Edinburgh, City of the Dead and the power of storytelling

Even before I came to Scotland, I was already familiar with ghost stories and dark history of the country. Fascinating as it is coming from the pages of a book, it is however a completely different feeling when you actually find yourself on the streets of those cities that each hold a different fragment of that darkness that made Edinburgh known as the one city with the darkest history and chain of events in Scotland, if not in the world. I visited Edinburgh a few times, walking down the Royal Mile and admiring the greatness of the Scott Monument, among other things, and only recetnly I stumbled upon a book that tells the story of this place in a different way than other historical factual driven books. It is entitled Edinburgh, City of the Dead and is compiled of several chapters that begin with telling a story of historical characters as an introduction to a more complex telling of the dark events that made Edinburgh what it is today, with dark tourism rising each year offering its visitors tours through the dark corners where ghosts were still present, eager to tell their story to whoever wants to listen. Now, I do read a lot, but what fascinated me about this book is the genuine storytelling approach of the author, Jan-Andrew Henderson, to the overall historic topic. As I already mentioned, each chapter begins with telling a story of different event which is important for the part of history covere there, and it is preciesly that kind of a novel-like retelling of history that caught my attention. And mind you, dark history it is! from witch trials to Templars to today’s existence of Freemasons,other secret societies, Wiccans, Satanists and such, you can’t help wondering how  can this city be so remarkably beautiful and so monstrous at the same time. I read the book in one evening, and now I am eager to find out even more about the topic, about the way of life that actually still exists today, but in a more civilised fashion, about the ghosts that still haunt dark alleys and old houses, some of them demolished in the 19th century, while others survived and were converted into shops and interactive guided tours like the ones of Edinburgh Dungeons. And it is all because of a book 🙂

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Did you know that Edinburgh today has the greatest and rising population of people practising Paganism and Satanism, and people practising magic, either black or white? And that sometimes, even though they still do it in secret, secluded places, sometimes they even advertise by giving adds in newspapers? That is a fun and interesting fact! But the point of mentioning all this is the fact that the city has embraced that darkness connected to it and converted it into educational and fun events for everyone who visits Edinburgh, and that most of the people living there are going back to their roots of respecting nature rather than other religions imposed to them throughout history and in the modern world today.

After this, I will definitely have a different feel of Edinburgh next time I visit it! Can’t wait! 🙂

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REVIEW: Modern Mythmakers: 35 Interviews with Horror & Science Fiction Writers and Filmmakers By Michael McCarty

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We all grew up eagerly absorbing the works of Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, John Carpenter and the likes, allowing their words and actions to shape our lives, and our character. They all taught us to appreciate literature, film and art in any other form. We witnessed the birth of the dark and the weird, and we realized that our nightmares can come to life and haunt us through novels, short stories, feature films and representations on the big screen. Modern Mythmakers is a thorough account of life’s works of some of the most famous and legendary writers, directors and actors presented in 35 interviews (with 5 additional interviews included in the eBook edition). It raises nostalgia in the minds of science fiction and horror fans and has the ability to create a generation of new fans and followers, in that way continuing to build a long lasting tradition and showing appreciation for some of the classics of science fiction and horror, that helped us form a new way of looking at the world in which we live in. Interesting interviews, masterfully compiled together, give us an almost historical overview of the development of horror and science fiction genres from their birth, through early years and puberty, and firmly growing up in one amazing creature, an antagonist in the arts. Author Michael McCarty successfully combines his love for the genre and documenting things as they are through a set of interesting and humorous questions, each set beginning with a quote that highlights the importance of an interview in question. This approach to interviewing his victims is particularly interesting, especially when following and comparing different answers given to a few of the same questions that McCarty poses to authors, directors, actors and scream queens throughout the collection. It gives us an insight into various and multi-layered relationships between filming, writing and acting that the readers can relate to as well. This collection also offers advice on different styles of writing, and gives an account of some of the important issues and differences when it comes to publishing one’s own work in the past and today, which is a recommendation enough to make it a part of the regular cast on your bookshelves and on your e-readers. A concise and rich overview like this one, full of information and shared experiences on how it is to be a film maker and a writer, should be a compulsory reading for fans and researchers, for future generations and genre enthusiasts, equally bearing in mind an important message communicated through this collection: always try and do your best, and never give up on your dreams.

Get Michael McCarty’s MODERN MYTHMAKERS right now for the special launch price of only $0.99: http://getbook.at/ModernMythmakers

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This Writer is Sponsored by Herself

This is an interesting topic regarding money and writing. I never thought about it like that. It was always me that had to support myself no matter what I do, and having a man occasionally invading my life didn’t change that. Either they didn’t have the money for such endeavors as sponsoring their loved one to become a writer, or they had money, but I didn’t want them to do a thing like that. It was always a normal thing for me, that if I needed money, I would go and get a job and earn it myself. Basically people would call it pride, but I call it a normal thinking due to the fact that I am the only one who took care of myself and learned how to do it since I left home at 18. I’m 32 now, and have gained valuable experience so far in that field, at first financing my MA doing the job that I hated but that somehow stays with you because working behind a bar in my country is basically the quickest job that you can find and it pays well, when they decide to pay you. Wild wild West out there. But still, it is an experience that you learn from and you learn about people, management, even politics and sometimes the forbidden things. Well, often. That mixture of learning everything about it over a period of time, and all the other perks that come with the territory, encouraged me to start writing again, and I am really happy about that. Just to be clear, I am my own sponsor. Like this article says, I am not looking for a man for his money or sponsorship, I am looking for a man who will be brave enough not to do it, and respect my decisions about it, brave enough to handle me for a longer period of time. I’m being optimistic:) And if he is dark, tall, handsome, intelligent, weird..in one word, special, it would help;)

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

the-lovers-tarot-card So I now look for partners with a job, a car, a driver’s license, and a good sense of humor.

Kelly Sundberg, Brevity‘s managing editor, responds to recent posts here and on Salon:

For almost nine years, I was married to a man who was our family’s primary source of income. During this time, I finished my undergraduate degree, had a baby, completed an MFA, and wrote the first draft of my memoir. You could say—I guess—that my then-husband sponsored me during that time. Still, although he was the primary breadwinner, I didn’t spend my days lounging around sipping mimosas in puddles of sunshine while lazily scrawling my manuscript. Things were still tough, and the day that I walked out on my marriage, I said firmly and clearly to anyone who would listen: I will never be financially dependent on my partner again.

Judging by my Facebook…

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Back from the dead!

It has been a long time since I posted anything. Even though January is my month, we didn’t get along this year, being ill, lacked focus, working hard…but we’ve come to an agreement in the end, and I am so glad that my focus is back. I started reading again a lot, which helps me focus on the tasks I need to finish. I am really grateful for writers like Neil Gaiman, because his quote: Finish things!, was an encouragement enough to start doing it. I wrote a couple of reviews, abstracts, stories and I am currently launching my own freelance photography business!The excitement is back, and so am I 🙂

I came across this quote today:

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…and that is exactly how I feel, regarding my writing and all my academic and non-academic activities. When I was younger, I always had something to say, but I was too shy (imagine that!) to do anything about it. As I was growing up, and because of different experiences and events that shaped my personality, that shyness changed into “I want to tell stories, I want to encourage and inspire people, I want to make a difference!” I realized that I was already doing that, by staying true to myself and being brave enough to change my life for the better. After I left Croatia to pursue my future elsewhere, people were messaging me and saying that I inspire them to make that hard step toward changing their own lives, and it was a beautiful feeling!  It still is, no matter the problems or obstacles I often encounter, but then again, I don’t think I know how it is when life is simple for you, because for me it has always been to choose, unwillingly at times, the road less travelled. But that is how you build your own character, your own identity, by making choices, by trying hard and by not giving up. Lesson learned. Onto the harder Level. I always did love a challenge 🙂