[scarabic] We are about to begin an interview with Jeffrey A. Stadt, aka Mr. Frosty.
* MrFrosty nods his head.
[scarabic] Jeff is co-editor of Bloodreams magazine, as well as editor-in-chief of Mind Rot. His novella, Stigma: After World, was published by Cyber-Psychos AOD in Autumn 1997. A tale of rage and caring, it utilized his own experience with psychiatry and the more repressed dark portions of our minds. Among a sundry list of other things, including being on the Death Equinox '98 staff, Jeff has had his sordid fiction published all over the damned place. He's also known for his evocative rants.
[SNIP through Jeff's entrance]
[scarabic] Do you ever have moments of being (more) afraid of yourself after reading your own writing?
[MrFrosty] Yeah, that's happened a few times. It's like, am I that evil or twisted? But I really did enjoy writing it! I love getting into psychotic/disturbed minds. It's quite fun, as long as you're able to leave it behind. For writing is like dreaming and if you've ever had a nightmare where you turn out to be a killer, then you know how terrifying that can be. And then you question yourself. But that's the best way to write. For if you don't live that character's life, no matter how vicious or dangerous or disgusting he/she is, then it won't sound realistic and it blows the image and you'll lose readers. You have to relate to all the characters you create and paint across the canvas of the page. If you don't it'll stay fake, fantasy, and removed far from present reality. I like to present honest images, and it kills me if I get something wrong. But I have never scared myself with writing horror. Disturbed myself, yes.
* MrFrosty takes a sip of diet cola and lights a cigarette.
[SNIP through the personal aspects of writing, losing oneself in it, etc]
[scarabic] Why is (writing) the negative more "fun" for you?
[MrFrosty] It's much more intriguing and works on more levels then just arousing the reader. Sex itself is mostly bland but if you add a psychological or supernatural element, or even by adding pain, it's more attractive for me to write. I hate to be bored with writing, and I need to add depth and intrigue. To create the sex act. For what's it like to be raped by an incubus or succubi? Plain sex bores the hell out of me, and you can watch any movie to see it. I need an intellectual, emotional, element to the sex to make it work for me and horrific erotica works the best. As with rape. There's that extra added element of force... and sometimes, the characters enjoy being raped. It is quite common in most women of having bonafide rape fantasies. No one really wants to be raped, but there is that idea that is arousing. I also find it erotic to shoot dope, but I can't bring myself to do it. It is but an erotic fantasy. Nothing more, nothing less. And I am sure that most people wouldn't admit to having these erotic dreams or thoughts of this kind, because they are ashamed to admit to the attraction of the violence or darkness involved. I have rape fantasies of my own but if it came to reality, no. I wouldn't want it to happen. And that is the idea behind horror and the unknown.
[scarabic] I had fantasies about being killed while having sex.
[MrFrosty] I often use strangulation in my stories. I was very turned on, in my youth, by all of the Hammer Dracula films and the use of throttling the men. By Dracula, instead of biting them. Peter Cushing knew how to be strangled, and I was attracted to him I guess. Strangulation is so personal a way to die. Up close and hands on. Pun intended. My fantasies are about relinquishing power to another. Like in rape. Of being innocent and under the other's person's control. I often see myself as both the boy and the "father". Call me demented, but that's what's inside of me. I could never hurt another person in a sexual way, and that troubles me when someone forces themselves upon another. But that is the erotic element that drives us forward -- the unknown. Violence has been linked with sex from the dawn of man and it was once romanticized. And that is what is integral to the human, as an animal, that most folks do not wish to be revealed to them. For they think we have left that animalistic drive/passion back in the forests, but it lurks inside. Outside of our society. But it is in our DNA. We cannot hide that fact, but most people try. If you accept that part of you, it doesn't become an issue and you rob it of the power to hurt others. Because then you are able to control it and use its energies for different purposes. Instead of killing your neighbor because they play the music too loud, and you just snap! Why let these feeling fester inside of you? Show some light on it and use the power there, and control it. Then we'd have a better place to live, and people would be responsible for their own actions. But now, they just use excuses and live in the dark of their own truth. That's why our prisons are overflowing. People would rather be blind sheep then take complete control over their lives, in all its many facets.
[scarabic] What gut reaction do you have to the phrase "too cerebral"?
[MrFrosty] Rage. Really, it pisses me off when joe-blow editor rejects me for being too intelligent. Or for talking over his reader's head. There was a time when challenging literature, even pulp literature, was accepted. But today the mainstream, mass market, doesn't want to think - - and it is the editors of those publications that think they need to publish just entertainment that excites only the most basic of emotions. I like to make people think, not just feed their appetite for escapism. But in the mainstream world, there is only money. And too cerebral a story challenges that person to utilize things that they didn't pay for. And that is a sad commentary upon society. They are used to quick, painless, mind candy instead of feeling or delving into an area that might challenge them. We are living in a two dimensional world now. And that is frightening, to be so detached and unfeeling. The sheep herd is growing while the shepherds are dwindling. It is innate that people want to learn and grow, but they are not allowed to have this material anymore because it is not popular. They have been rotted through with too much waste and now they are just happy to get whatever the publishers feed them, without questioning it. It's a cop out. I mean, they mustn't think highly of their readers.
[scarabic] As an editor, what primary quality do you most often find yourself looking for in submitted material?
[MrFrosty] Something different than the norm -- something that makes me feel. Every story that I accept intrigues me in some way. Either the writer's style, or an element in a story, or if that writer makes me feel or think. What I like most is when I feel like I have seen the person writing the story, recognizing that personal truth of that writer as it presents itself in the story. As an editor, you can tell when a writer puts himself into the story, or is just making ends meet. True imagination comes from the soul and not a text book, cookie cutter, pattern. Even if the writing is poor but the writer is honest with himself and his creation, and makes me -- the reader -- aware of it, then I'll publish it. Because that is how I write myself. With truth and honesty. I hate stories that hold nothing of interest to me personally. No truth, no emotion, just an idea that is flat and well written. That is two dimensional. I like three dimensional writing. Challenge me! Make me feel, make me think, force me into your head or world. That's what I like.
[SNIP through Clive Barker and ultra-right politics]
[scarabic] As an attending member at Death Equinox '97, what was your overall impression of the event?
[MrFrosty] It was quite liberating, actually. It was my first "official" convention, and it was unique. But it was also great fun. Attendance was lacking but the programming was very informative and entertaining, not to mention irreverent most of the time. It also allowed myself to get to know, up front and personally, people I wouldn't have been able to at other conventions.
[scarabic] What were some of the high points for you?
[MrFrosty] Sharing panels with such great folks like Don Webb, Brian Hodge, and Ed Bryant. And I also enjoyed the s/m instructional programming. The music was unique and I had a great time at the Little Fyodor performance. And of course, being a viewer at your own unique torture reading. One of the biggest kicks was the debate between Don Webb and John Shirley; two opposing viewpoints that clashed and were a live power struggle. Also the proximity with the guests of honor, I think, was the greatest thing. To be able to share a beer with someone you admire, and to actually have the chance to discuss with them things of an esoteric nature. That doesn't present itself at most conventions, I don't think. After all we were both the panels and the audience and we were able to explore more facets of creativity, through spirituality, that has no other "mainstream" outlet.
[SNIP through DE's returning support]
[scarabic] There actually was a lot of magick in DE '97, small though the field may have been.
[MrFrosty] Yes. And it was that energy and union between various differing religious viewpoints that held everyones' interests. It proved that differences of opinion and spirituality could work together cohesively to create something of value. And those to return for DE '98 are willing to try again. Because we valued the intimacy of DE '97. I am certain that anyone who came to that floor felt the power that was generated there and was quite attracted to that same power. DE '97 had its share of detractors but, for the majority, it was a magical miracle that rejuvenated us all. And the differing viewpoints educated us, and touched us all in varying ways. It helped us see that unity through diversity is possible. And it is also powerful. No one who attended DE '97 can forget it. It was the beginning of something very special within the creative, spiritual, communities. One that DE '98 can and will build upon.
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