Embracing the Darkness

by William Holden

I’ve been writing gay erotica now for about fourteen years, and I have to say the writing process never ceases to amaze me. As a gay man, I loved reading the old gay pulps from the 60’s and 70’s. As gay publishing changed, I took up reading contemporary gay erotica. I wrote my first short story back in 1998. It was a typical contemporary piece about a young man’s first gay sexual experience. After writing that story I couldn’t stop, the characters and plots poured out of me, and until recently, I was content with writing the same way. So why leave a good thing, right? To be honest, I don’t think the choice was all mine. About two years ago, I received my first message that things were about to change. I awoke at three in the morning to something new running through my mind. This was my first taste of the darkness. A taste I was unfamiliar with, but one I would soon learn to crave. I jumped out of bed and ran to my computer. The following three paragraphs are what came out of me, and still to this day remain in their unedited form.

What causes a mind to sour isolation, loneliness, paranoia? Whatever the cause, I fear I’m losing mine. What began as a passion for the male body, the sex, the sensual heat between two men has turned to something else, something dangerous and deadly. I’m losing control; control over emotions, over desires. What starts out as an innocent anonymous meeting ends in fear, anger, and violence.


I need to write – to write everything down chasing the darkness out of my head and onto the paper. I need this to cleanse my body and soul. But the dirt always returns, stronger and more desperate than before. 


The room is hollow, empty of life itself. The only movements are a continuous cloud of smoke from the cigarettes and a broken traffic light outside the window. The room shifts and changes with its deep red blinking tones. It flashes in my eyes, over and over. It’s become a part of me, of part of what I am becoming. 

What you see is what came out of me in the wee hours of that morning. On several occasions, I have attempted to clean them up, and to find a proper place for them in one of my stories, but more than two years later those three paragraphs remain untouched. There is something about those words, the immediacy of having to write them down that night, the intense rush of the unknown spilling out of me as the rest of the city slept. Something or someone is not willing to let me make any changes.

What came out of me wasn’t my voice, or at least a voice I recognized. The words, quite frankly, disturbed me. How could something so dark and obviously tormented come out of me? The darkest thing I had written to that point was a watersports scene in a short story some ten years prior. When I showed these paragraphs to my partner that morning, he appeared puzzled by my reaction to them. I remember him saying, “What you wrote doesn’t surprise me at all. You have lived and breathed horror novels and movies all your life. You worship Halloween as if it were the only day of the year that mattered. This is who you are as a writer. It’s the voice all writers look for. It’s a part of you. Don’t walk away from it, embrace it.” I look back at those paragraphs, especially the last sentence and realize that something inside of me, wanted out.

That was my first introduction to the dark half that was living inside of me. As I became more comfortable with this new persona, I named him Christopher. He quickly became my shadow, never leaving my side. He showers with me, goes to work with me, and has haunted my dreams almost every night since. The stories in the collection “Words to Die By” are his. They are about the darkness that lies in all of us. For the characters in these stories, the moment of embrace is violent, painful, and at times deadly. For me, that moment of embrace was a gift, and one I hope the readers will feel, accept, and perhaps through Christopher’s stories reach deeper into themselves to embrace their own darkness.


Stay Tuned for the Video Trailer Tomorrow…

3 Responses to “Embracing the Darkness”

  1. 1 Sheri Campbell March 13, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    WoW! Your words are powerful, not that I understand it all but gee it makes me want to read your work Mr. Holden. I know one editor who will laugh at my unlikely comment.


  2. 2 Carsen Taite March 13, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Can’t wait to read Christopher’s stories.


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