Rules have been broken, so here is another entry.
09 September 2004 - 15:22Sure this is what some think about at times especially since it was 10 years since one had graduated from high school. Here I am the co-editor of The House of Pain, a published author but not rich though. Some would ask me what I have accomplished in the last 10 years – I have to say quite a bit, namely survival with a mental illness. Not everyone says, “I want to write horror when I grow up.” But this was an occupation that I didn’t choose, as Nancy Jackson would say – it chose them. I am doing this collumn in two parts, the first part would be the pre-reunion and after the reunion the post reunion captions. No one expected the quiet special education student to become one of the most notorious horror writers on the web, always keep an eye on the quiet one they say.
But that being said it was in 1994 when I graduated from Glenbard East, a small handful from my class discovered what I was capable of when it came to scaring people. When I became the co-editor of The House of Pain and became published on Reality Check (all within the year 2004,) it will be official that I am a published author. I have to credit the heavy metal underground more than the gothic underground for the birth of my writing style, and the gothic underground for making it a mainstay. There was one or two students who knew I was freelancing as a writer, now that the short story Bite of the Spider is published – I am just waiting for it to really sink in. The reason my name is really out there was because of a few websites I published with years ago, one being House of Andromeda.
Though I was writing since the age of 14, it was at the age of 19 when I really picked up the passion for it. I’ve had the passion for the horror genre though before then. I am not sure of how many out there know of my appearing in the GothicChicago.com 2002-2003 calendar. Who never thought that the nerd in the Special Education classes was a horror force of nature. Everyone who read my work in Iowa, or recognized me from being on a few other gothic website publications. I began to realize how known I was becoming because when I called the reunionmakers website, a woman who was on the other end actually recognized my name from her nephew. She heard of The House of Pain; so it must have been when he found the story Gruesome Cargo. So I have been gearing up for this event – it isn’t like when I went to the conventions I’ve attended in recent years; but I know it will have that kind of nervousness. I at times when thinking about this, I keep thinking of the things Rod Serling wrote – and always thinking a Twilight Zone moment.
Will it turn out like something out of the Twilight Zone? It was sort of like that when I first set foot in the Caberet Metro in 2001 after years of being away from the place. Though this is something much different than going back to the metro, because I am going to be visiting people I haven’t seen in close to 10 years but ran into one or two from high school in 2001. Other than the chance meetings of classmates on the train going back and forth in Chicago; I haven’t really got in contact from people from high school or middle school except for the stray emails here and there. In the recent months and picking up a copy of Avalon by Serena Carrington. The Glenbard’s produced a few writers; one in dark horror and the other in Fantasy.
I am not trying to scare people when I am writing this but if it comes along to a scary moment I will let it happen. Since I have seen some scary things over the years. Namely in my 20s, and this would fuel my writing – especially when it comes to my health.
In some way I wonder the question, what did Rod Serling do if he went to his class reunion or if Richard Matheson went to his reunion? I would always think about that Twilight Zone moment the time when I was going to the hospital during Convergence, and this is sort of that kind of scenario with the class reunion. And here I am, Class of 1994, the generation that was exposed to Silence of the Lambs when one was the age of 14-15 years old. Now here I am at the age of 28, and writing for now 14 years. Some from my graduation class work in real estate and others are possibly lawyers but there is that small handful who are writers. I wonder some about the romance writer I knew from my high school years –– she was surprised that I was a writer and then said I was a better writer than she was. I knew she was a writer but I wasn’t sure if she got published yet; if she is out there – let me know.
With that being said; it is a question of what some of my classmates became, Glenbard East produced two, possibly three writers. I am just curious about the other writers now, actually how many writers – no matter what genre came out of my high school.
Class reunions happen every year – almost as much as when people die; not every student who graduates survive to go to their class reunion. I know this is going to sound like some horror plot when I write something like that but I will say that because of there had been two people who died in my class in a frame of two years, then another who is in prison serving life without paroll. The kind of thing that would inspire a gothic author in the sense of the word; namely if the grave of the student who didn’t have a marked tomb. True there could be a lot of things I can say of my graduation class; some good things and some harsh but I won’t be harsh here. Though I said I won’t say anything that will damage anyone from my graduating class; but I will say this of the guidence worker at the time who was working there at the time I was a Senior – she made a huge mistake saying that I shouldn’t take the ACT/SATs.
Personally, I wished she let me go on and take the test because my options would have been a lot more varied and my chances to get a wider audience as a writer; might of doubled if I had a college degree. I was also looking around at classmates.com to see what was going on over there and what was going on of how they wanted to do the music; I scored one for the industrial underground by saying I wanted to hear some gothic metal. Befriending heavy metal bands in the local area was something I knew would happen eventually; just would be a matter of time. Having some good friends who are equally talented with their sound, and some are writers who know how to do a scare that can scare the masses.
But one thing I was always considered even in the Gothic Subculture was an outsider because of my patterns of reading as well as my political philosophy, and when I was in school I felt like an outsider because of being in the special education system. I guess that is something I am always going to be because I was always a person who listened to heavy metal, just fell into the gothic subculture as a writer. And this might answer a few questions for my former classmates who might have them, if they ask me what I have been up to in the past ten years. I could even say the music I listen to became responsible for want to write what I am writing. In my path as a writer I befriended a well known DJ in the Chicago area – she knows who she is, and I won’t mention her name here.
I could actually see some of my former classmates saying, “Truly, that cannot be Nickolaus Pacione.” In fact, some of them did when I was at College of DuPage.
Especially since the Nickolaus Pacione they remember was one who didn’t have long hair or wore any black as in an entire outfit that was pitch black. They knew I read a lot of horror then; one book I had was one I wish I still had today –– it was a collection of short stories that Avon publishing put out. That collection was one planting the seed for me to do what I am doing now; then reading a lot of Stephen King. Thinking a lot about this reunion does make me a bit nervous but I have this notion I will do fine; but always in the back of my mind I can hear the theme of the Twilight Zone or The Night Gallery playing and having one of those kind of Rod Serling moments.
Everything around me seems to be walking into the Twilight Zone in the way they play themselves out. A dark picture in the way it is portrayed, I keep thinking about those things I hear of others who go back to their reunions and mocked because they are working in a Dominick’s or a fast food restaurant. (God; I can hear myself laughing back here when I typed that, forgive me if it sounds a bit harsh. Especially when it comes out to be quite deadpan in the delivery.) This is something I thought more about especially since I was diagnosed with a mental illness, the question if I was alone with this diagnosis in my grad class or having to go on disability because of it. If there is the question of why I write will pop up by a former classmate who never knew I was a writer, this would be my answer –– because it is the only thing I am capable of doing besides designing websites. I am not about to do my “take no prisoners” approach when doing this as what is seen with my website or with sites I’ve been published with over the years. There are other oppertunities to create a scare or to disturb the reader, this is not one of those times where I am going to leave them really disturbed by something they read.
I know one thing – when I do go into a dark mode, everyone around me will know it especially when I express myself with the horror works. But there are times I see the sand go thru my fingers especially when doors close and open, rejection letters and acceptions –– the writing life. Even as a writer, something as a class reunion does make me a bit nervous. Especially since I lived my life as a bit of a recluse since I moved back to Illinois. But as the saying goes, one cannot kill what doesn’t die and this is the case with my spirit and heart that goes into the work I do. I never asked to be a role model either, but when I became a horror writer –– that was a given. Especially with having a younger ** who looks up to ** brother. ** is even trying to write horror.
The class of 1994, a good question of how many horror writers and editors were from this graduation class but I can say this much I noticed more of them when I go online. It was when I enlisted into the NAVY but the career was shortlived because of my learning disability which I learned about a year later. That was when the medicating started and when I started to keep a journal. When I started writing full time was after getting laid off from the factory I worked at; as some knew me later on would describe me as the factory worker turned horror writer. My darkening started in 1995, after returning home from church and when my family sat me down and asked if I wanted to change my last name. I said I won’t do that because too much red tape – and never thought how important the last name I have now is.
It was from that I dabbled with poetry but someone encouraged me to pick up writing short stories again, and never stopped since then. In 1999, I picked up my interest in photography again after seeing my ex-fiancee do some photography of me in 1997. I have seen publication online but never in print until this year. Now if I was to look back all the struggles I delt with, it is something I can look back and say – this is what it is all for and worth it. The blood, sweat and tears. It is from that that I came from the understanding of why I became a writer, and when I was talking with Sherry Gibson (authoress, Only A Game,) it was the kind of notions I knew it was there –– the gut notion, and writer’s hunches. As I was speaking to her I was just putting the wraps on Tabloid Purposes. And what can I say to my classmates about accomplishments? Doing an anthology of world class authors is an accomplishment in itself.
It all goes back to what Nancy Jackson said of being a horror writer