Monthly Archives: December 2011

Ketchup and 2012


Hope you guys had a merriest of Christmases and that this weekend will bring a start to the best New Year yet (even if the world ends. No, perhaps ESPECIALLY if the world ends. Go out with style right? No use wasting time).

I’ve been at my folks house and generally avoiding the interwebz, so I thought I’d play some ketchup now that I’m back to me casa and settled into get some work done again. Also, these ketchups are probably too long for tweets so I thought I’d dust off the bloggity.

* * *

First up, if you didn’t see over Christmas, I posted a blog about the spookiness of Christmas, and the necessity of the darkness and the light, and also compare the holiday to its October counterpart. I also make a case for snowy dark places being more Christmassy and thus excluded about half the world. Or more. Disagree? Sound off in the comments section below. (It’s the blog just before this one).

* * *

Read Daryl Gregory’s debut novel Pandemonium in about two days over my quick vacation. Great quick book. Reads like a Koontz thriller, but with the depth of Philip K. Dick scifi. It’s an alternate USA where possessions are commonly documented and understood as a condition of life. Now why didn’t I think of that? Here’s the amazon link if you’re looking for a fun and curious book. (The Jungian discussions are a great precursor to Hallowtide, if I might so inflate myself to say)

* * *

Also, February is coming scary fast (poor guy), and that means that the epic Stanley Hotel event is also on the way. Tickets have been selling wicked quick but there are still a few left that do not include a room at the hotel (You can be just like Jesus!), which means they’re a bit cheaper. The lineup is myself, Dustin Pari, KJ McCormick, Fact or Faked’s Austin Porter and Jael De Pardo, Alexandra Holzer, and CeCe the Huntress. It should prove to be a lovely night. Tickets can be found here.


Elsewhere in 2012, there’s much on its way. I hope to get back to blogging more of my passing thoughts and shooting some more vlogs for you guys. Without the Stanley, many of my talking points are a bit less, but I still want to keep you guys in the loop.

2012 is setting up to be a wild year, with many possible projects lining up, which is the way of such things. All in possibility. There’s been exciting talk a few weeks ago that could still amount to something in a few months. I’m still working on Hallowtide by the day and plan to make more time for that during school, which is to say that in a perfect world it might be ready to start marketing to agents and publishers again in summer or early fall. (No quoting on that one though. It works on its own schedule).

My filmmaker buddy AJ (@TasteLikeApples) will be working on a film project this spring for his senior thesis that I’ll have an exciting hand in. It’s a college project through and through, but we’re throwing our all into it. Keep an eye open for updates though.

I’ve got two book projects of the non-fiction variety percolating in the basement corner somewhere that desperately want to see the light of day that may come to fruition in the next few months. I’ll keep you guys posted as I can (but now all I can do is tease).

And finally, I’m looking to start putting a bigger emphasis on both my photography and my artwork. My photography I make very accessible here on the blog, but most of you have not seen anything of my art, which I burned out on producing in high school. But the whispers have started, encouraging me to take up the charcoal pencil/paintbrush/pastel again. The voices kept me up two hours the other night as I tried to sleep. So we’ll see where they lead. I’m looking into print costs if any of you guys might be interested.

So keep a careful eye on both my website and the blog and the tweety for more information about that becoming more available.

I think that’s everything. It’s been a crazy year. Crazy fast, if I do say. Remarkable to think that my seeing the pig man ( was a year ago today, that my bout of good luck working for the TAPS Paramagazine and the Stanley Hotel and bringing my lectures to fruition was so far away already. It feels both like yesterday and also about a decade back. Always more on the horizon, and it will be exciting to see what blossoms and what doesn’t.

As always, minions, constant readers, tweeps, Team Karlers, whatever I’d like to call you kool kids this week, thank you always for your enduring support. It means more to me than you will ever know. My absolute best to each of you in 2012. Whether its your last year or not (it’s not), live your heart out and follow what you adore and make love and dance like I’m watching and laughing my ass off.

The Red in Your Cheeks

For that time when the family has trickled off to their bedrooms, the Christmas tree is still lit, the open space on the carpet where presents rested only this morning feels like nudity:

Though it’s two in the morning, it seems wrong to call this Christmas Day yet. It’s still Christmas Eve, and the night is at its darkest time. In four hours, the sun will light the horizon, turn the mountains a rosy pink and send the foot of snow around the house into glitter. Though I prefer it in the moonlight, sparkling snow is a sight as close to magic as I expect I’ll ever see.

Yesterday, I briefly entered into a discussion with my filmmaker buddy AJ about whether or not Christmas and Halloween are at all similar, as they are in my opinion, the two most magical days of the year.

“Christmas and Halloween are the exact opposite, I’d say,” he said.

I’ve always held to a fascination about the darker side of Christmas — a necessary darkness in my no doubt skewed and quite biased, romantically twisted vision of the holiday. Halloween, I feel it’s agreed, carries a sexy thrill in the warmth of the candlelight, the streetlamps, and the two-sided grin of the Jack O’lantern. Imagine the Jack O’lantern on the darkened porch. Blackness has wrapped the pumpkin so that even the outer orange of the pumpkin is shrouded, leaving the glow alone as the night falls, a bright grin against the dark that breathes defiance. It’s in this defiance of the dark, the work of the lantern to ward off evil spirits, that even the most jagged grin, the most snaggle-toothed grotesque acts on behalf of the good, warning away the mischievous, the invasive. It’s this nature of Halloween, that as the night necessarily falls, the caricatures fall away, the cute smiling pumpkins like the hand-drawn hand-turkeys of November are replaced by the truest, darkest, but most magical work of the holiday.

It’s this magic that’s felt in the solitary defiant glow of the candlelight on the front porch, and the momentary safety children feel as they jump from streetlamp to streetlamp like puddle to puddle on a rainy may. They are disguised as that from the other side of the veil, they run with the darkness, in and out of what they both fear and stand against in the same way as they run in and out of the light. They blend into the darkness in order to avoid it. They hide their faces in order to pass amongst the dead anonymously. The darkness is for once romanticized, a necessary evil, and one that touches another side that we only imagine from the darker shadows the rest of the year.

Except for Christmas.

Perhaps my friend AJ is right in that Christmas is the antithesis of Halloween, but not in its exclusion of the dark.

Christmas doesn’t make the darkness its focus, but it does make it necessary. There’s an inherent darkness of Christmas. In the dreams of white Christmases are dreams of isolation, of snow pack and the warmth of home and family. It’s in the way the panels of light from windows of cabins are cast on the snow outside. It’s in the mystery of Santa Claus, where thoughts of magic reside in the realm of impossibility manifested on one single night, where adults even remember what it was like to be a child and to look to the glow of the tree, and wonder.

Maybe it’s a case for the necessary balance of good and evil, but with the warmth of the lights on the Christmas Tree in the corner is the darkness that wraps about that light. Tell me there’s not more magic in the tree at night, when all the lights have been turned out except for your Christmas tree and perhaps a few flickering candles.

I’ve never known a greater magic than in the glow of a Christmas tree.

Tell me that when you unplug the lights from the tree before going to bed, that you’ve ever seen sadness manifested in such an image as that of the dark Christmas tree. Dark Christmas trees are second only to gas masks on the shit-that-scares-Karl list. (It’s a short list. Cauterizing my tear ducts shut when I was eight ensured that). There’s a reason Christmas in the cheery tropics just isn’t the same; it neglects the darkness of a long winter night, the cold outside the windows, and the fear that the longest night of the year instills.

Where Halloween is about joining in the darkness in an act of defiance as the darkness first falls to start the winter season, Christmas is a cold realization of the omnipresence and necessity of that darkness. In both we take solace in the light, but it’s with Christmas that we so actively seek and revel in such joy to balance this solstice.

And the result is magic; bliss; the way a child’s eyes light up when he peeks about the banister, the laugh between family members, the way cheeks turn red when you come in from the cold.

So eat up. Drink fully. Love deeply. Dance. Indulge in wonders. Merry Christmas my friends.

Yes, Virginia

“”Dear Editor: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says ‘If you see it in The Sun it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus? Virginia O’Hanlon. 115 West Ninety-Fifth Street.”

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. he exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”