That’s what it looks like out the back door of my new apartment.
This was the view out of the window of my Hong Kong apartment only a few short days ago:
Things are a little different for ol’ Louise. I’ve gone from the roar of Hong Kong to the silence of...wait for it...Yamaguchi, Japan.
Oh, my Great Kitten in the Sky, it’s quiet out here. I stepped out my back door last night and a.) couldn’t see anything in THE BLACKNESS and b.) immediately felt on edge because of the SILENCE.
Have I moved into a horror movie?
I kid. No shade at folks who enjoy rural life — a part of me can understand the appeal. The pace is slower, there’s a greater sense of community, and if you’re lucky (like I am!) the landscape is breathtaking. And once it snows here, I will be in a winter wonderland. That I honestly can’t wait for. Also BONUS: wild deer!
But as a person who is most at ease when lulled to sleep by the sounds of traffic and late-night revelers, the quiet out here is a bit disconcerting. Plus our internet is all jacked up, and JAPAN says it will be for another 10 days.
So I’m like a labrador chasing her tail because I don’t have my usual toys (interwebs), and I can’t play in my beloved dog park (Hong Kong) anymore. Well, I can’t play there for the time being; who knows where this pooch could end up.
Anyway, here I am in Yamaguchi (more on this at a later date), determined to love rural life for at least a year, and holding my Hong Kong memories warm and toasty in my heart.
But now you’re wondering, if my interwebs are all screwy, how is this post getting to you?
Because Mr. Louise is working at the nearby college, and I’ve hijacked their interwebs. Until they tell me to go away. Because I’m not supposed to be doing this. But this is the only place that my mobile Wi-Fi thingy-machine will work properly. I’m that dodgy, frantic gal pounding on her keyboard in a dark side corridor. But I’m determined!
Also, my patient and understanding editor, Jamie, has been awesome about working with me on getting this to you. At one point I was going to TEXT her a post.
Jamie rocks. Everyone say, “Thank you, Jamie.”
But seriously, I’ve got to get out of here shortly. The same administrator-looking woman has cocked her head at me twice, and I’ve just pretended to be doing important maths in my head. This will only work for so long.
So, to tide you over for the next Creepy Corner when I can actually write something (I have a new story from my mom that I need to transcribe!), I thought I’d take you through my favorite Creepy Corner posts from the archives.
I know this isn’t ideal, but if you’re new or “newish” to the Creepy Corner, these stories might sufficiently keep you up tonight.
So here they are, in no particular order. Thanks for continuing to bear with me over this moving hokey-pokey! I promise we will be back to our regularly scheduled programming very soon.
One of the earliest Creepy Corners, this post gave me a glimpse into what Creepy Corner could and should be. To me, the best Creepy Corners have a balanced mix of history, legend, personal story, and mystery. My grandfather’s story checks all those marks. Plus the aural aspect of it is so eerie and evocative to me — the striking of the gong, the shuffling of feet, even the silence filling the spaces in between. I’m so lucky to have this story in my family.
I was still figuring out Japan life when I wrote this. No surprise, Japanese ghost stories were my path into the culture. Not only do I love how powerful, unapologetic, and/or unrelenting Japanese woman-ghosts are, but in a culture that is so male-dominant, I enjoy reading about the legendary women who men now cower from. The stories are terrifying, but they also capture such intense sadness, even pity, making for ghost stories with depth.
And Mr. Louise got an Oiwa tattoo (he has a sleeve of ghosts, one of which is dancing Ghost Brandy!) and HOLY SHIT I basically live in fear of the day she decides to come and exact her revenge on us.
FUN FACT: When I was in high school I wrote a play based on this story called "And the Rest in Peace." It won first place in a playwriting competition in Texas, and I got to take a production of it to Austin. This was in 1999. If you were a theater kid in Austin in 1999, you might have seen my play. You probably did not.
Regardless, that little play is one of the pieces of writing I’m most proud of.
I know this was just in May, but I’ve been obsessed with the Lowe Hotel ever since. When I’m bored, I look up stuff about it. I look up pictures, stories, video. Sometimes places inexplicably capture your heart, and the Lowe Hotel was such a place for me. Every stop on my Creepy Corner Road Trip was worthwhile and wonderful (and spooky in its own way), but the Lowe was just so odd and lonely, and really seemed to exist in a world all its own. It spoke to me. Is that way creepy?
Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll write the great American horror novel while spending a month at the Lowe, à la Stephen King and The Stanley, and the hotel will reveal its secrets to me.
I almost didn’t include this one. Not because I don’t think it’s an important part of the Creepy Corner Canon, but because this was one of my earliest posts and the writing (grammar, punctuation) is not my best. I don’t claim to be any grammar or punctuation wizard now (and my spelling is admittedly atrocious), but this one just shows how GREEN I was. Being green is not shameful; this post just reminds me of a time when I was really struggling to figure out this whole “writer thing.” I still think this is a good story, I just might cover my face while you read it.
You knew Gef would be here. Because he’s always here. ALL AROUND US.
In my mind Gef is the Creepy Corner mascot. I imagine him and my mom on a coat of arms fighting over a saltine cracker. Mom loves her saltines.
A Twitter follower once told me that there should be a Creepy Corner drinking game for every time I mention Gef the Mongoose. What can I say? I love/fear that rascally “eighth wonder of the world”!
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