However, back to the hunt for horror bloggers.
My search threw up an oddity: A blogger who had retired from blogging. Worse, the retirement seemed to be due to the sheer weight of the reviewing process. I have to admit, I am terrible at marketing my own work and I can count on one hand the number of people I have approached over my writing career asking if they might review a novel of mine, but I am in the minority on that. Most self-published writers are always pushing their work, and certainly the marketing machines of the mainstream publishers are paid to do nothing else… so why should my interest have been drawn to a reviewer who quit reviewing? After all, like water in the bomb craters of World War One, a hole, when made, is quickly filled in this business.
Well, the blogger in question ran the site known as “The Hat Rack”, and the reason I was surprised was because of this comment he made in his farewell entry of August this year:
“I have lost much of my faith in fiction. The idea of finding some sort of Truth between the pages of a fantasy has been receding farther and farther from my reach…. For months, perhaps even longer, I have been trying to ignore this, assuming that my old love would snap back into place if I just kept trudging on. Instead, the act of reviewing has grown to seem like a chore, and perpetually forcing myself to analyze what I read in the hope that profundity will be reborn has just strangled the enjoyment I used to get from stories”.
What an awful thing. Reading is meant to be an escape. It is a distinctly private and personal pastime, shrouded in intimacy and imagimotion (the combined effect of imagination and emotion). If a person subsequently seeks to share that experience with others by placing a review then it is us, as potential readers of that particular work, who owe a debt of gratitude to the reviewer… but if the review process ever over-shadows the joy of reading – or we find ourselves reading with a review in mind as opposed to reading for the sheer enjoyment of it…. well, it is then that nature twists out of balance, planets grind out of alignment, and we miss our morning bus to Normalville.
If a review doesn’t come from the heart it is meaningless. For it to come from the heart it has to have been the very last thing in the reader’s mind during the reading process. I fear that too many are losing their balance on this, and the drive to eat through large numbers of books and comment as they go sometimes has the side effect of morphing them into a living example of the Hungry Caterpillar. Always hungry. Never satisfied.
So my message this week is embodied in the last words of The Hat Rack blogger:
“I plan to try and read without the pressure, to rediscover what it means to read for the pure joy of the tale and the prose”.
Amen to you, brother. I take my hat off to you.
(the archives of The Hat Rack blog can be found
I would also be obliged if horror fans might consider visiting the following blog: http://littleblogofhorror.wordpress.com/ )