Who’s next on the chopping block? Ahhh… here we have a fine little lady currently living in Australia. Don’t let her classic profile or the term ‘lady’ fool you! Ms. Nero can get as smoky as any erotic writer I know. I’ve followed her blog since shortly after she began posting on it, and if you’d like to dip your toes into something a bit steamier, be sure to stop by. Magenta is strutting her way over to the darker, seedier side of the alley and sipping the bitter nectar we call horror.
A Tint of Madness
The first time I was captivated by horror was when I read The Book of Revelation in the New Testament as a child. The apocalyptic visions of St. John were terrifying but also seductive and romantic. It was a graphic introduction to the idea that the universe is a tension between eternal forces of dark and light. Forces beyond our everyday comprehension, that we imagine; dread and worship.
My morbid fascination with the apocalypse was later fuelled by watching a sensational “documentary” on Nostradamus. It had great shots of infernal scenes set to music by Prince (“tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999”). Doomsday prophecies gripped my imagination and the next day I was preaching in the school yard. This took place in suburban Australia in the ‘80s; it’s a rather hilarious picture. Nobody knew what I was on about of course, and my social standing as ‘weirdo chick’ was firmly secured. I didn’t mind because soon after came the X-Files, and in the way that only a TV show can, I was reassured and comforted (the truth is out there and we are not alone).
Since then my favourite pursuit has been investigating the esoteric and mystical, the metaphysical and occult, the mythological and anthropological. I have always been interested in scratching the surface, reading in between the lines and playing with taboos. And it seems my investigations have served a purpose after all, forming a deep lucid pool of ideas to draw from when I write.
The next book to have a significant impact on me was American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis. I love the way authors, like our favourite musicians, become interwoven with our personal memories anchored to a time and place. There are periods of my life deeply marked by Jeanette Winterson, other times strangely touched by Paulo Coelho. I have vivid recollection of living in a hotel room in a strange country town, downstairs the band roared on all night while I curled under thin blankets, enthralled by American Psycho. I was completely blown away by this truly horrifying, mesmerizing and disturbing work. It was the first time I was shocked by the power of an author.
I have many other favourite authors; some of them are Angela Carter, Alice Walker, Anne Rice, Isabelle Allende, Marguerite Duras, Michele Roberts, Michael Ondaatje, and Ben Okri to name a few.
Nothing kicks your ass more than becoming a parent. Your life is never again simply your own. I’m glad I spent most of my life indulging my whims. I’ve had the good fortune of living in different countries and dallying for many years at art school. I have a BA in Visual Arts, a Diploma in Shiatsu Therapy, and have worked an eclectic array of jobs. So I’m fully qualified to tell you there is no more grueling, less glamorous, less forgiving a job than motherhood. Intensely rewarding in unforeseen ways, it strips away at all the illusions you hold about yourself and, though their merciless influence, children help you to clarify your beliefs.
Words have always been my faithful companions but it is recently that they have become a craft. In some inexplicable and subtle way, it is thanks to my young daughters that the earliest of my ambitions, that of being a writer, has come to the fore. Last year I began my blog, not expecting much from it, but I was amazed to find that people out there read my stuff and they liked it! The support and encouragement from other bloggers and writers has been invaluable, very generous and constantly inspires me.
(By the way, end note; when the clocks tipped over into Y2K, I was sitting on a rooftop, far from home, and secretly hoping, that just maybe, apocalyptic flames really would explode on the horizon and dark horsemen would come galloping to collect the heathens. No such luck. The only screams to be heard were drunken cheers.)
Magenta Nero is a fiction writer, poet and visual artist. She loves to spin dark creepy tales of speculative fiction, weaving the genres of horror, erotica and fantasy.
Her work has been included in Sirens Call ezine #13 and #15, and on various blogs. She is a contributing writer to Pen Of The Damned.
Magenta was born in Italy and has lived in London, Tokyo and Sydney, assuming a variety of occupations. She currently lives in New South Wales, Australia, with her partner and two young daughters.
You can find Magenta on Twitter at @Magenta_Nero or on her blog, Magenta Nero – deviant desires, beautiful monsters.
Read Magenta’s latest piece on Pen of the Damned
There is a cruelty unfolding in me I didn’t know existed. The click of my heels on the pavement echoes down the street, turning heads. I wear higher heels now, shorter skirts. I no longer stick to the safety of busy streets. I tempt fate and wander into the gloom of alleyways where the losers of the city huddle and sleep. The drunken, the homeless, the pickpockets. Petty criminals with petty ambitions. I stroll through their lairs of garbage. Bleary, poisoned eyes watch me pass, staring at me in disbelief.
“Stupid bitch,” they growl at me and they lift their bottles to dying lips. I tread holes in their cardboard beds with my stilettos and kick over their little cups of change. There is nothing they can do, they can barely climb to their feet. I hear the breaking of glass and the retching cough of sickness as I walk away. You see, there is nothing in the darkness I fear because I know you’ve got your eye on me. And you won’t let anybody hurt me, will you?
How long has it been now? I can’t remember my life without you. The purring of your engine wakes me at night as you cruise by my house. You wait until I come to the window before driving away. The sound of your breath, barely audible, on the other end of the phone. I can’t say a word. Sometimes you whisper my name in a muffled voice. It has been awhile since you last called. I saw you standing by the curb looking up at my office window. I saw you getting off the bus as I got on. I saw you sitting in the coffee shop. You are a formless shadow, your face a blur. Each time you move like lightning, when I look twice you are gone.