In this podcast Michael J. Seidlinger talks about transgressive fiction, horror video games, replay value with books, and much more.
About Michael J. Seidlinger
Michael J. Seidlinger is a Filipino American author of Anybody Home? (CLASH Books, 2022), Scream (Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons), and other books. He has written for, among others, Wired, Buzzfeed, Thrillist, Goodreads, The Observer, Polygon, The Believer, and Publishers Weekly.
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The Demonic Brilliance Film Festival
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Michael David Wilson 0:28
Welcome to This Is Horror Podcast for readers, writers and creators. I'm Michael David Wilson. And every episode alongside my co host, Bob Pastorella. We chat we're masters of horror, about writing, life lessons, creativity, and much more. Today's guest is Michael J. S. He is a Filipino American author of books, including any body home, and my pet serial killer. And Baba and I had such a fascinating conversation with Michael, such a down to earth guy said very intelligent and had so much to say about books about life. And indeed, as you'll see from the start about video games, because when we were talking about those early life lessons growing up, we quickly got into video games and you know how it goes if you get me and Bob talking about horror video games, then we'll go down that rabbit hole and that is exactly what happened. But you're gonna get so much out of this conversation, we're going to talk a little bit about writing transgressive fiction and exactly what that means what is transgressive fiction. We're also going to talk about replay value with books, and indeed, abandoning books that you don't vibe with. We'll also find out about the time that Michael was in a hardcore band. So if all that sounds good, Sakhalin curse, it's gonna be a hell of a show. But before any of that, a little bit of an advert break.
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Bob Pastorella 2:51
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Michael David Wilson 3:23
Now if you haven't done so already, I would love you to become a patron of This Is Horror. This is what keeps the show alive. This is what enables me to do what I'm doing. Say it really would help out if you could become a patron. But we don't just expect charity, we give you a load of great perks. And amongst those is the ability to submit questions to each and every interviewee to get all of these episodes ahead of the crowd. And indeed, to get some bonus podcasts. We've got story on bots, the horror podcast on the craft of writing. We've got the q&a sessions with myself and Bob Pastorella. We've got video cast on camera off record, and a nother Park is to become a member of the writers forum on Discord. And we have a number of writing challenges happening all year. And as it is a new month or it will be soon depending on when you're listening to this. This is the perfect time really to jump in to become a patreon and declare yourself for a Writing Challenge. Do you want to write a novel in 90 days? Do you want to write one short story per week, a novella in a month. It's up to you to challenge you accept but I would love to see you as a patron and I would love you to get involved in a writing challenge. So head over to patreon.com forward slash This Is Horror. I thank you so much for your support. Okay, with that said, let us jump into it. It is Michael J side linger on desses hora. Michael, welcome to This Is Horror.
Michael J. Seidlinger 5:20
Glad to be here.
Michael David Wilson 5:22
We're glad to have you here. And I know to begin with, let's talk about any early life lessons that you learned growing up
Michael J. Seidlinger 5:31
early life lessons Oh, well, the you know, I was kind of like a wimp. As a little kid, I was afraid of everything. So I think I think like a lot of the lessons that I learned early on was to sort of tackle those fears and wondering why I was like afraid of, I'm still afraid of, of the water that hasn't gone away. I used to be afraid of like everything, including like movies like Jurassic Park, but then I went towards that and try to figure out why. You know, and I was able to whittle down my phobias, my fears over those years. So I mean, like, I feel like a lot of the growth period as a little small, you know, we're talking like eight years old 910, you know, like, around there with a pre up to preteen age, a lot of it was just realizing that you're gonna have to probably be a little bit uncomfortable or, and or a little challenged by things in order to grow in order to become, you know, more of that person you hope to be like when you run or cower away from something, that's usually a bad choice, it's a choice that will result in you never growing, never really, you know, maturing. And I think that was one that was like, amongst many other smaller lessons that probably get packaged underneath that. It was definitely, that's definitely something that I do recall right off the top of my head that I knew, like, pretty early going that I have to do I have to push back at this, I have to kind of understand this otherwise, I'm going to still be the same, you know, shy, kind of a, you know, a fear of numerous fears and phobias, like a little kid, that's just, that's completely, you know, social, like, outside are kind of thing like, I was always, you know, horrible social skills as well. And so like, Yeah, I think it was all about realizing that, that risk, that feeling of discomfort is actually a good thing. It may not be good when you're going through it. But on the other side, you know, when it's all said and done, then you'll realize that you're better for it.
Michael David Wilson 7:29
Yeah, it's interesting how when we're adults, we actually realize that, well, if you're feeling too comfortable all the time, you're probably not progressing and you're not growing. So you do need some of that discomfort. But of course, there's a limit.
Michael J. Seidlinger 7:45
Huh, exactly. I mean, we all have our limits. Yeah. But um, it growth growing does involve all of that, right? Like we why like with writing and all that to like, if it's maybe some people, how can you dial it in and like, write a certain book over and over again, but um, nine times out of 10, you'll hear writers talk about how they ended up writing what they write because it was sort of a new challenge, you know, it was it was a new obsession. And you have to in order to grow as a writer and to get better as a writer, you have to also do the same thing. You have to kind of put yourself outside of that comfort zone.
Michael David Wilson 8:20
Yeah, yeah, I think so. And in terms of when you were eight years old, and you realized, okay, I need to be challenged I need to face these fears. Was that a pivotal moment or an incident that you know, reframe things?
Michael J. Seidlinger 8:39
Well, so they're like, I mean, I remember a handful of like, things that I mean, like my memories, like both good and bad, like, I feel like it remember my memories like I'll cloudy mess of like images, and I'm like, Oh, these things happen. But in terms of sense of time, it kind of gets lost. But I do recall, like I mentioned before Jurassic Park, I remember watching that in the theater as a kid. And like the Dilophosaurus the scene with Newman, the Newman actor, or whatever way he gets, you know, he's like, trying to flee with the with the samples or whatnot, and it's like a rainstorm and whatnot. He gets he goes off course and ends up with this encounter with the Dilophosaurus I remember being mortally afraid of that like as a kid was like, it just it just got me and I remember like Mortal Kombat to like playing renting Mortal Kombat two on a whim from like Hollywood Video. And I'm putting in my Super Nintendo and then just putting me in the basement at night by myself with like, the atmosphere of that game. It definitely got me as well. Like both times, I'm just like, why? You know? Why is this happening? Like why Why am I so why is this causing this kind of effect? And in both cases, I didn't run away from them. I tried to understand drastic Park and understand why the Dilophosaurus freaked me out so much. And then like Mortal Kombat two is now one of my favorite video games of all time. I mean, it's it's true classic Yeah, but at the time, it was like all that below. And like the Outworld scene, the scene of basically the setting of Mortal Kombat to this sort of weird alter reality, it definitely struck a nerve.
Michael David Wilson 10:10
Yeah, Mortal Kombat two is such a classic and I remember playing that too, and I was just so engrossed and excited by it. It never really scared me. I think that was more when I graduated to the lights of Resident Evil and coarsely a Silent Hill. So, I mean, Jesus Christ, if you reacted badly to Mortal Kombat, to if at that age, you'd have been given a copy of Silent Hill I mean, I don't know if you'd even still be here to this day.
Michael J. Seidlinger 10:43
Exactly. It's what's funny is by the time PlayStation came out, and you know resonable debuted and sound homeless stuff I had already kind of built up that that courage and understanding and I was I bought Silent Hill day one like that, yeah, pay my own. You know, I was a teenager at the time pay for my axe saved up for it, preorder it from electronics boutique. I mean, I wasn't that wasn't day one purchase for me. I was already in I was 100% and resonable. One I was a little late to the party because I didn't have a PlayStation yet. I mean, to this day, like, oh, we could probably nerd out for like five hours if you wanted, like, just me talking about like video games. It's definitely one of my like, sanctuaries when I want to not think about anything, and whatnot want you know, want to do something that doesn't involve writing or whatever. One of my hobbies is definitely video games, not you know, current stuff. And also like, retro I'm in fact, I'm looking at I'm looking at a place original Playstation right now that's to my left over here that I modded with an optical disk emulator. So like it basically run the entire discography, every single game of any worth anyway, is on a single SD card. And it just plays off of that. That's probably what I'm gonna do is before like, pass out after this episode.
Michael David Wilson 11:58
I'm so envious of that. And as Bob will tell you to I mean, we can talk about video games for a long time. It's almost a danger zone that we've mentioned it. So, Leon, This
Michael J. Seidlinger 12:10
Is Horror Podcast, we're not going to talk about horror. We're absolutely gonna geek out on video games for the next five. Yeah, sorry.
Michael David Wilson 12:17
But you know, we've mentioned some horror video games. So it's still passable and longtime listeners, they know that if Resident Evil or silent here, let's mention that, oh, boy, we're going on a bit of a journey here. But I mean, that's great that you got Silent Hill. On day one, I certainly got it really early to I mean, I was addicted before it came out. Because I don't know if it was the same for you. But I bought Metal Gear Solid. And say came with a demo of Silent Hill. Now, the version and the graphics weren't quite as good as it turned out to be in terms of the enemies as I remember it, but god damn the atmosphere and just gonna see if Yeah, yeah,
Michael J. Seidlinger 13:03
it and the fact that the opening scene is, is a great lesson and tension building and kind of that sense of luring the, in this case player but you know, we go say reader, you know, the same situation context, like you're, they throw you in this misty world. And you're like, Okay, I don't know. But it's like, because it's actually linear. It's just hidden behind all that mess. You only have really one place to go. But it has this illusion of of already being lost in the end up down that alleyway that then suddenly transforms into the gritty, alternate world. And then by the time you're at the end, where it's all bloody and gory, and there's that hanging corpse and the little baby babies knives show on this, like, all right, I mean, if you're into horror at all like this is that's just like a textbook case of like, doing it right doing that, like opening scene correctly.
Bob Pastorella 13:51
Yeah, man, you were bringing me back to some very frustrating memories with that game. I was relatively new to video games at the time. And I got it like, probably the first week it came out. And, you know, on the PlayStation One, I had a big reset button. And every time I couldn't beat the kids, I didn't realize that. So I'd hit reset and start the whole game over. I did that three fucking times. And finally, I just laid there on the floor with my controller. And then you know, it goes to that to that cutscene where they're in the diner. And I'm like, Oh, fuck.
Michael J. Seidlinger 14:28
Bob Pastorella 14:29
And I just said they manipulated me to pasture. That's a risk, right?
Michael J. Seidlinger 14:33
Like, I mean, now that's common. That's a common technique that you'll see in a lot of things. Again, not just him still do it. But in 91, nine or something whenever this came out, yeah, that was 97 I think maybe it was it was a that was a risk as well. Like totally a risk. There really is then basically telling you like, get ready because we're basically just gonna subvert and play with all the all the different you know, years ago, do you remember of? Or like the established elements? Mechanics of survival horror, you know?
Bob Pastorella 15:07
Yeah. And it was like, all bets are off, you know, we're gonna fuck with you, no matter what you do. So from that point on, too, I had, I was always on guard playing the game.
Michael J. Seidlinger 15:20
That's the way you want, that's the way they wanted. I will say that like, just not again, like keep talking about Silent Hill, but like, the best one is still that second one. And like it's not, it's not held to on PlayStation to the fact that they turn the world into metaphor for purgatory, like not only just just the aspect of being in between being stuck in your trauma and being kind of the trauma that you're currently experiencing kind of preying on you. Like, I just remember the main character, of course, he kind of forgot, you know, like he compartmentalized his own. His his the death of his wife, not realizing that it killed her, you know, like smothered basically like mercy killed her. And then he sort of ends up in Silent Hill seeing it the way we see it. But in reality, all the different characters that he meets, they're seeing in a different way. I just, I love the writing the subtlety of it in the sense that like, he means this heavyset kid that's like very angry and you soon realized about halfway through when you after you've encountered him a couple of times that he sees not those monsters that we see. He sees it people laughing and berating him every everywhere he goes, because he's he's his traumas to is being ridiculed and like verbally abused, and, and harassed and, and, you know, by people, and then there's like, another character that that's very like, withdrawn and towards the end of the game, you they you glimpse what she sees, and it's this room on fire. And she's kind of contemplating suicide, and the main character is like, oh, trying to get the knife away from her, and then she just sort of like, on a whim. She's like, Oh, you see it too. For me, it's always like this and I was just like, Damn, that's fucking good. And then there's like this one little kid Laura. She sees none of it. She just sees a town she has she's like innocent still, right? She's she's not burdened by something that has all these other characters or are burdened by so like it, but it's weird because you see her like wandering around these like messed up locations, and she seems oblivious to all of it all the enemies, it's because they're not there for her, you know, she's, he's just wandering around a town like any other town. That I mean, that's, that's that's also like, just a great exploration in storytelling through the world, you know, because most of this is done not with dialogue, but with what you see.
Bob Pastorella 17:42
visuals, visuals, and dynamic is just incredible. And so good. Yeah. Fiction, one on one stuff. But yeah, it really
Michael J. Seidlinger 17:54
is. It really is. And like, that's a high watermark, I think for interactive storytelling.
Michael David Wilson 18:00
Yeah, I think so. And of course, later we'll get on to talking about transgressive fiction and transgressive literature because that's of course, a concern of yours and something that you specialize in, I would say, but Silent Hill particularly Silent Hill to I mean, it's perhaps the most transgressive video game to ever exist.
Michael J. Seidlinger 18:25
It's definitely up there. I mean, we've seen many a game try to really scare people and fuck with them but silent Silent Hill twos, definitely, again, again, high watermark in that regard as well. And it's just done so so well and over the years because that that franchise has been in the gutter for so long, it's only now continuing to blossom as as something that people want to experience people are dying for a new Silent Hill, but like including myself, but right now, like Council wills was such an
Michael David Wilson 18:59
I know like I periodically for no reason at all start late searching in their new Silent Hill news like nobody's like said anything nothing has prompted it. It's just this absolute desire for a new Silent Hill and I mean, that seemed to be whisperings that something might be coming but then, as always, fucking whisperings aren't now
Michael J. Seidlinger 19:25
trending like my Twitter's it's funny like it's evolved over the years always evolves based on what our interests right our own individual interest, but like the algorithms like Oh, so you like horror you like video games and you like metal music and stuff like that. So that's all you're gonna see. And I periodically see like Silent Hill trending all the time and I'm like, what's going on? I'll click on the thing. And it's just like people sharing screenshots from Silent Hill two, just so you know, like, again, adoration for a game that is now taught very much a timeless thing. But also they're yearning for something new. They want to go back to that that that horrible, horrific purgatorial world. You know, we're in our own sort of purgatory with that series. Yeah, for a new one.
Michael David Wilson 20:08
Yeah, yeah. Well I'm optimistic that it will be coming at some point and if if not Yeah, if not wholly new silent held and surely they've got to remain silent hill to
Michael J. Seidlinger 20:25
the latest rumors about trying to keep up with it but like the there's this one of my one of my day game I dig it was like from a full time freelancer, right? freelance writers, I write articles for like different venues and whatnot. And one of my beats is video games. And one point, I was lucky enough to interview bloober team, the guys who did Layers of Fear, and the Blair Witch games and observer. And I didn't they didn't say it then and there, but I just remember like, literally, like, the same day that I finished that interview. I see whisperings that oh yeah, bluebird Liberty bloober team is actually one of two game studios that have been tasked with making a Silent Hill game. So there are the I think the rumor is that there's going to be a remake of Silent Hill two and then a brand new Silent Hill. And but Konami is just sitting on it or whatever. And then there's like also something about maybe Sony funding it because Konami just doesn't care about video games anymore. Like they just destroyed their game development studios. And all they really care about is putting up with Chinko machines and, and like easy money, basically. So there's a possibility that Sony, Sony produced and there's like two games. And again, I hope so. As a fellow horror nerd and Video Game Nerd I desire for a world where we have a new Silent Hill, that's actually good.
Michael David Wilson 21:52
Yeah, it's interesting to hear that, yeah, as far as the rumors and the whisperings would suggest that they're just gonna jump straight in to remaking Silent Hill to they're not gonna go for the original Silent Hill. And I just think it's because there's an overwhelming consensus that that is the superior game, you know, the original Silent Hill is great. I'd love to see a remake of that as well. But I suppose if they've got one shot, only remaking one, then the obvious choice is Silent Hill two, so that's why they've just jumped ahead. Yeah, it's
Michael J. Seidlinger 22:30
totally it's true because and you also look at from a narrative perspective, what I just was talking about with Sunil, too, and like all that subtlety to each individual character story, and then that prevailing story about half guys named James James Sunderland. Yeah, he gets a letter from his dead wife telling him that she's waiting for him and Silent Hill I mean, that's a fucking cool like Stephen King esque story. Premise right there. But like everything about Sahil to it stands on its own sand hill one, if you look at the the narrative, like the actual plot, it's kind of dumb, honestly. It's like, Yo, there's this cult, all right. And they like, and there's like this battle between the cult and Alyssa, the sacrificial, you know, girl that essentially is supposed to be the host of bringing on that demon into the into reality and she's fight and when I think if I remember correctly, the Wyatt shifts between regular world and that demonic world. Yeah, it's her actually fighting it off. Like she's, she's, her spirit is trying to fight that world away. And so it's going back and forth. Again, it's been a while but I remember something like that. And I'm like, you guys over explained this. You didn't even have to make it that fucking wild. I'm a big fan of like stories that do that do leave some pockets of like mystery, so that so that the reader or the gamer or whatever, can can fill it in for themselves. Because there's there's such thing as over writing something on and I feel like, I feel like a lot of a lot of slotland happens a lot. Like it's like, oh man, you guys ruined it. They're like I for at least personally, I'm like, Oh, you went too far. Like he didn't have to talk about the cult of semi animals crap. You know, you don't have to, you can just get you can give the impression of it. Anyway, yeah, it's like I think that's a long winded way of saying I think that's also why I don't think they're going back to the first one. At least ideally, if they can only do one if they have one chance and they want to have the strongest story with the best atmosphere me yet the second one absolute.
Michael David Wilson 24:27
Yeah. And of course, when you overwrite, you run the risk of really patronizing the reader or the viewer as well. And, I mean, something that I hate, particularly in commercial TV shows is when something happens, but then they do a flashback to something earlier almost a wink to you like oh, you remember that happening? We foreshadowed it. We set it up and it's like yeah, I do fucking remember because you literally did it 10 minutes ago. I'm not suffering from amnesia, but it It just, it just completely. It just devalues the whole movie or the whole TV show or the whole book when you you're being the reader or the viewer over the head. So condescendingly, it's like, you know, I know we live in this social media world and attention spans aren't great, but give us the benefit of the doubt here.
Michael J. Seidlinger 25:26
I couldn't agree more. I mean, it's obviously a prevailing problem with anything that's story driven these days, like, there's this, like, lack of confidence from the studios from the writer, like, whatever the publisher is, like, just like, they it's almost like they need to spoon feed things to people, because they're worried that you know, it's not, it's gonna be too difficult for them to follow. And it's just like, Yo, give some respect to the reader give some respect to the viewer, they can figure this out, yo, give them a shot. You don't have to spoon feed it to everybody. You can actually let it stand on its own. We naturally have deductive reasoning and critical solving skills as human beings, and it will kick in, if done if you just have a little confidence and within your viewership and your readership. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And it's definitely been a problem like prevailing across pretty much every medium, I think.
Michael David Wilson 26:22
Right? And also, I mean, when you take that approach, you're assuming that the viewer or the reader is dumb, whereas the Pettaway is to assume that they're intelligent, assume that they'll get it because you know, those who do they are gonna feel pretty good about that. They're gonna feel smart. I mean, there's all sorts of writing 101 advice? Or it's like, you know, have some fucking faith in in your reader.
Michael J. Seidlinger 26:49
Yeah, have faith in yourself, have confidence in yourself, but also have confidence in the whoever it is that you're writing to? Because that will ensure as much as possible anyway, the ability of having that connection with the reader. Yeah, ever way you want to be?
Michael David Wilson 27:07
Yeah. And actually, if you don't get it the first time, then there's a thrill from going back and rereading it and then seeing it on the second read. I think that can be a real pleasure to
Michael J. Seidlinger 27:21
Yeah, replay value with books. Yeah, I'm all about that, too. I mean, like, it is a big ask, right? For Inspections, module 22? Like, how, yeah, how often do you go back and reread a book, I actually should ask you both. Because like, I have plenty of books that I want to do that, you know, and I guess in the past, I have, you know, I look at my shelves here, I'm like, there's definitely a good number of them that I have readily, you know, twice or whatnot. But like, in recent times, I feel like it's like a one and done for a lot of things just because I don't have the time, you know, like, it's like, I really want to go back to that book and reread it, but not when are what am I actually going to do you do you find? It's kind of a question about the like, Have you been able to, like maintain the the act of having some replay value or or some, like, you know, second readings of books? Are you sort of like also one and done and move forward?
Michael David Wilson 28:09
So I mean, it's an interesting question. I think, as well, there are so many great books at the moment that I haven't read that it's more likely that I'm going to pick up a new book, rather than to replay to reread an old one. But the times where I will reread a book, or actually just reread a passage or reread some of it to get the flavor or the essence, is when I'm looking for something to kind of inspire my own writing or to get into a certain mode. So I mean, there's different writers that vary with their approach, there are some people who, when they're writing, they're not going to read anything, like the kind of thing that they're doing. But if I, if I want to kind of capture some sort of atmosphere, or even can be as simple as like, a different tense or a different perspective, then I will look at some of the best examples of that, and then go and reread that. And then there were a number of offers that I'll kind of reread to get myself in a particular zone and, and to be honest, like it, it's gonna sound cliche when I tell you that kind of offers that I reread, but the likes of Paul and Nick and morikami and George Saunders will be free that if I need some inspiration, or if I need to see okay, this this is how you write fucking amazing fiction, and I'll look at them. I mean, I'll look at Bret Easton Ellis as well would be another example. But it really depends on on the kind of mode that I'm going for. I mean, if I write a lot of dialogue, heavy stuff, so I might dip into some Elmore Leonard, or I might look at some, some Max Ready for a really recent example? And if I'm just looking to have a fun time, then maybe I'll reread some Brian Asman
Michael J. Seidlinger 30:10
yeah. Great, great guy. And great. Well, his latest is awesome. Yeah. And he's gonna he has so much good stuff coming out like, Yeah, one thing I do, like, I don't necessarily go like that way. But I do something similar also in the sense that, you know, before I write something, I definitely compose a stack of books that just have sort of like they come. They're almost like a mood board. There'll be they won't even be something topically related. It'd be like a Why is I'm just gonna look at my shelves again. Like, why am I putting there's this like really dense book that came out a couple years ago, called ducks, Newburyport it's like 700 pages of like, one long, like an ongoing thought, like my like, basically internal monologue I like, but maybe I have that in the stack for like, essentially what's going to be a horror novel, right? But it's but it captures some of the mood that I'm trying to, to convey in the thing that I'm about to write. It's, it's, it's a weird, I think it's just like, trying to get into that zone in the same way you were describing how you do. But a little bit more esoteric. Yeah. But what about you? Do you reread
Bob Pastorella 31:21
all the time? I'm constantly rereading Peter strop. Always have a Peter Straub book that I'm in the process of rereading have the ability to jump between books, and just go to different sections. I listened to his books on a, you know, on on Audible, I can go I can pick right up where I left off. In and, you know, I'm like you I have like the mood board, like, current work in progress is is a vampire story. But I don't have very many vampire books in my own my mood board. Okay, I'd have a lot of ghost books, because I'm trying to catch a different vibe. So you know, that that's if you're, if you're, you know, I want to I want to explore a different side of the trope that we don't see very often. So I'm not going to get that with with most modern vampire books. It's just because, you know, they, they want to have like, a gory aspect to it, or they want to look at the, the problematic, you know, issues of being, you know, immortal and never been able to die. And how, how sad and lonely that must be.
Michael J. Seidlinger 32:35
Well, that is how, though for sure, yeah, I don't want to live forever. But that
Bob Pastorella 32:39
No, and that kind of deals. My my project that I'm working on, I guess a comp pitch would be. It's like the the movie relic. The the recent one. Oh, yeah. meets the hunger, you know, so. Okay. It's in from the aspect of you know, what happens basically, if if what happens when you mix vampires with was Alzheimer's or dementia?
Michael J. Seidlinger 33:08
Oh, okay. I'm here for it.
Bob Pastorella 33:11
And the idea I have I think, I think I think I can pull it off. So we just have to see but I want that that haunted feeling, you know? So but yeah, I'm constantly rereading Peter Straub. He's like my go to. I have reread. Probably the most the book I've read reread the most of his is actually Coco. And the last time I reread it was because I was talking to Scott Nicolay. And he mentioned a section in the book that I didn't really remember after reading it, like five fucking times, you know, and I'm like, so I said, Okay, I'm gonna reread it again. And he told me what to look out for. And so when I hit that passage, made it punch me in the chest. I didn't even realize this was in there. And it's like, you got a topical non supernatural book that suddenly has an essence of the weird and I was just like, that's that I'd never noticed it until he just he goes no spoiler he goes but when you get to this point, just realized what this is. And I was like, Holy shit, he did it. Crazy.
Michael J. Seidlinger 34:17
Yeah, it makes me think of like the worth of you know, collecting things and keeping like a shelf full of books and all that stuff. Because like yeah, you not only do you forget what you've already read, like read and enjoyed maybe even like absolutely love the book you'll forget aspects about it and then going and revisiting it is definitely worth something. But also like, I don't know like, in recent times, I've become a minimalist in ways like I have this whole policy of like, I can only have four shelves of books once it's full at start getting rid of them. It's just I guess it's a kind of a conscious act of like, I like I don't like having to be to feel tethered to anything really. It's like it's specifically material Your belongings, so I don't really have a lot of stuff. But the same right there is that some aspect about how like, as we grow, and as there are these books that I used to really like, you know, I don't have the copies of them anymore. Like, I can't even go back to them. I mean, I can always buy another copy. Yeah. But they're not readily available. And I think that's where I think what I think what I'm getting at is just like, I can see why collectors collect and in some, in many of their there are many reasons, but like, people that collect books, video games, movies, that's it has to be touching that as well, the fact that they do want to keep that connection with that thing that they watched or read or played. And, you know, over the years, they it changes, you'll have a different association with a text or game or movie, two years, 320 years, you know, whatever, after the initial experience, and it's, that's like, that's like something really fascinating to me. And like, although, in theory, I would love to be able to continue doing that. I just like by virtue of being a minimalist these days, I only have so much space, and it doesn't really lend itself to going back and doing that unless I just go ahead and reinvest in something.
Michael David Wilson 36:09
Yeah, yeah, I feel a similar way. Because I live a pretty minimalist lifestyle. I mean, I think a lot of that happened when I moved from the UK to Japan. And obviously, I can only take a number of suitcases with me, but it does mean that the vast majority of my books and of my films and of course music is so digitally available and of course that means that I'm not attached to you know, these physical possessions it means that there's not a clatter. So I think there's a there's a benefit there. But yeah, there is a part of me that romanticizes you know, the collection and has these ideas that well maybe if I ever settle down in a place for long enough, and the place is big enough, it would be you know, enjoyable to have those shelves full of books and, and videos and games and all of that.
Michael J. Seidlinger 37:07
Yeah, like my one of my I don't really have like a like a bucket list in terms of like things that like I really not want not like I don't have a bucket list for like owning things or whatever. But if there were to be one, one would definitely need to be like I want my own like arcade or whatever. You know, I want a bunch of those arcade cabs and like a nice little bar set up in the, to the one side and like a projection screen on ones and one and just like a entertainment room that is like combination arcade and also like movie viewings, not necessarily theater, but you know, you know what, I mean? Like a spot to really kick back and watch stuff too. But again, that costs money and that requires space and I don't have a lot of the former and I definitely don't have a lot the latter. I let you live in Brooklyn, you're not gonna have a lot of rooms.
Michael David Wilson 37:53
Right. Right. Yeah, I think I think the same almost living anywhere in Japan has, you might be aware that the houses and apartments are not as big as in the West. You know, apart from being in Brooklyn.
Michael J. Seidlinger 38:10
Yeah, you see you move to Japan and that's awesome.
Michael David Wilson 38:15
Baby you were talking about your kind of fantasy arcade room and this is a completely indulgent question but I wonder in that room if you had your little bar setter if you could only have four drinks what would the four drinks that are constantly in supply in that little bar be?
Michael J. Seidlinger 38:35
When all the the brown liquids would be a scotch? Or whiskey or bourbon? And they no I don't even need anything other than that. Just there you go. I don't drink beer anymore just makes me feel like shit after like two beers. I'm sipping Scotch right now you know like let's kind of my go to these days just a nice like little sipping Scotch you know, like, and there's nothing better than having a little bit that with like a cigar. So like I wouldn't need a big bar. I guess the fourth bottle would be something that I get like a like a like tequila or vodka or some like that where I can like mix something different with it. Yes. But other than that, and I'd be the it'd be like the whiskey the bourbon Scotch man.
Michael David Wilson 39:15
I love your video game bar room. I hope this becomes a reality at some point.
Michael J. Seidlinger 39:22
It's got to happen dammit.
Bob Pastorella 39:24
I don't even drink scotch now.
Michael J. Seidlinger 39:29
You should. You should vote for yourself a little bit and join me Yeah, yeah.
Bob Pastorella 39:35
I'm on I'm on I'm on a several year challenge. Legally
Michael J. Seidlinger 39:39
Oh, good. I highly respect that. I mean, at some point, I'm gonna have to do that too. Just a full cleansing and like be sober for a while dude, you know, like, but I'm not quite there yet. Soon. I think it's almost like going to be like a 2023 thing. Because I've done it before I've gone like four months. So Were and it wasn't because I needed to drink again. I just was like, Yeah, cool. All right, that was fun. I can do that I can not I'm not like consumed by the need for alcohol. But uh, yeah, I just as I like, I'm definitely on the alcohol. I'm definitely not an alcoholic. I'm just I have to say that like a functioning alcoholic, I think because if you drink enough, you have to finally realize that you will have this dependence to it. And like this before, it is now a matter of what I want to do to like, you know, battle that particular it's not a demon, but I don't want it to become a demon. You know what I mean? Ron? Yeah, it's just like, oh, well, you drink like four times a week and enough where you're getting like, buzzed off Scotch or whiskey. It's like, yeah, that's not nothing anymore. Man. That's definitely like, you're definitely drinking pretty heavily. So then you have to sort of, again, that goes back to what we're talking at the top of the conversation, like going towards that, you know, confusion, or the fear or whatever, like, why am I doing why am I reacting that way? Like, it's, it's very much something I guess, I learned early, and I just kept kept it there. Because it's helped me deal with shit and understand stuff. And, yeah, like, it's, I take another sip of scotch, and like, I know, this is going to be this is getting to the top of the list of what I need to also know, you know, battle a little bit.
Bob Pastorella 41:20
No, I was gonna say, I feel that because, you know, I could drink it for 10 years so far. And he had to, you had to kind of examine why, you know, and I, I used it as I drink, because I felt like that, that was my only way of having any type of personality if I socialized, because I was scared. And by drinking that much, I became pretty much like a, like an irresponsible type person. So when I realized that I had to make a change, it was an easy change for me to make, because I don't feel like I was an alcoholic, because quitting drinking was, but one of the things that I made a promise to myself was I was going to become a more responsible person. And that allowed me to find a way to overcome a lot of social anxieties that I have, that I actually still have. But I've found a way to get get around them. So you know, it's, it's, you know, you have to acknowledge a problem, and then reflect on it. And so it's very, very relatable to me, you know, why I drink and what I had to do to, to overcome it?
Michael J. Seidlinger 42:29
Yeah, for me, it's like, it had something to do with like, the social element, for sure. At least initially, but I feel like over the years, it's like, I just genuinely like, kicking back and playing a video game or smoking a cigar with a drink or two. And usually people are like, No, that's a bad sign when you're drinking by yourself or whatever, but love you, I spent a lot of time alone, I like being alone. You know, like, I'm very, that's part of like, what helps center me, you know, like, I I'm highly I'm like a really a fake being an extrovert, but really, I'm very much an introvert and I, it doesn't take long for my quote, unquote, health bar to like, drain from, like, you know, being around social scenarios and whatnot. And I do need a lot of alone time. And within that alone time, yeah, I'm going to pour a couple and watch a movie or play a game, you know, like it, but it's out of like, actually enjoying that, right? It's not like, oh, I need this or whatever. It's become just sort of something I do really enjoy. But I just, I also know that it's something that can be easily uncontrollable, if I let it know, all it takes, I think is like, me falling into some depressive episode having a really tough time, you know, like, couple months and like, who I might lean too heavily on and get into a habit and more of a habit, you know, so it's like, it's very much a thing that I definitely eyeing it is like, you know, you could easily blossom into a demon that I don't need right now. So it's like, it's playing with fire, but right now, I'm not burning. So.
Michael David Wilson 43:59
Yeah, that all makes sense. And I imagine as well being in the middle of the book tour, and also with you saying, you know, that you fake being an extrovert, but you're really an introvert. So quitting drinking would not be the right move right now. Because I imagine, you know, socializing with so many people and over offer as you know, this is the time way, you're probably drinking a little bit more just, you know, in light of those social situations and the circumstances.
Michael J. Seidlinger 44:29
Yeah, I mean, like, yeah, there has been like, it's usually after like, after the readings and all that stuff. There's always gonna be like opportunity, like people are gonna want to buy you a drink and blah, blah, blah. But I've been good about not getting drunk. I mean, I've had you know, one or two I've pretty high tolerance at this point. So like, once I get to a point where like, I was like, Okay, I'm feeling a little bit a little buzz. I stopped, because I because I had to have to function on this tour, right? Yeah. All it takes is one hangover and you're just kind of you're defunct basically. So honestly, I didn't drink heavily at all throughout this tour except for the night before it was a Wednesday Wednesday night. Because I was hanging it clash books is a house, we're gonna be like, basically went from Boston. And with Christoph, we drove down Troy where they live, spent the night there and then drove into New York City yesterday morning for the strand event. But like Lisa and I, like just sat up talking and drank a bunch of old fashions and stuff, and we both got pretty, pretty sloshed. But like, I did that out of the comfort of the, you know, like, because it was like a comforting scenario. We were having a conversation, I kind of I consciously was like, Yeah, this if there's gonna be a night on this tour where I get drunk. Yeah, this, this is like a good night to do. And I did. Other than that, it was fine, like last night, would have been also an opportunity to really get sloshed after the strand reading. But I did. And I had to add two scotches, a friend that showed up with the reading got this nice bottle of scotch for me, which is really awesome. And we, you know, tapped into it a little bit on his rooftop. And that's basically it. But very, very mindful. Because I know again, like you could get out of control. And I just know that like, you always talk towards the end of it now in terms of the tour, but I still need to function. So it's actually you give me those constraints, I'm fine. It's more so like, I'm more likely to probably drink heavier if I'm just like, chilling out and playing a video game all night. And just like for another, poor another, and then 2am Oh, man, I'm drunk now. And I'm gonna hate myself tomorrow morning. You know? Yes.
Michael David Wilson 46:36
Yeah, I've been now with that kind of cycle of self hatred in the morning. Not not a healthy place to be. So, ya know, I'm very aware if I'm drinking about, you know, kind of what my limit is. And so it doesn't happen as often as it used to. And I think I'm a better person for it.
Michael J. Seidlinger 46:58
Yeah, I think we all become better people, once we like are able to understand this this thing that we call alcohol and yeah, I mean, some people have to make it make it complete sobriety, some people will find ways and balance it. Everyone has their process, just like with writing. Right. But ya know, it's it's a real thing that I feel like almost all of us contend with at some point,
Michael David Wilson 47:21
right? Yeah, yeah. And in terms of this tour, so when we were our fair, you were saying, this is the first time that you've really done a book tour to this level?
Michael J. Seidlinger 47:34
Yeah. So this is the first time I mean, I've done like readings and like festivals and stuff like that for different books, but never like, this is a book tour with multiple stops. Yeah, this is the first time
Michael David Wilson 47:45
so it was this more kind of you're doing or clashes doing or what were the circumstances or it was late, right. I'm going on a book tour for this one. I'm going all out. Because I mean, anyone who's who's like, got you on social media or seen some of your posts. I mean, you're not fucking about this is a proper book. You have gone through a lot of places, you've done a lot of events.
Michael J. Seidlinger 48:10
Um, thanks. It's been surreal. No, it was it was a mixture of like the publicist, you know, that was working with clash and early response to the book and bookstores being like, yeah, we want to host his launch the blah, blah, blah. It was, I opened myself up to the idea of it. Because like, if there was any interest at all, I'm like, yeah, why not? It's maybe like a response to hey, you know, we're not out of the pandemic, but able to do things again, because I was kind of itching to get out there as well. And, you know, just it was it was awesome to see early response to the book. So positive from booksellers and all that. And like, I think it was the strands and books if they both like the first two, or two major cities in the US, like, we're like, yeah, we've heard about this book, we're excited we want to host it and like then when that happened, it was like, things started to fall into place where others other cities were like, offering to like a slot you know? And I said yes, because I knew it'd be if I said no, I can't do it. Then I would be kicking myself later because that mean that it's like an opportune it's one of those opportunities it's like it's a fun thing that I've never done before and I wanted to do it I knew it was gonna be tough and it has been tough it's been great but it's also been an extremely exhausting and I was saying you know, before we start the conversation Yeah, it was like a little you feel like you're displaced for most of it like life goes on around you but you feel like you're like in this weird bubble and not like a cushion to bubble it's just like oh yeah, I feel like I just come out of the loop of everything. Because you're just basically on a plane and you're in another city you're in a different timezone you're editing some Airbnb or, or motel room or hotel room, and you're just trying Want to get your own shit situated, whereas everyone else is just going about their day and life happens, you know, and you know, like life doesn't really happen on tour tour sort of like a mitigated thing I realized. And also it gives me a lot more respect for any like artist or musician that does this for like, almost the most of the year like for a long, long long stints and also makes sense why their own lives get so brutalized by by the, their careers, because it's hard to have a life when you're on the road like that.
Michael David Wilson 50:30
Yeah, yeah. And in terms of the financing, is this something planned? Yeah. So what happened to come out of your pocket to go to these places or the class have a budget for that? I mean, I know that class you're a small independent press too. And I'm just wondering logistically how that's working out.
Michael J. Seidlinger 50:50
Um, well as part of my what I mentioned already that as a full time freelancer, I knew that once these opportunities started coming, like I would have to dip into like my meager amount of savings. I definitely have paid for the like flight and stuff like that because clash has been great in terms of the anything everything involving like the galleys, mailing all that stuff. Like they've they've really supported the book. But yes, they are an indie they're growing. They've got great just distributor now. And their list is just growing like exponentially, seemingly every other day, like their new books that we're acquiring. It's like awesome, it's great. I love to see it. But you know it most indies, will Hey, they can't afford to get put you on tour. Luckily, a lot of big presses don't even do it. Like most authors are probably unless you're like Stephen King or Chuck Palahniuk, or some like that, like a lot of these book tours are gonna be self funded at this point, they may fly you out for like a big event or like to like a small ask book tour, like, like, for events, if you are established enough, but most cases, I feel like publishers was like, we turned the cost benefit analysis yields that most most. For most authors, it might not be worth it. I did my own and I realized that, like it's worth it, because, you know, I get to go out there, I get to meet anyone and everyone like to meet the booksellers and they've all been great. Like, they're awesome. And, you know, having that face to face with that. I felt like it was worth it, you know? And I kind of thought like, well, this this meager amount of savings that I had, like, it's what what else am I going to do with it? I'm going to FuG and spend it on video games, booze and food. I mean, like, might as well put it towards something a little bit more proactive, I guess, you know, like, I'm not gonna, I can easily piss it away with something else. So I was like, Alright, I'm in a rare scenario now where like, I actually have a little bit of savings. And might as well you might as well invested in something, you know,
Michael David Wilson 52:52
right? Yeah. And I feel in doing this, you're creating your own opportunities. You're accusing yourself, you're putting yourself out there. So I mean, why the fuck not?
Michael J. Seidlinger 53:03
Yeah, I mean, I don't have any regrets. It's been it's been a lot in every way. Yeah. Like, I look at my bank account, and the savings are no longer there. It's like, well, back to being that that way I backed. It was nice to have savings for like five months. Right. And now back to feeling that that thing that we all like most of us feel, which is that like level of like, oh, fuck rent is coming up? Well, honestly, yeah. The money would have been not pissed away, but it would have gone to something that like, yeah, cost benefit analysis again, like it would probably be less beneficial for me to waste it on that versus just getting out there and having good time. And also, you know, yeah, selling some books, reading the book doing doing events. And yeah, I have no regrets. And I wouldn't say I would always do this for every book, but I will do it again. For sure. You know, give me a little bit like a different kind of tour, maybe more spaced out? Or who Fuck it? Who knows? Maybe it's like you'll hear from you'll see like, oh, no, Michael did the opposite. Fuck, he's doing like a 18 city tour for the sex books. Like he's out of his fucking mind. Well, you know, who knows? Like, I think this book has also been a lesson for me in the sense of like, you never really know what can happen slash you never really know what you have. You know, there's a lot to be said about. Also listening to what people are telling you about the thing that you created or thing you're doing. Yeah.
Michael David Wilson 54:33
Yeah. And I mean, I think as well, it's an investment in yourself because you don't know who you're going to meet or who's going to see you along the way on that tour and what potential opportunities it's going to meet. It's going to open up in the future.
Michael J. Seidlinger 54:49
Yeah, you never really know. I mean, like you have no control over that like something that I've like really tried to make peace with the fact that like, we can we only have control over certain things of our careers. Live and all that stuff. So yeah, focus on what you can control on everything else that may happen, it comes down to chance and luck and all that other stuff you have, you can, you can waste so much energy trying to predict something, or willing something to happen. And you might, it's probably not gonna You never know, it might not happen. So that's it's kind of wasted energy. I did a lot of a lot of that in previous years just like really planning things out and being like, what I thought would be like what you're supposed to do with your, like, whatever career you have, whatever it may be, is to always have like, 10 year plans, five year plans. I don't really think I have that anymore. I think I'm just focusing on the writing and what I can control, which is the writing and what comes out of it. There's a lot a lot a lot of it has to do with with what I can't control, you know?
Michael David Wilson 55:54
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And you said, of course, that you got a great deal of respect for these bands that you know, do all these tours and things but I mean, I know that you used to play bass in some hardcore bands. So I mean, this was back in Florida as I understand it, so yeah, and
Michael J. Seidlinger 56:15
we also only we never really toward toward you know, you just drive like to another Florida city, like Jacksonville or something like that play shows. So it was like a road trip. That's what it was. So I mean, I never had the full experience because I never really was like a real musician. I was like a wannabe musician. I can say that safely at this point, like, played and have the aspirations to be like a professional musician, but I mean, I guess I don't know what wouldn't be the qualifier to be a professional musician. But I mean, I definitely had the same drive that I have for like, say writing now with music. The difference is I was around a group of people that weren't exactly in the best headspace and got, you know, it was a bad crowd. And things kind of languished. And yeah, but uh, I feel like it was a lot of posturing as being a musician, rather than being a musician, if I have to be like, pretty brutally honest with myself, like we played we practice but we never practice practicing. Like, there's like, you look at some you look at real established bands, not necessarily like, you know, a band that makes millions of dollars, but just like a band that has their audience and they put out music, they practice a lot. They they're hugely committed, it's, it's every bit of it's like a full set full time job and a half, basically. And there's something to be said about that, too. You can pine away and really hope for something. And I did a lot of that when I was trying to get into music. But you what you get what you have control over when you're a musician is really the you know, the act of getting better with your instrument writing music, practicing that music playing shows, building an audience, all that stuff. And any anytime spent not doing that it's kind of your once again, kind of leaving it to a lot of pining and wondering that ends up being just a waste of your energy and time, like you just gotta hit the ground running. And yeah, in writers, musicians, we all have our craft, and at the end of the day, that's what you lean on. That's what you have control over. Even when you feel like you don't even when you feel like you're in a writer's block moment, like you are in control of even that, maybe look deeper into why it is that you're in a block. It's probably something to do with like maybe a plot point or aspect of the story of a project. That's just not working for you. But like, yeah, at the end of the day, we only have control, like the one thing we definitely have control over as artists is the craft itself.
Michael David Wilson 58:42
Yeah, yeah. And I mean, talking about the craft, as I said earlier, you know, what you're doing is transgressive literature. Yeah. I mean, that's certainly what I think. I suppose I should correct. Would you agree with that?
Michael J. Seidlinger 59:00
Yeah, I mean, like, you can put whatever labels you want on it, like categorize. I'm not I'm not going to be like offended. Like, I know, some people are a little more like sensitive about what you call their book or whatever. But I like that you go very broad with it, and just call it transmissive. Because honestly, that's what I see what I do anyway, like I Yeah, it's horror, of course, on a percent it wouldn't be aligned it say it was not, but I like to think more broadly. And it's very much transgressive fiction. It's an even broader, like the stuff that I write I just think of it as speculative fiction. Yeah, it is something that I like to explore things sociologically, psychologically, and in a inadvertently becomes a dark place. Nine times out of 10 I guess that's just what I do. Yeah. Fascinating. But But yeah, it's horror as well. But yeah, the transgression is a key part of it, for sure.
Michael David Wilson 59:52
Yeah. Yeah. And I know that a book that had an enormous impact on you as well for paying Santa Ana, right. Which House of Leaves? So yeah, I mean, I wondered what you could tell us in terms of your first experience reading that and the subsequent impact it's had
Michael J. Seidlinger 1:00:14
Yeah, so what so it's there's a bit of really cool full circle kind of thing with this book. So I was that kid in like high school that would always like read the Cliff's Notes or watch the film adaptation for book reports and all that and because I hated reading, I literally actually did not like reading as a teenager and it was sort of like that, up until sophomore year of undergrad at University of Central Florida. I wasn't even like on like a recommended list or like something required reading for class. I remember I was trying to build my DVD collection at the time and I was like buying up different like horror movies and like thrillers and stuff like that and I remember the Amazon also bought whatever ticker thing that you see on on the page had like Hausa leaves on there, I forget what it probably was a found footage film or some like that, that I was buying. And I was trying to get that Super Saver Shipping that they used to have you spend like $25 and you get free shipping. Yeah, and I needed something a little bit more just to tip it over and I remember just throwing in house a leaves there on a whim and I you know, I got the book and left it sitting somewhere for a long ass time. And then I remember like some random borings Friday when I didn't want to be out with that crowd of musicians and all that stuff and didn't want to be doing what I'm doing. Pick up the book and it just blew me the fuck away everything about it like the the Johnny truant footnotes, the, the formal experimentation on the page, then nevinson record, just the ideas they're in about insanity and love and all that involving the house that's bigger on the inside than is on the out like that just completely blew, it blew me away. It was like, the first time a text got me. And it was a night and day kind of thing. I went from like, oh, books are just like, like, Why would you waste your time reading a book when you can watch an expertly done film crafted film like that's where the videogames and movies are where the the future of storytelling is not books, books are old and stuffy. Like that's literally how ignorant I was. But that's how I saw it. Up until Housel leaves and then I just like zero to 60 started buying up Palahniuk. It'll look, you know, ever anything and everything that I could find. Yeah, and since then, that books, I've read that book like five, six times. But I say it goes full circle in the sense that I recently went back to it, and it actually fell flat for me. And I was like, Oh, interesting. I just actually don't really find this anything. Like I'm not getting anything out of this anymore. Like it's not that I'm like, Oh, I know all so much about it, that it's not going to be entertaining or whatnot, or, like hit the right notes. It's really just like, it just didn't, it just felt in NERT it felt like lifeless to me. And I I think it came down to like my evolution as a reader. And also as a writer, it changed you evolve over time as you just like, as you age you change. You're never the same person twice. Yeah. And I think I think it was, I think me and house a leaves. We had a good run, but and it brought me here, but I had I think I've had to like break up with it. You know, it's it's over. But we it wouldn't be here without that book.
Michael David Wilson 1:03:21
Yeah, and that's an interesting way of putting it and one that I agree with, because I mean, I think we have different things, whoever is art or literature or indeed people for different seasons. And it doesn't mean that there's anything, you know, innately run with the art or the person but sometimes you just run your course. And that's it. You serve a purpose. And it looks like you know, that's what's happened with you and House of Leaves. And who knows, I mean, maybe in the future, there will be a kind of rediscovery rediscovering there might be another season yet but for now camp view and have certain leaves, it's closed.
Michael J. Seidlinger 1:04:03
Yeah, you never really know. That's what's also cool about the art that we consume, right? Like we we go through these phases, of course, there'll be like moments that you get caught up in like a nice little trend or something like that, that happens all the time that everyone even fewer adverse to trends. But there's also just the idea of as you said, seasons are like just that time period of your life that has that factor to like I don't have kids I don't intend on having kids and stuff but I imagine if I were to become a father a lot of things that I used to really like might have a different context. So all of a sudden because of huge life event like that would would definitely change my perspective on on things. I've seen time and time again. I've seen it with my sister and my brother in law. I've seen it with friends you know, as they get married, they get they have this big life steps things change dramatically and the stuff that you consume changes with it, and doesn't necessarily mean they like like more over still say horrors and like that I'm not saying no, I'm just saying we just kind of become attracted to things that we come attracted to. And yeah, like How silly is like right now that we're on the outs, but you never know you're right. Maybe Maybe I'll find myself flipping through it again. And in a year, or two or three or five.
Michael David Wilson 1:05:18
Yeah. And I like how both both you and me actually discovered House of Leaves, kind of by chance, because, I mean, I've never mentioned it before. But for me, I was literally in a library in the UK kind of looking in the horror section, or it might have been the general kind of literature sanction. And I just saw it, and I just, it was the cover that like foreboding door handle in an almost Lintian lens. And I just thought this, there's something interesting going on here. And I, I flipped through it. And it's like, what the fuck a book like this. So I had to check it out. And yeah, that was, that was the beginning, but I'd never heard of it. No one had recommended it. It was purely just in my local library and the title and the cover stood out. And then obviously, when I opened it up, it's like, oh, shit, this is different. It's from in.
Michael J. Seidlinger 1:06:21
My minus reaction was like that, too, in the sense of like, when I opened it for the first time, like, yeah, it was an Oh, shit. There's so much typography going on with that, yeah, that book gets wild. Ironically enough, I don't like that as much. Now, as a reader, I prefer the experimentation to be done in within the structure of the story itself, rather than just like formally on the page. But I used to be all about that. When I first started when I was like, I was reading like life, a user's manual, and all these like, really difficult experimental texts when I first finally, you know, essentially on my crash course, and literature, and again, I have a very weird association to literature, and books, because I didn't, I wasn't, I was the rebellious kid that like the hard headed, stubborn kid that didn't want to read all this stuff that people would normally start with. And the Canon right now my Canon was whatever I found on found interesting on Amazon, that I bought up and then read, and eventually found, you know, sites online, where people will recommend books and all that. But, you know, I didn't do like the whole Faulkner or whatever, you know, I'll just read some of his sense. But like, I didn't go through that I didn't, I don't have association with literature that way. It's really just a full crash course of my own. And it's funny, it's even to this day, if people like drop references in conversation about texts that I guess I'm supposed to know about, and I'm like, I didn't get it. But then they kind of like, look at me like, you've never read this book really? Well. I'm surprised. I'm like, Yeah, I mean, I'm going to call it like, it is like, this is why, you know, like, I didn't read? Is it most of my teenage years?
Michael David Wilson 1:08:00
Yeah, yeah. And I think they're, well, some would consider like, gaping gaps in pretty much all of our reading lists, because there's just only a finite amount of time anyway. And what might be important literature to someone isn't going to be important literature to someone else. So are you there, they knew that it was meant to be important, but they just as I say, time is finite. They didn't have enough time. Yeah,
Michael J. Seidlinger 1:08:30
absolutely. Yeah. I mean, we all end up attracted to whatever it is that we want to read, you know, like, I'm a believer that the quote unquote, Canon is the book or the books that you are able to associate with and, you know, build and craft that response that experience that relationship with it doesn't necessarily have to be like, I don't know, all the seminal texts that everyone teaches in classes and stuff like that.
Michael David Wilson 1:08:55
Yeah, yeah. And I mean, talking about time being finite, if you're not vibing with a book, How soon do you abandon it?
Michael J. Seidlinger 1:09:06
Like, immediately, like, within the first five paragraphs, sometimes it doesn't take long, I realized that sometimes that could also be like, too quick to like, it's not even that I'm like, Oh, I'm never gonna go back this book again. But yeah, I will definitely give that glance I've dropped books that quickly, based on just the vibe in the mood that I got from it, and it just wasn't clicking, you know, like, it can be something that's amazingly written and like, I can appreciate that but a lot of times I'm just like, can I actually get into this right now? And I would argue that so many instances it's not possible like my normal like routines, like kind of make it hard for me to read for pleasure as it is like I have to do all those freelance articles and stuff like that, and so I have to read for work. So my association with reading gets co opted a little bit. So by the time I like say pick up a book for pleasure and I want to give it a shot it's my standards are so high because I have so little real time yeah that even by the time I get to the read for pleasure stage is probably already a two because this to see it right here like my to read pile of books that I've already selected as something I've already kind of like vetted them as like, yeah, I need I want to read these. And then I'm actually almost done with the new you mentioned earlier pretty Snelling. They sent me a bound manuscript of his new one the shards. So I'm like, I'm like, been reading it over the course of the tour. Like I started pretty strong. I was like, reading it, like every day, good portions of and then I got tired at you know, literally tired just like the tour and like, it has just been in my bookbag the entire time. But that's currently my read the pleasure book. And like after that, I don't know when I have a number of options, but like, will I get past the first couple of pages? It all depends. I think it's really just like a context sensitive kind of thing for me now and I don't ever really see it as like a slight to the author. It's just really about, you know, cost benefit to you once again, drop that same term. What, how much time and energy do I have to spend on things? Because we're all going to die before we are able to read even a fraction of our to read pile? Yeah, like there's just too much out there. So it's, it's I really value time now.
Michael David Wilson 1:11:29
Thank you so much for listening, part one at a conversation with Michael J. Seidlinger. Join us again next time for the second part of this conversation. But if you want to get that ahead of the crowd, if you would like to get every episode ahead of the crowd, then please become a firstname.lastname@example.org. Forward slash, This Is Horror. We've got so many good episodes coming up. We've spoken to Tyler Jones, to run or Kelly and to Paul Tremblay. And those are all fantastic conversations. And I will certainly recommend listening to those ahead of the regular release schedule, you need to get this knowledge into your ears. And soon we will be talking with Gemma and more on Jason Parkin. So if you have a burning question for them, again, become a patron on patreon.com forward slash This Is Horror, said in the last few episodes, I'm going through some things that the minute is not a good time for me to be perfectly honest. But you know, I always put on a brave face. I tried to bring my enthusiasm to each of these conversations. But my goodness, if you could support us, at the minimum $3 level, I would really appreciate that. Because honestly, if all the This Is Horror Podcast regular listeners do, then I won't be in the kind of predicament I am in right now. So please, if you can help do help. And I apologize for the abstention nature of the request. I'm not really giving all the details, but that will come with time. I don't know when that will be. It might not be this year. It will hopefully be by next year. But yes, if you could help out and please do. You're also going to be rewarded with all those perks. Ask questions to each and every interview we get the episodes ahead of the crowd, the writers forum story, unbox the q&a. But wait, there's more. That's the video cast on camera off record. So plenty for you to check out. Head over to patreon.com forward slash This Is Horror and see if it's a good fit for you. Okay, before I wrap up, a little bit of an advert break.
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Michael David Wilson 1:15:06
As always, I would like to end with a quote. And as we were speaking a lot about transgressive fiction. As Michael is reading the shards at the moment, I don't why not end with a Bret Easton Ellis quote? So here we go. I liked the idea of a writer being haunted by his own creation, especially if the writer resents the way the character defines him. I'll see you in the next episode for part two with Michael J. Seidlinger. But until then, take care yourselves. Be good to one another. Read horror. Keep on writing and have a great, great day.