Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Reprise: Vintage Macabre

Ransom Riggs pieced together a whole novel around his collection of weird photographs. (And I do mean pieced together because, by the end of his book, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the story had become disjointed and frayed around the edges. The photographs were always the main selling point for the book, however, so that hardly mattered. I still gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.com.) But what a brilliant idea, writing a novel around weird photographs!

So I scoured the Web looking for a few macabre samples—photos that would make your skin crawl and send the heebie-jeebies up and down your spine.

Did I succeed?

Are you feeling just a little bit uncomfortable?

What kind of book could you write around these morbid photographs?

A blood-sucking dummy? A ventriloquist that kills?

A writer and his muse? A Bram Stoker-winning team!

.This photo really gives me the creeps!

Halloween—or a twisted version of the high school prom?

What does your imagination tell you to write?

Dawn Pisturino

May 9, 2012; June 22, 2022

Copyright 2012-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

22 Comments »

“Psychology,” a Poem, Published on Spillwords

(Photo by Glen Hodson)

I’m thrilled to announce that my poem, “Psychology,” has been published today on Spillwords. I want to thank Dagmara K. and all of her lovely staff for this opportunity to share my poetry. I feel truly honored.

PSYCHOLOGY

written by: Dawn Pisturino

A psychologist by trade,
She brought order from chaos,
Splicing together the broken threads
Of fragile minds:
Listening for the right tone,
The right inflection, the right notes
To harmonize the deepest
Fears and desires of her clients.
But, in her own disordered brain . . .

Please head on over to Spillwords here to read the rest of my poem and all of the other featured selections for today.

Thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart!

Dawn Pisturino

June 18, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

And, don’t forget to check out the Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women anthology, now available on Amazon and Kindle. #1 in Amazon New Releases of Poetry Anthologies. Thanks!

31 Comments »

Bela Lugosi: From Jesus Christ to Dracula

(Bela Lugosi as Jesus Christ)

Before he became indelibly inked with the image of Dracula, Bela Lugosi worked as a theater actor in Hungary. He performed with various repertory companies from 1902 until 1913, when he was accepted into the National Theater in Budapest. He stayed with the company until 1919.

According to Lugosi, one of his most memorable and important roles was portraying Jesus Christ in the 1916 production of The Passion Play in Debrecen, Hungary. He was so taken with his resemblance to the traditional image of Christ that he had several photographs taken which still survive today.

In 1927, Lugosi appeared as Count Dracula in the Broadway production of Dracula. His performance and interpretation of the character were so captivating that he was hired to reprise the role in the 1931 Universal movie a few years later. The movie made him a star, and he was forever typecast as a horror icon, even though he would have preferred to move on to other roles.

Bela Lugosi died of a heart attack on August 16, 1956 in Los Angeles, California and was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City. His iconic portrayal of Count Dracula lives on in the minds and hearts of all of his fans. Visit his official website: http://www.belalugosi.com.

Dawn Pisturino

April 11, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

19 Comments »

Microfiction: This One’s for You

Photo by Benjamin Balázs on Unsplash

I wrote this for an Underneath the Juniper Tree writing challenge, August 29, 2011:

I love you, Lizzie Borden . . .

As she crept up the stairs, fondling the wooden axe in her hands . . .

“This one’s for you, Lizzie!”

Dawn Pisturino

March 25, 2022

Copyright 2011-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

12 Comments »

Eleven-Word Story

(Photo from Raiders of the Lost Ark,1981)

An eleven-word story that I wrote for an Underneath the Juniper Tree Writing Challenge, August 10, 2011:

“Hideously white and deformed, the face at the window slowly decomposed.”

Dawn Pisturino

March 24, 2022

Copyright 2011-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

18 Comments »

Killer Limericks

(Warwick Davis in Leprechaun, 1993)

KILLERS

A killer rampaging a town,

Ran into a carnival clown.

The clown drew a knife

And took that man’s life,

Then started a spree of his own!

July 16, 2011

~

THE WITCH AND THE BURGLAR

A witch riding home on her broom

Spied a burglar trashing her room.

“I’ll get you for this!” she said with a hiss.

His head was soon found in Khartoum.

July 17, 2011

~

AN UPPITY CAT

A cat who liked veggies and cheese,

Refused to eat mouse canapes.

“I just can’t abide that tough, hairy hide.

I’d rather eat onions and peas!”

July 16, 2011

~

LIZZIE BORDEN

When Lizzie got awfully mad,

She hacked up her stepmom and dad.

The ax at her feet, she giggled and bleat,

“Why am I so terribly bad!”

September 26, 2011

~

The Sorcerer from Beijing

A sorcerer born in Beijing,

Found a magical jade dragon ring.

It breathed out green smoke,

Transforming that bloke

To a blood-thirsty cannibal king!

July 14, 2011

~

LIZZIE BORDEN II

When Lizzie got awfully mad,

She hacked up her stepmom and Dad.

Amazed by the mess, she had to confess:

“What a rip-roaring party we had!”

September 27, 2011

~

The Sorcerer from Beijing II

A sorcerer born in Beijing,

Found a magical jade dragon ring.

It breathed out green fire, burning all his attire

Except for one shoe and stocking!

July 7, 2011

~

The Man in Galloway Bay II

A man lost in Galloway Bay,

Cried out in a very loud bray,

“I’m lost in the sea, someone please rescue me!

I’ve been swimming for more than a day!”

July 7, 2011

~

The Old Man from Brazil II

There was an old man from Brazil,

Who ate ‘til he made himself ill.

He gave up the ghost, said good-bye to his host,

And flew home to his house on the hill.

July 7, 2011

~

A Nasty Old Gnome

A nasty old gnome name o’ Bill

Liked to puncture old teeth with a drill.

He gathered some bones from the graveyard he owns,

But that skeleton wouldn’t sit still!

February 5, 2012

~

The Man in Galloway Bay III

A man lost in Galloway Bay,

Cried out in a very loud bray,

“I’m lost in the sea,

Someone please rescue me!

The fishermen think I’m filet!”

July 7, 2011

~

St. Patrick’s Day is coming!

All limericks by:

Dawn Pisturino

March 10, 2022

Copyright 2011-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

30 Comments »

I. A World in Anguish – a Poem

(Photo from Pixabay)

A World in Anguish

by Dawn Pisturino

A world in anguish

Is a world at war,

Suffering the throes of poverty,

Living in fear,

Desperate for freedom

From unfeeling despots;

One man kills another

And crowds cheer for more:

A bloody holocaust screams

The victory cry.

Women weep for children

Dying in the womb,

And fathers beat

Their screaming brats in rage,

Placating the demon-gods.

The dark-faced villain

In the streets

Pushes his deadly wares

To the wayward and unsuspecting,

Supplies the knowing,

And murders the human spirit.

The Godly are intimidated

By the unholy-ungodly

And cry out in vain for vengeance.

God does not hear

Or does not want to.

“Let them fight their own battles,”

He must say; and looks down

In amusement at the skirmish of ants

Crawling in the streets.

It is not a funny sight, no,

But a sorry commentary

On the uselessness of the human species.

God Himself must weep

At the awful destruction wrought

By pitiful creatures.

It is not worth His powerful strength

To save them or His loving heart

To love them or His abounding mercy

To forgive them.

Let those who will survive, survive.

Death to the others.

The battle is just begun.

Dawn Pisturino

September 20, 1985; March 7, 2022

Copyright 1985-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

21 Comments »

The Queen of Hearts – a Poem

(Artwork by Tenniel)

The Queen of Hearts made cherry tarts

On Cupid’s Special Day.

The Knave of Hearts threw out those tarts

And stole the Queen away.

His bow was strong, his arrows sharp,

He drew with deadly force.

His missile pierced the tender heart,

Killing her, of course.

With hungry zeal, he yanked the heart

From Queenie’s bloody chest

And feasted on her royal blood,

Rating it the best!

Dawn Pisturino

December 16, 2011

Copyright 2011-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

24 Comments »

Following the Zombies

(Scene from Shaun of the Dead)

Yesterday, I followed the zombies around in Walmart. They were silent, shuffling along more slowly than usual, their shopping carts creaking between the narrow aisles. Their faces never changed. They just poked along, crouched over their carts with bent shoulders, looking at the same old products with dead eyes. I impatiently followed behind them and finally got stuck in the pain aisle between several carts. This is always the most popular aisle in the store. The next most popular aisle is the laxative aisle. It took several minutes before I could quietly maneuver my cart around the cluster of walking dead. Once I extricated myself, I headed for the checkout stand and got the hell out of there. I survived another trip through Walmart, unscathed. Next time, I might not be so lucky.

Dawn Pisturino

January 28, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

NOTE: No offense intended to real zombies.

30 Comments »

Reprise: Saint Nikolaus’s Companion, Knecht Ruprecht

From out the forest I now appear,

To proclaim that Christmastide is here!

For at the top of every tree

Are golden lights for all to see;

And there from heaven’s gate on high

I saw our Christ-child in the sky.

And in among the darkened trees,

A loud voice it was that called to me:

“Knecht Ruprecht, old fellow,” it cried,

“Hurry now, make haste. Don’t hide!

All the candles have now been lit —

Heaven’s gate has opened wide!

Both young and old should now have rest

Away from cares and daily stress;

And when tomorrow to earth I fly

‘It’s Christmas again!’ will be the cry.”

And then I said: “O Lord so dear.

My journey’s end is now quite near;

But to the town I’ve still to go,

Where the children are good, I know.”

“But have you then that great sack?”

“I have,” I said, “It’s on my back,

For apples, almonds, fruit and nuts

For God-fearing children are a must.”

“And is that cane there by your side?”

“The cane’s there too,” I did reply;

“But only for those, those naughty ones,

Who have it applied to their backsides.”

The Christ-child spoke: “Then that’s all right!

My loyal servant, go with God this night!”

From out the forest I now appear;

To proclaim that Christmastide is here!

Now speak, what is there here to be had?

Are there good children, are there bad?

Theodor Storm

Translated from the German by Denis Jackson, Isle of Wight.

BIO: Theodor Storm (1817-1888) was a German poet, novelist, and lawyer known for the lyrical quality of his work. He died of cancer in 1888. Knecht Ruprecht (Krampus) is still a popular figure seen in Germany (and other countries) at Christmas. While St. Nikolaus rewards the good children, Krampus punishes the bad.

Dawn Pisturino

11 Comments »

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