It feels good. To be invited, that is. Like many people I know how rare it can be. When teaching at Nashotah House, invitations were scarce. It’s a small seminary, not widely known. Besides, the internet was in its infancy then and a great many people (including the seminary dean) were suspicious of it. Few invitations came. None for peer review opportunities, none for interviews. I was invited to the Ugaritic Tablets Digital Edition project (for which I wrote a successful grant application) but that was because I met one of the lead editors while my wife was studying at the University of Illinois. It’s strange, but nice, to be invited to things now. It still happens rarely, but when it does it has two things in common: the invitations come closely spaced in time, and they have to do with horror.
This past week two invitations came. One was to review an independent horror movie for Horror Homeroom and the other was to have an interview on the New Books Network. Since this is the internet and since the internet’s endlessly self-referential, I’ll be writing about them both in more detail, directing you to the end results when they arrive. It just feels good to be included. I didn’t have many academic mentors at Nashotah House. I’m a first-generation college-student; I didn’t know what academia would try to do to a person. I had no idea what a “post-doc” was. I did publish an article a year and write a second book which, I understood, was the key to getting hired by a “real school.” I had a few interviews, but I’m demographically challenged, I guess.
Weathering the Psalms was written at Nashotah House but it has only led to one weekend church program. My books on horror, written post-academe, have managed to get some small measure of attention. It always struck me as ironic that, although raised among the theology crowd I never really found acceptance among them. Those who know there’s something to horror, however, are a welcoming crowd. The other day I was listening to Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare and realized, whether intentional or not, the invitation was sincere. It remains one of the formative albums of my life. As a child the only invitations I had were altar calls. I responded to many. As an adult I’m still inclined to say “yes” when someone invites me in. Rarity only adds value.