eggs and Ham
I do not like that Sam I am

Would you like them here or there
I would not like them here or there
I would not like them any where
I do not like them Sam I am

Sam I am
I don’t like green eggs and ham
Sam I am
I don’t like green eggs and ham

Would you like them in a house
Would you like them with a mouse
I do not like them in a house
I do not like them with a mouse

Would you eat them in a box
Would you eat them with a fox
Would you, could you in a car
Eat them, eat them, here they are

Sam I am
I don’t like green eggs and ham (Are you ready, baby?)
Sam I am
I don’t like green eggs and ham
Sam I am
I don’t like green eggs and ham (Come on, come on, come on, come on)
Sam I am
I don’t like green eggs and ham

I don’t like green eggs and ham

You may like them you will see
You may like them in a tree
You may like them in the rain
Would you try them on a train

You do not like them, so you say
Try them, try them, and you may
If I try them, will you let me be
I will try them, you will see

Sam I am
I do like green eggs and ham (Are you ready, baby?)
Sam I am
I do like green eggs and ham
Sam I am
I do like green eggs and ham (Come on, come on, come on, come on)
Sam I am
I do like green eggs and ham

Thank you
Sam I Am

In the 90’s

In the 90’s

by Thadd Presley

 

No Doubt the 90‘s were a Blur
it felt like we had Faith No More,
but I have found The Cure.

As the Garbage running in my Radiohead basted
near the Soundgarden there was an Everclear Oasis
where many gathered under a Bush beside that Hole
and enjoyed Counting Crows, but only The Black Crows

Sometimes a Jewel or a Prince was found beside The Screaming Trees
And on Green Day you might see Foo Fighters or The Pixies
There were always Barenaked Ladies,
sometimes Alanis Morrisette and Sarah McLachlan

The Offspring between Guns and Roses lived Three Doors Down
at 311 Candlebox Lane across from Marcy’s Playground
and they grew into Beastie Boys
although they were the New Kids On The Block
they became part of The Bloodhound Gang
after all they were Better than Ezra

Because of Jane’s Addiction to Bad Religion
she hung Alice in Chains from Nine Inch Nails
where she would stay until The Presidents of the United States reached Nirvana and began Days of the New

When The Breeders took off their Helmet
and sat in the Silver Chair
waiting for The Flaming Lips of the Incubus
to Ween itself from The Verve Pipe,
The Verve  could then Filter Fuel
from Korn, along with Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Cranberries
for the Sonic Youth in the Soul Asylum

Four Liverpudlian Scoucers

 

I’ve been thinking about the Beatles over the last week. They had so many lessons and good things to teach those who wanted to listen. Not many bands really try to promote their understanding of the world. Instead, it seems today that bands look for something popular and take that on as a way to show their music is relevant.

Obviously, the Beatles were more than just a band. As writers and poets and representatives of peace they gave more to this world than mere song. I often wonder what John Lennon thought about the book “On the Road” written by Jack Kerouac in 1957 or Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” published around the same time. William S. Burroughs published Naked Lunch a few years later, but it was also one of the books contributing to The Beat Generation and could have had something to do with the way John thought about the world.

Did John Lennon fall under the spell of the Beat Writers? I don’t like to think so. I believe he was a kindred spirit to the Beat Writers and his ideas were his own, even if his music came after. I think that if nothing was published in the 1950, John Lennon and George Harrison would have been more or less the same people.

Two Beatles Remain

Four Liverpudlian Scoucers

Sadly, two Beatles have passed away
It’s said that two remain
But, even to this day
some’re not sure if Paul’s the same

Like lyrics scribbled on a crumpled page
Intact and translated from a bygone age
There’s simplicity in the beautiful way
Their words still convey what they’re meant to say.

They’ll always be bright, shining examples
on the vast landscape of burning albums
no longer cryptic symbols of things invisible
But ancient fables and parables made simple

 

 

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”
― John Lennon

“It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”
― George Harrison

“I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, ‘The Beatles did’.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake

“I declare that The Beatles are mutants. Prototypes of evolutionary agents sent by God, endowed with a mysterious power to create a new human species, a young race of laughing freemen.”
― Timothy Leary