Names, names, names…
My writer fried Teresa recently posted about her name change. It’s pretty timely, as I have just changed my pen name. I used to go by the name Eric Keys and I wrote some brutal horror porn. Based on the reviews on Goodreads, I’d say I did a good job. I’m not recommending you look them up, but it’s hard for me not to express some pride in the accomplishment.
It was an angry period of my life. Almost all the stories were rooted in my anger. The one exception was an almost romantic piece called For the Glory which was about an unlikely love affair between a Jewish Dom and a White supremacist Sub.
Most of my anger was about God and the church. It was strange, because I still thought of the world in Christian terms. Even at my most belligerently skeptical, I managed to somehow exude an unwitting respect for the very God I was attacking. The more brutal my fiction became, the more I keenly felt His absence.
My anger took on a momentum, though. My vision was clouded by despair. I’m not saying there is such a thing as demons, but I felt like I was caught up in a struggle against darkness. And I was losing…
I was working on a sequel to one of my first eBooks. The original was called Grace & Blood and the sequel – never published – was the last horror porn I ever wrote. It was a sort of goodbye to the genre. The hero was a man used to killing. He was good at it and he enjoyed it, but he came face to face with an evil even greater than himself. At the end of the book he faces a decision – give in to the power that both frightened and fascinated him or walk away. He made his choice and I realized, I could not make the same choice, but that was what I was doing with each story – making his choice over and over.
I’ve got nothing against horror, but the spirit in which I was writing those stories was not a healthy one. I felt like the titular empathetic sadist from this post by Jodi Perkins. I pushed my characters deeper and deeper into a depravity which both titillated and sickened me. It was not a healthy place.
So, now, I feel like I need to take a step back and to think differently about how I approach horror. Yes, I am still a horror writer, but now I want to write from a place of unity as I explore all these paradoxes. I’m currently revising a ghost story about the movements in my soul which have changed me from a writer of brutal horror porn to something else… I hope it will still bring some chills but I want them to reflect my spiritual maturation. At least, I hope it is a maturation. It’s a change, that’s for sure.
I do miss Eric sometimes. And some of the friends he formed. I’m not seeking out many of his old friends. Some of them would probably rather not hear from him. Some of them wouldn’t mind. If you’re an old friend of his, drop me a line using the info on my contact page. But if you don’t want to, hey, I’ll understand. Eric could be kind of a jerk! Maybe you’re better off without him! But Thomas, hopefully, isn’t such a bad guy.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. How has you writing changed over the years? How have you changed over the years?