May 13, 2016

5 Questions with Soren Narnia of the Knifepoint Horror Podcast

Do you remember your first campfire story? The thrill of pondering the unknown as a wall of black trees surrounded you under the roof of night?

Two weeks ago I happened upon a podcast that recreated that experience for me. I didn't know what I was looking for — it found me instead. Knifepoint Horror barely teased the contents of each episode, with one-word titles like Sleep, Fields or Staircase.

Lying back in my chair and pressing the play button I listened to Chasm. Told in the first person, it took you on a dangerous journey to lake Baikal where a curious man faces a thing of nebulous contours and dread so immense he won't even look upon it.

Max Ernst, The Temptation of Saint Anthony


That one episode hooked me. I started binge-listening. Then I wanted to know more about the guy who wrote these short, sometimes intentionally artless tales and read them out loud at a slow steady pace.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you 5 Questions with Soren Narnia. And I encourage you to learn the story behind that pseudonym.

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Lazy, daydreaming procrastinator.

Can you remember/describe the first thing you ever wrote?

That would be the super-awesome 'Valley of the Vampires', a 4-page, 28-word handwritten opus complete with illustrations and bound with two stout staples. In the first sentence, I informed the reader that there was such a thing as the Valley of the Vampires. In sentence #2, I assured them that this was a bad thing. In sentence #3, I assured them that it was REALLY a bad thing. That was pretty much where the story ended.

As a writer, I suppose you have a number of favorite authors. Who might they be?

J.G. Ballard for his kind of sad yet disturbing sci-fi writings; Kurt Vonnegut for his humanity, grim ironies and totally unique style; H.P. Lovecraft for his comfortingly repetitive visions in that creepy Cthulhu world; Joyce Carol Oates for the way she writes about the jumble of neuroses and flaws that make up even the most functional among us; Spalding Gray for his likeable everyman adventures; Stephen King for his impressive skill with words and the ability to create such recognizable human beings and situations.

In one of your stories, you mention a fictional movie, "The Language Demons Speak" by the equally fictional moviemaker Thomas Naroth. Do you see a metaphor for the genre of horror lurking in that title, where "demon" stands both for the Christian concept of demon as evil spirit and the Greek concept of daimon as spirit guide? What is horror trying to tell us, then? 

Horror is the spirit guide that takes our hand and offers us a virtual encounter with gruesome death so that our curiosity about what it might be like to suffer one can be temporarily satisfied. Then the spirit takes us back home safe and sound. But if we ask the spirit to show us another death, and another, and another, that spirit starts to become a true demon, trapping us in unhealthy dark thoughts, making us enjoy them too much, causing us to forget that it's not good to look so often into the spidery corners of mortality. Once you're possessed by that demon, it's time to start watching Star Wars movies or rom-coms or something, for the sake of your mental health.

Two Knifepoint Horror episodes feature trees as very prominent symbols -- for example, the trio of phantasmal trees that appear to the narrator's uncle in Sleep. What do trees mean to you?

There's something up with trees. On a lovely summer day, they're beautiful leafy green shade-givers. On a crisp autumn day, a dazzling display of natural color. But on a cold drizzly day in winter, they're intimidating, beckoning, silent and jagged ogres looming all around you on every side, each step in the forest pulling you deeper into the embrace of a silent coven whose intent is unknown. The seasons completely transform their meaning to me. So here's my open statement to trees: I'm not buying your innocent act anymore. I know what you really are. Who the hell do you think you're dealing with? You think I'm a total chump? Do you?

FOR MORE:
www.soren-narnia.com || knifepoint horror

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