Watching Salem’s Lot and realising why I became a writer – WiP: 44,500 words breaking my new rules

¦ dialling in from the Sky Bunker ¦

18:56 GMT.  Saturday night. I’m dressed-up in a smart crisp white cotton shirt, waistcoat and suit jacket – a pair of deep blue jeans and light brown leather shoes with square-cut toes. Heading out to Cheltenham tonight – up the motorway – to go to a 1920s art deco picture house that’s now a rather lovely place to eat. The Daffodil. Meeting good friends there.

David Soul as Ben Mears in Salem's Lot 1979 gazing in mute horror at the Marsten House - a writer returns to the town of his childhood to confront the Evil that lurks there

David Soul as Ben Mears looks upon the Marsten House in mute horror

Whereas last night I was wearing two weeks beard growth and slobbed-out on one of the two sofas in the front room, supping a tall glass of whisky coke – heavy on the whisky. It was Friday night and the end of a tough week. Work is very intense. Has been for weeks. Several large projects running at once.  I bought Salem’s Lot on a whim from Amazon. So lying on the sofa I started watching it. My god. It’s still just as good as I remember it.  I haven’t watched it since my late teens. This is a movie I grew up with during early teens. And watching it now, into my early 40s, I’m struck by so many things. I’m older now than David Soul was as the protagonist within the movie. I’m conscious of the dated 1970s furnishings.  Of the Californian landscape masquerading as New England. But more than anything, I’m keen aware of the delicious mood of creeping horror that pervades the interlocking character plays and set-pieces.  And watching Ben Mears – the horror writer – returning to sit within the concavity that shaped his early life with trauma and fear, I’m acutely aware of the influence this movie had upon my own young teenage mind.  Is Ben Mears the reason I became a horror writer?  Partly so, I reckon. That and the potent effect that H.P.Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos cycle of work had upon me around the same time.


Monday morning. 08:11 GMT. It was a good weekend. The Daffodil was excellent. Great to spend time soaking in the atmosphere of another century: 1920s bliss.  So much for my new regime of taking a month off for every 2 months spent writing – an attempt to prevent the creative obsession from dominating so much of my life.  I spent a lot of Saturday and some of Sunday working on The Social Club –  now up to 44,500 words.  Senior Verifier Jadon Purgo is having the “comfortable” paradigm of the last few years of his life shaken to the core.  The veils are dropping from his eyes.  Life as a survivor, in London, surrounded by Dead Zone is just about to become very dangerous for him.

I also received the first part of a work-in-progress by voice artist Cody Johnson; he’s turning my short story The Masters of Chaos into an audio.  Jesus… incredible. Sent shivers down my spine and a tingle of pure delight in my brain.  I love the story. It’s one of my favourites, but he’s absolutely nailed the narrative style I wanted to achieve.   So I’m looking forward to making it available soon, although I need to wrap some PR around it so I can actually gain some benefit for the work I’m paying for.  Watch this space.

If you like Salem’s Lot you might enjoy this:


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David J Rodger – DATA



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