Have you ever touched the Darkness, dipped you finger in it, the vibration threatens to swallow you whole, and you pull back, afraid? Has it crept up on you, an autonomous shadow? It follows your every step but you know it is not quite your own, it is so much bigger than you, it is the shadow of all things.
Have you allowed yourself to be drawn, deep, deep down into the dark well? The stillness you found there surprised you. Not at all what you imagined or feared. But keep your wits about you. Darkness reveals itself in its own time, in its own way. Before you know it you’re fully immersed and there is no way back, no path behind you, only one stretching ahead.
One of my favourite authors who has greatly influenced my work is Brett Easton Ellis. I remember reading an interview with him many years ago, some of the comments he made have always remained with me. He received much criticism for American Psycho. It is a gruesome, violent, terrifying and marvellous book. In the interview he described his experience writing that book, and how often he lay curled on the
floor weeping, traumatized by his own writing. What he achieved with American Psycho is phenomenal. The author took possession of his character’s mind. He didn’t just write a book about a serial killer, he became a serial killer writing a book. (I wonder how he exorcised Patrick Bateman from his life when he had finished writing, or if he ever did at all?)
Our initial response to such a book might be – what kind of sick fucker writes shit like this? And, bubbling beneath that, the awful suspicion that maybe he enjoyed writing that material. I think the truth is Easton Ellis journeyed deep into the collective underworld and returned with American Psycho. It is a merciless portrayal of the darkness that lurks in the human mind and the extreme deformities that may and do manifest.
There are many kinds of Darkness. There is the Darkness of obsession and craving, which compels and repels you at the same time. There is a Darkness that takes all and gives nothing in return. There is a sublime pulsating Darkness that leads to illumination. There are many more, more Darkness that we can name. We need to choose wisely. Which we allow in. But Darkness is never far away, we don’t have to reach very far.
American Psycho cover art work by Marshall Arisen