This post is a bit more ‘controversial’ than my normal ones, in that I talk about something I swore I’d never talk about… religion. I also will not talk about politics, and will never bring up the New York Yankees and World Series victories.
A few years ago I was at a horror convention, hanging out after hours with 7 or 8 other horror authors. We might have had way too much to drink. OK, I know I had at least three beers so I was probably lit. Someone had just had a short story they’d written rejected by a magazine (this is a few years back, obviously) and the one thing that stuck with the writer was the note back from the would-be publisher: ‘Your religious overtone might scare away some readers, too controversial’.
The funny part was the story was actually pro-religion. I forget the main gist of it, but I remember a clergyman saving people from a minion of Satan and sacrificing himself so everyone could live, but then God ends up saving him… something like that. Very Happy Ending. Now, if it had been rejected as being cliche or too cheesy happy in the end the author would have no problem with it. The fact his ‘religious overtone’ scared people away made him confused. I remember all of us being guarded when talking about his story, because we were all afraid to voice our opinion about what we individually believed in. This always stayed with me, because we were all drunk and talking stupid crap all night and goofing on each other, telling dirty jokes and being pretty vulgar. Once religion was added to the mix we all got quiet.
I was born Roman Catholic but haven’t been to church unless I’ve had to (weddings/funerals) in years, probably since I was a teen. I’ve gone through life believing in God, not believing in God, wondering if there was a God, and anything else over my 43 years. I’ve had a lot of questions and had some poor priests and religious people in my life who’ve given me bad information or simply told me I was not being faithful by asking so many questions, which turned me off.
I also think, as a horror writer, it is almost a given to think being Agnostic or an Atheist is the norm. I only know of a few horror authors who will talk about religion in a positive light. Most won’t talk about it at all (like myself before this post). Everyone has their own beliefs and I have no problem with it. I’m not really even sure what this post is about, to be honest.
I also wonder: is it just horror authors who shy away from religious talk? Or is it deeper, with creative types in general who seem to think a certain way about religion? I’ve preached myself long and hard about keeping your ideals about religion and politics off of social media so you don’t alienate potential readers. It’s a no-win situation, but I felt I had to get this out for some reason.
I believe there is a God in this moment. I guess it’s good enough for me. Things in my life have been great, and the people I’ve met in the last year or so have only made me a better person. For me, it seems when I believe God is up there and watching me, I feel better. Is it real? I guess we’ll all find out in the end. I’d like to think God is real and he’ll meet me in Heaven and ask me to sign a copy of one of my books for him, although I’m sure he’ll want to have a stern talking about my zombies trying to rape people.