To be fair, I can't really limit to one & be fair to everything that's been thrown into the soup of this psyche. So, as Inigo Montoya once said: "Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up."
I grew up in a Catholic, parochial-school environ that strictly limited our reading content. But Poe & Milton somehow flew under the radar, and I gravitated to (read as "clung to") Dore's woodcuttings immediately. I picked up every spooky story I could get my grubby paws on at the public library. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was the foremost. Stephen Gammell's illustrations are still *the most harrowing* to be committed to paper. Ever. Anyone who wants to draw spooky pictures should start there. Always.
When I was nine,
That was the first of a few, comprehensive, life-changing culture shocks. 'Night Shift' broke the cherry, then 'It' blew my muthertrucking mind. Then 'Watchers' by the beautiful Dean Koontz. Then back to King with 'Cycle of the Werewolf' which introduced me to the incomparable Bernie Wrightson.
Then, at thirteen, two things erupted simultaneously into my life; Vampire the Masquerade 2nd edition & James O'Barr's 'The Crow', which had been published two years prior. It was Tim Bradstreet at the forefront of the other VTM creatives and O'Barr that really laid the groundwork for the type of art I wanted to create. Without them there be no me.
It wasn't until young adulthood that I would come across H.P. Lovecraft and realize that he was the father of all the other creatives I'd fallen in love with, Poe aside. But that's a whole 'nother post in itself.
I'm not even touching on the music that's kept me alive and at least passably sane up 'till now. But here's the current playlist that I listen to while writing.
1. cwn anwnn, Glenn Danzig.
2. Cry Little Sister, Marilyn Manson (initially G Tom Mac).
3. Bad Moon Rising, Mourning Ritual (initially CCR).
4. The Morrigu, Glenn Danzig.
5. Welcome Home, Metallica.
6. 12 Black Rainbows, Type O Negative.
7. The Coldest Sun, Danzig.
8. Ruiner, NIN.
9. The Reflecting god, Marilyn Manson
10. The Thing that Should Not Be, Metallica.
11. We Who Are Not As Others, Sepultura.
12. Stigmata, Ministry.
13. Wish, NIN.
14. Becoming, Pantera.
15. Archetype, Fear Factory.
16. Dizzy, Ours.
17. Lullabye, the Tea Party.
18. Dominion Day (extended), Gary Numan.
19. Beloved, VNV Nation.
20. Running Up That Hill, Placebo (Kate Bush).
21. Right where it Belongs, NIN.
22. Praise You in this storm, Casting Crowns.
23. Dead Heaven, Gary Numan.
24. Opiate, TooL.
25. Tired of Being Alive, Danzig.
26. Turn, Therapy?
27. Every day is Halloween, Ministry.
28. Blasphemous Rumors, Depeche Mode.
29. I stay away, Alice in Chains.
30. Straight Life, Therapy?
31. Haunted, Bella Morte.
32. Children of the Grave, White Zombie (Black Sabbath).
33. Diary of a Lovesong, APC (Ozzy Osbourne, the Cure).
34. Ash, Murder by Death.
35. By Your Side, Tenth Avenue North.
36. The Call of Cthulhu, Metallica.
37. World Coming Down, Type O Negative.
If you’d like to take the playlist for a spin, here it be; https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4-ZDffv_c_Hvmq4uOCgVtaAOQc2JArII and if it inspires you, let me know in the comments!
'till next week!
P.S. - A huge thanks to great friends over at my haunted Patreon, especially Tre Heckerman & Mary Anne Shwartz for their support and fellowship!