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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Strong Emotions, Vivid Memories


“A strong emotion, especially if experienced for the first time, leaves a vivid memory of the scene where it occurred.” – Algernon Blackwood
  
Born on this date in 1869, Blackwood was an English short story writer and novelist and one of the most prolific writers of ghost stories in the history of the genre. He was also a journalist and a broadcasting narrator.    A gifted storyteller, even in childhood, he said he always amazed friends and neighbors with his ability to spin yarns about the supernatural, and so thought it was his calling to continue doing so as an adult.  
                                  Also an occasional essayist, his first stories were about his North London community and its residents before he turned almost completely to the ghostly tales that led to his title “Master of the genre."  He wrote at least 3-dozen original short story collections, and later became a highly sought-after speaker and broadcaster, sharing his tales with live audiences and on both radio and television.  Among his most well known were The Willows and The Wendigo.   Blackwood also authored 14 novels, several children's books, and a number of plays before his death in 1951.

Most of his stories were written to elicit a sense of “awe” or carry through the  “what if?”  factor, which made them perfect for such broadcast shows as “Suspense” and “Night Gallery.”   He said his secret to success in the genre was to leave a sort-of nagging sense in the reader that something yet might happen.  “Those little things that pierce and burn and prick for years to come. “




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