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Available for preorder: 'Journals, Volume 2'
My second volume of private journal entries will be published on June 30
Welcome to The Living Dark. I’m Matt Cardin, and this is my blog/newsletter on waking up at the intersection of creativity, writing, religion, horror, nonduality, apocalypse, dystopia, consciousness, and culture. You can subscribe by clicking this button:
The strangest book project that I have undertaken in my 25 years as a published writer is presently coming to a conclusion. Journals, Volume 2: 2002–2022 will be published on June 30 as a Kindle book, a trade paperback, and a hardcover. The Kindle edition is now available for preorder. The physical editions will be available beginning on launch day.
I have been honestly surprised, and sometimes amazed, at the expressions of gratitude and excitement that have come my way from readers of the first volume, who have told me, variously, that they find the book fascinating, brave, and even comforting or confirmatory of their own inner experiences. I didn’t exactly expect this. But it is a deeply gratifying result nonetheless. So is the fact that Booklife by Publishers Weekly praised that first volume as “epic and intimate, a portrait of a mind and a milieu, with deep dives into the creative mind, the nature of the weird, and and how to find one’s way in a world that’s sick.” This is an unexpected result for a book consisting of things that I originally wrote over a span of many years for nobody but myself.
Volume 2 rounds out the history begun in volume 1 by collecting journal entries that I wrote in my thirties, forties, and early fifties, right up until last year. Career-wise, it starts when I was in my first year (out of six) of teaching high school English, and continues through my transition to higher education as a writing center instructor and a professor of English and religion, and then into my current era as a college vice president. In terms of my authorial career, it encompasses the publication of my first book, Divinations of the Deep, and the three more that have come after it, plus the three encyclopedias that I have edited (on mummies, the paranormal, and the history of horror literature). In terms of my education, it accompanies me through the earning of my master’s degree in religious studies in 2003, my pursuit of additional graduate studies in English, and the earning of my Ph.D. in leadership studies in 2019. Location-wise, it starts with me in Missouri, then follows me to Texas in 2008, and then tracks my return to my native Ozarks in 2020 to settle in North Arkansas.
As for what the actual content comprises, this is ably indicated by the official publisher’s description:
In this second volume of his journals, Matt Cardin continues his ruminations on the subjects he has made his own—the theory and practice of weird fiction, the complexities of religious belief, and the relation between these two seemingly disparate realms. We find fascinating synopses of stories written and unwritten; reflections on films ranging from Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious to Chariots of Fire; accounts of bizarre dreams that have plagued the author; analyses of such writers as Thomas Ligotti (whose work Cardin has studied in great detail), Bruno Schulz, H. P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, and many others; and intimate glimpses into the fluctuations in Cardin’s personal life. Throughout, the author brings an incisive sensibility to the problems of life, thought, and feeling in the modern world.
“Epic and intimate, a portrait of a mind and a milieu, with deep dives into the creative mind, the nature of the weird, and and how to find one’s way in a world that’s sick.” — Booklife by Publishers Weekly on volume 1 of Matt Cardin’s Journals
To this I should add that the subject of creativity, including the poignant agonies of struggling with Resistance and learning its hard lessons over a long span of years, plays a major part. So does my intensifying engagement with the idea of the demon muse and the apprehension of myself and the cosmos in terms of nonduality. In this way, volume 2 of my Journals links up directly with the essay series that I launched here a few days ago on Resistance and the deep wisdom it can yield. In fact, as that series progresses, I will be sharing selected entries from my journal that capture moments when certain insights became clear.
Regarding the mention in the official description of “fascinating synopses of stories written and unwritten,” in addition to containing notes that I wrote to myself while developing some of the horror stories that were later published in various anthologies and then collected my books, this volume also presents some three dozen seed ideas, detailed synopses, and partial drafts of stories that I never wrote to completion.
Again, you can preorder the Kindle edition now. Or if you prefer physical copies, you can get the paperback or hardcover beginning June 30. I appreciate your early support, which will go a long way toward establishing this book’s public presence and helping it reach the audience for whom it is intended, as determined by the inscrutable motivations of our individual and collective demon muses.
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