It was after I’d written my missing girl stories that I read and fell in love with Shirley Jackson’s missing girl novel Hangsaman. I read Ruth Franklin’s incredible biography of Shirley Jackson, A Haunted Life, and then was blown away by The Haunting of Hill House. (One of those books that I thought I’d read, but maybe hadn’t.) I picked up a character that only appears once in the novel, Dudley the caretaker (kind of like the “stealthy valet” in “The Fall of the House of Usher”; those characters fascinate me) and reimagined the story in a flash, with a Dudley that looks like James Dean and a feistier, worldlier (but still unbalanced) heroine. I used to worry that my writing would seem too academic if it referenced other literary works. Now I just acknowledge that it's part of the writer that I am. Literature inspires me.
So thrilled to see my flash out in OCCULUM, which is spooky year round, and in a very short period of time has published tons of writers that I love (among them, flash writers Cathy Ulrich, Jan Stinchcomb, Alina Stefanescu, J. Bradley, Dylan Brie Ducey, and Kathryn McMahon, poets Chloe N. Clark and Stephen Langlois, and many writers I didn’t know before).
Here’s “He Looked Like James Dean.”
OCCULUM also has amazing graphics, with surreal gifs by the artist Bill Domonkos.