|Hysteria is the... protagonist (?!)... of the|
Bram Stoker Award-nominated poetry
collection by Stephanie M. Wytovich.
HysteriaIt's a strange season. Halloween, that is. It's traditionally a time when anything otherworldly can happen, where time becomes even more immeasurable and abstract, where boundaries between the living and the dead blur. It's a time for the weird and wicked to come out and play.
I don't even know how to lead into this post. I've encountered an...entity...something that personifies primal emotion, panic, fear, and ecstasy. I'm not the same after meeting her, and I doubt you'll be the same if you keep reading.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being trapped, isolated, having no way out. I like to think that all of my patients feel this way for in order for them to grow, they must know their greatest fear. They must shake hands with their misery, sleep with their shame, and in the morning, learn to accept their regret. It’s all part of their treatment. All part of getting better.
Where would you like to live?
I like to live right inside their heads, always there, always waiting. I want to be the first voice that they hear when they wake up. The last voice whose screams sing them to sleep.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Control. Complete and utter control.
The quality you most admire in a man?
I like a man who knows how to submit to a woman. And if he’s a masochist, oh, [laughs] then he’ll be very dear to me indeed.
The quality you most admire in a woman?
My girls need to have some fight in them.
Your favorite virtue?
Patience. One must have always a plan—a well-orchestrated plan—and one must be willing to wait for the opportune moment to attack. Patience is a subtle guarantee that you won’t get caught. And I never get caught. And neither do my patients.
Your favorite occupation?
I was born to be a nurse, born to cure the sick. I have a soft spot for weak people, and it’s my duty to make them strong. My asylum is a place for those to come and repent their sins, to create a new and improved sense of self.
And I am their muse.
Your most marked characteristic?
Some think I’m mad, but what they don’t realize is that there is a madness in all of us, a delicious madness that once brought to light is nothing more and nothing less than pure freedom. Madness is a blessing, and I feel bad for those who can’t accept it, or its gifts.
What do you most value in your friends?
I don’t believe in friendship. I believe in power.
What is your principle defect?
I have to wear a gas mask in order to breathe. Too many sick people where I am to trust the air.
What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
Losing my inability to think, to plot. Lobotomies are pretty frequent around here, and it’s always scary to think about what would happen if doctor and patient switched roles.
What would you like to be?
Immortal. Although, I must say, the devil and I are already pretty close.
Who are your heroes in real life?
People who aren't afraid to speak their minds, to be themselves. People who aren't afraid of the consequences of living. Those are the ones to be admired and they get my respect.
Who are your favorite heroines?
There’s only one heroine I know, and she’s quite lovely [laughs].
What is it you most dislike?
Ignorance. Don’t mock what you don’t understand, and trust me, there’s plenty that you don’t understand. The mind is a labyrinth and it should be walked through carefully for not everything is supposed to make sense.
What natural gift would you most like to possess?
Mind control. I know, it does make me seem quite evil, but even nurses in a madhouse have to have fun sometimes. And while I love my patients, they’re such easy targets.
How would you like to die?
Die? My dear child, don’t you know that madness lives forever?
What is your present state of mind?
Ha! Is this a real question, or have you not been paying attention?
What is your motto?
Sometimes, I just like to hear them scream.
So scream for me, baby.
|(c) Stephanie Wytovich|
Stephanie M. Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, a book reviewer for Nameless Magazine, and a well-known coffee addict.
She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction.
Her poetry collections, HYSTERIA and Mourning Jewelry, can be found at Raw Dog Screaming Press, and her debut novel, The Eighth, will be out in early 2015 from Dark Regions Press.