A plug and a preview of my short story collection

Grief, guilt, paranoia, and shame fuel the terrors of SHADES OF RED: a collection of stories that range from the eerie to the horrific, the private to the global, the mundane to the apocalyptic. Here, horror comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and shades.

I recently published a collection of short horror stories entitled Shades of Red. The collection includes eight stories of varying lengths, a couple of which have appeared here on Medium. It is available in both Kindle and paperback formats.

Writing horror is what comes most naturally to me. It’s the mode that most lends itself to…

What the Cookout Alliance says about the changing ethos of competition reality TV

Last night, the competition reality series Big Brother made history.

Six players in the game — Azah Awasum, Derek Frazier, Hannah Chaddha, Kyland Young, Tiffany Mitchell, and Xavier Prather — founded an alliance in the early days of the game and have managed to keep its existence secret for nearly two months. Nicknamed the Cookout, the group maneuvered to systematically eliminate their competitors without tipping anyone off to their master plan.

With last night’s eviction of contestant Alyssa Lopez, the Cookout Alliance succeeded in its mission to become the first all-black alliance to make it to the end of the…

Lon Chaney terrified movie audiences of the silent era, but his characters were achingly human.

Lon Chaney with Mary Philbin in The Phantom of the Opera (1925, dir. Rupert Julian)

Silent film star Lon Chaney became known as “The Man of a Thousand Faces” for his innovative makeup techniques and the uncanny physicality of his performances. As The Phantom of the Opera, his own design for the Phantom has become one of the indelible images of early American cinema. The effect was not achieved with prosthetics, but with cotton, a skullcap, strategically placed face paint, and thin, painful wires pulling his nostrils upward.

Due to film degradation, early studios’ disinterest in preservation, and the sheer iconography of certain movies in his filmography, Chaney is now primarily known for his work…

Ehud Neuhaus

A poem about love and care

She has a plan for us all.

Nathan Wright (Unsplash)

I’m not used to unexpected guests. I live in the city. The most you can expect from a neighbor here is a curt nod as you pass one another in the hallway. From my computer desk, I can barely hear the feeble, but purposeful rapping at my front door. I second-guess my own hearing until it comes again.

She stands in my doorway in a black robe and tunic blackened by smoke and wear. Out of place anywhere in the year 2021, she is especially anachronistic in the carpeted beige blandness of my building’s hallway. Around her neck, a small…

Sid Ramirez (Unsplash)

My father wishes he were an old Studebaker
So he could drive his entire family
and all of his neighbors to the city
Every weekend and drive them back home
when they are too drunk to drive themselves

My father was a mechanic,
so maybe if he were an old Studebaker
He could fix what was wrong with him
by tightening a few screws
and replacing a few valves —
A job that could be finished in one afternoon —
It’s a simple job to fix a car,
its complexities are not complex
If you have experience with them


A short musing on dad music, masculinity, and drag

Taylor Mac

Buried among my decade’s worth of Spotify playlists for all moods, eras, and modes of being is a playlist I made three or four years ago called “Dadsongs.” All one word — like the Germans do. It is a concept unto itself. A genre epitomized by the blue jeans-wearing, left-leaning suburban American white man who came of age in the Seventies. This is the guy who wasn’t necessarily at the Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park in 1980, but definitely smirked from afar when he heard about it.

When I made this playlist, I imagined it as an ongoing setlist…

Joe Shetina

They/he. Writer of fiction, screenplays, plays, reviews, essays, and poetry. Chicago. https://linktr.ee/jshetina

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