Influences Part (eh, I lost count): Carrie

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Whenever I tell people what my book is about, inevitably there will be someone who makes a statement similar to this: “So basically, you wrote Carrie.” While it irks me that, having not read the book at all, they feel they can make this comparison simply because I tell them it’s about a teenage girl who is abused by her father and who finds out she has the ability to control fire with her mind, I understand the confusion. I am also at least slightly flattered they think of Carrie because let’s face it: there has never been a more famous girl in horror than Carrie. Even my mom knows who Carrie is, and my mom tends to read everything but horror.

It’s time to set the record straight: Immolation is in no way influenced by Carrie. I had never read Carrie before I wrote Immolation, I never saw the movies, and I only had a vague idea of what the story was about. The closest I can get to saying that Carrie influenced the story of Lydia Allison Cantrell is that it began the career which would eventually bring about Bag of Bones, which as I said in another blog was a definite influence on Immolation.

That being the case, why would I throw Carrie in my list of influences? Simply put, the spirit of Carrie permeates Immolation. When I first read Carrie, all I could think of was how similar the two characters were, as well as how different. Both were teenage girls, both were influenced by forces outside of their control, both were outsiders, both had mental powers. And, when I watched the movies (especially the first remake) I realized that I had something of an adolescent crush on both. Lydia is the kind of girl I would have dated in High School if she had been around. Carrie was the kind of girl I would have given anything to kiss in high school. I don’t need the knockouts to make myself feel better, I need the girls that were so achingly beautiful because they didn’t realize it.

Of all the things I hope people will get out of Immolation when it’s released, I think one of the most important is that beauty has less to do with a figure or an eye color and more to do with personality. The joke out there is that when you ask how a girl looks and you’re told she has a great personality, it means she’s a dog. HA HA, funny funny, everyone laughs. But I have learned in my 30+ years on this planet that personality is a better gauge of beauty than looks can ever hope to be. I hope that Immolation can teach people out there-from adolescent girls to grown women, from little boys to men who have children of their own-that basing one’s desires to know another human being on how they look is simple and childish. The true “Beautiful People” out there are not always the ones Marilyn Manson ironically identifies in the song, they are often the ones who embraced that song because it spoke to how they feel: alone and scared. And I want them to know: you are not alone. There are more of us than you ever realized.

Carrie, thank you. If you were real, I would have taken you to the prom.

Until Death is Defeated,

Sam

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