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Arnzen's Weird Newsletter

+++ Vol 1.1, Sept. 26, 2002 +++

Scream Musings


Here you can expect the unexpected.

Like many writer's newsletters, one intention of The Goreletter is to share news of interest to my readers. But I will also approach this as a creative workspace, not as a dull publicity tool. From strange poetry to offbeat departments to essays on writing and the web, The Goreletter will be full of weird ideas worth mulling over.

Don't be fooled by its name: The Goreletter is not intended to be gory (though it might be). Nor is it associated with Al Gore. The title simply signifies that it complements my web site at:

Feedback encouraged. Sign the gorelets guestbook and let me know what you think.

On to the unpleasantry… – Michael Arnzen


To “blather” means to chatter foolishly. But the word sounds more like “bloody lather” to me, so let's scrub up….

“Scream Musings”

1: So long as you're screaming, you know you're alive. Your first word is a scream. Your last word, often, is a scream. Screaming is nothing more than baby talk with the volume cranked up. In other words: something like whalesong.

2: Fact: We all don't scream for ice cream.

3: Screams cry out to others – to alarm them or ward them off or bring them to assist us. But we are always the one who hears them loudest.

4: Edward Munch, expressionist painter of “The Scream,” somehow captures the sound of a wailing man in the pigment. You can hear it if you're in the museum that houses the actual painting. But you must put your ears against the canvas and strain quite a bit to hear it. Even then: all you'll hear is a whisper. If you do hear the scream, it's too late. You have certainly gone mad and your senses are no longer to be trusted.

5: Do you truly listen to the Scream Queens? Should you?

6: Paper cuts aside, I've never seen a reader scream while reading a horror novel.

7: Screaming is an art. Screams are a matter of maximum volume at maximum air current at maximum pitch. All stops are out with the scream – all ten fingers are chording the organ, Nosferatu-style. There's music in it. This is a truism that opera singers and metalheads share.

8: Screaming is part of animal's everyday language. The monkey screech is perhaps the closest thing to a primal scream among animals. Cats hiss when they're scared, but how do we know they're not actually screaming when they're meowing with gusto? Do you ever scream back? Should you?

9: Which is correct? Is it “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!” or “Aaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!” or “Arrrrrrrrrrrghghgh!”? Which is best: “Doh!” or “Oh!” or “Ow!” or “No!” Are screams ever >really< more than one word? Do ALL CAPS make these words any louder? Does removing the exclamation point rob them of their urgency?

Perhaps handwriting best captures the erotic nature of the scream: the bleeding of ink into the page; the to and fro of fat and thin lines as the pen presses into and out of the paper, recording the ebb and flow of the writer's panic; the missing words and misspellings and ink stains blotted by sweat and tears.

10: Screaming is ambiguous so it's hard to really know what to do when someone walks up and screams at you for no apparent reason. You scream for pleasure as much as pain. You scream for attention as much as for silence. You scream when you're scared and you scream to scare other people.

11: !


“Am I the only lesbian goth in London?” – headline spotted on, July 18, '02

“Parachutes for the car are optional. Their ultimate goal is to drop a Greyhound with forty people inside.” –, Sept 19, '02



Craft a scene where a doctor explains to his patient why he must break his bones. Include an unexpected tool.

A killer is holding a conversation with his (or her) weapon of choice in a busy public setting. What's on their minds? Script the dialogue.

Write the diary entry of a madman; begin by detailing some event (whether personal or in the news) that actually occurred in your life today. Even if you actually went insane, fictionalize it.


Please support literacy, so that more people can read the depraved and corrupt ideas of dark imagineers and frighteners everywhere. The Horror Writers Association has partnered with Proliteracy World-wide to sponsor an online auction of wonderful horror genre related items, ranging from getting your name in a famous author's book, to rare editions of impossible to find miscellany. I've donated a few nice things, short of bodily organs. It's a good cause, after all. is sponsoring the event until 10/9. Here's a direct link:

And here's a hot new link to go right to the “Arnzen Horror Lot” in the auction, which features true rarities, and a curious spare copy of my first novel, Grave Markings. [But I >swear< I did NOT take a bite out of the book! Check it out for a chuckle)]:

If any Goreletter subscriber wins the bidding on the Arnzen lot, I'll reward you. Send me an e-mail with your name, address and the secret password – “*deleted*” – in it and I'll supplement your bounty with a personalized copy of another hard-to- find Arnzen book, magazine, or other oddity from my private stock.

C'mon, get your weird out. Bid on it before 9/30 and help people figure out what all those squiggles on paper mean, would ya?


“But you NEED the deviants, Judge!”

For your next movie night, rent:


Here's a cool magazine you probably haven't seen: QUICK FICTION. This slim, pocket-sized edition of literary microfiction features fifteen stunning tales under 500 words a piece. Issue #1 features stories like Richard Pearse's “Cat Custody” – in which a couple's absurd squabble over the cat's attention turns deadly – or Beth Bayley's remarkable “What Tim Haynes Found” – a letter to the future discovered in an attic, written by a group of teens who share a unique secret.

QUICK FICTION is a steal for the 2- issue subscription price of only $6. Issue #2 is due to be mailed any day now. Visit for more info on this wonderfully brief literary journal. Celebrate the short-short!


Happy Little Clots:

Web Search for Unknown Kadath:

Trick-or-Treat, Smell my Severed Feet:


“3 Sporting Haikruel”


fathers with young boys
writhe in wrought iron cages
evading the bats


head needs some polish
skull galumphing down alley
missing the bone pins


catgut strung racquet
far too heavy to volley
dangling the feline


Flying Discs of Despair: Check out the neat t-shirts, mugs, and, yes, frisbees that DarkVesper Publishing has put together to support my upcoming book, FREAKCIDENTS, at

Speaking of FREAKCIDENTS, I just received a great blurb (cover quote) from James Morrow about the book:

“Welcome to the barbed brain of Michael Arnzen, where every axon is a steel trap, every dendrite a hidden snare, every synapse a cul de sac, and every myelin sheath an elixir enabling us to find affirmation in ugliness and to smile whenever the dog eats God's homework.” – James Morrow, Nebula and World Fantasy Award winning author of THE ETERNAL FOOTMAN and THE LAST WITCHFINDER.

You'll find the above tattooed on my forehead. I'll lift my bangs and flash the audience with it before fiction readings. And it'll be a riot if I ever go in for brain surgery.

A handful of my short stories have been posted on – the premiere e-book distributor for sci- fi/fantasy/horror – and I've had the honor of being a best-seller in their horror and crime categories for the past month. They'll be distributing my Bram Stoker Award finalist from y2k, PARATABLOIDS: Poetry Based on the Weekly World News, as an e-book sometime next month. So keep your eyes peeled. (You can borrow my stainless steel peeler. The good one with the rubber grip.)

YOUR BONUS for reading: Fictionwise offers “15% off” discounts on a special list of e-books for readers of The list of discounts is updated >weekly<:

Some free stuff out soon this month:

“The Curse of Fat Face”
++ Vestal Review

“In the Middle”
++ Insolent Rudder

“Eyeless” & “Microbescope”
++ Sidereality

“Exhaling You”
++ The Dream People

Lots o' Halloween stuff to come around next time.


Readers who have been following my site have noticed that I've been playing around with “Flash” animation a lot lately – as in the “Disco Inferno” e- poem I published on the site last month.'s front page now features an interactive “handheld PDA” that brings to life the previous Gorelets logo. It lets you read different things when you click on the buttons with your mouse. It's still under development, but if you click on the skull face icon or the logo for “Gorelets” itself on the main screen, you'll get some interesting results. Feedback on this experiment is appreciated.

Subscribers can sneak preview more of my multimedia madness at:


Thanks for scrolling so far down. Look for issue #2 shortly before Halloween. If you're an e-mail subscriber, forward this issue to a friend. If you're a PDA channel reader, beam it to someone. This is a new project and I need you to help spread the word.

If you're tired of this noise, then plug your ears and UNSUBSCRIBE at:

— All material in The Goreletter is: © 2002 Michael A. Arnzen, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward the entire contents as a whole, without alterations. For reprint permissions, please contact

This newsletter is formatted in one skinny column to accommodate handheld computer users. If you own a PDA, try The Goreletter as a free Mazingo channel at:


“Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.” – George Bernard Shaw (died 1950)

* Due to the temporary nature of internet URLs, some websites mentioned in back issues of the Goreletter may no longer be live, or may also point to unscrupulous web servers. I will denote these with overstrikes as I discover them, but if you encounter a dead, changed or unscrupulous link, please feel free to inform me.
* “Boo Coupons” are expired in all but the current issue.
* If you are seeking a particular book by Arnzen mentioned in The Goreletter, try
* Arnzen's blog is now located at Visit it for breaking news and extras not appearing in The Goreletter.

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goreletter/scream_musings.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/29 12:07 by marnzen

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