The Emotional Downside of the Holidays

The holiday season presents hidden emotional hurdles and barriers that most don’t comprehend during this season of good cheer. Depression, fear and regret are insidious beasts that need no invitation to intrude upon our lives. For those who come from broken or distressed families, suffered abuse, abandonment, homophobia or any number of things tend to experience a resurgence of negative emotions when it comes to what typically is considered a family-centric season. It’s more than just not having a family to share the holidays with but coming to grips with another year of regret, sorrow, guilt and pain. When you’re locked into this mindset, the prospect of facing another year is a daunting task.  Some of us see a trail of failure behind us and struggle to see anything other than failure ahead. A profound sense of loneliness begins to pervade your mind and even the presence of friends can do little to alleviate these unrelenting feelings.

Today I’m sharing an excerpt from my memoir “The Demons of Plainville” to help illustrate how some of these feelings begin building in a child’s life from an early age.


          The weekend before Christmas, he picked me up, and I returned with him to his small second-floor apartment. Dingy piles of ice-encrusted snow clogged the sidewalks of the city as a bitterly cold wind swept down the street. I normally enjoyed the holidays because it always means I get to spend the week alone in Plymouth with my maternal grandparents. Even my mother tended to be happier during the days immediately preceding the holiday. However, the new element of my father entering my life filled me with a growing level of uncertainty that I find increasingly troublesome, though I’m unsure why.

He had set up a cot in Sam’s room for my sleeping arrangements that weekend. My stay was similar to the first few visits: just small talk but nothing out of the ordinary – until Sunday afternoon. I had just finished eating a bowl of cereal in the kitchen with Sam. I excused myself from the table and walked into Sam’s room to pack my suitcase for the return home, and it was gone.

“Dad, where is my suitcase?” I asked.

“You’re not going to need it anymore, Daniel.”

This confused me; my father was not making any sense. “How am I going to get my stuff home?”

“You’re not going home, Daniel.  You’re staying with us now.  You’re my son.”

I offered no reply; I remain in stunned silence for a moment. This was an unexpected development and suddenly I felt fear. My father seemed cold to me.  He never warmed up or got close. There was no affirming hug or inviting smile. Now suddenly I couldn’t return to my home; I was stuck in a strange place. I did not really know these people. I grew cold, and my heart began to pound. I got a sick feeling. I finally thought of the perfect excuse: “But I have to go to school!”

My father did not break his blank expression. “School is already taken care of; you’re going to school here.”

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World of Daniel Mathews – Podcast #2

This time I take a short look at actor Christopher Lee, discuss remakes and my review of the new Poltergeist remake. I also discuss my recent work with a service called Bublish and discuss the ramifications of an author being “divorced” by their editor.


  • Satanic Rites of Dracula, Hammer Films, 1973.
  • Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, New Line Cinema, 2001.
  • The Thing, Universal Pictures, 1982.

Theme Music: “Double Drift” by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Press Release for TDoP



CONTACT: Daniel R. Mathews5star-shiny-webBook_04



Lost Legacy Press Releases Powerful New Memoir, The Demons of Plainville: A Survivor’s Story of Storms and Reconstruction by Daniel R. Mathews

Flagstaff, AZ – Lost Legacy Press releases an extraordinarily powerful memoir, The Demons of Plainville: A Survivor’s Story of Storms and Reconstruction by Daniel R. Mathews. This is an inspiring true story of a boy who overcame his past. As a first-person autobiographical narrative, Daniel shares his childhood, beginning with one of his earliest memories of abuse, both verbal and physical, at age eight at the hands of his addicted, mentally ill mother. This poignant and incredibly honest memoir has received rave reviews by readers and book reviewers.

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World of Daniel Mathew’s Podcast #1

Here is my first Podcast Episode for the website. How often I do these will vary somewhat with your feedback. In any event, as the summer goes on I will be spotlighting my upcoming releases, interviews and news. Later in the summer, I will be discussing my favorite horror movies using both the blog and podcast formats. I may make the Podcasts something of a portable blog summary, but I’m open to suggestions.

Midwest Review’s TDoP

There are challenges in creating a memoir that aren’t inherent in a novel format: for one thing, exploring one’s childhood and growth is, of necessity, a revealing approach that exposes one’s world to strangers. For another, it incorporates a sense of psychological introspection mixed with world events (here, this world is the family structure and its choices and encounters) that pair raw detail with social interactions that constantly challenge and change all involved.

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The Town of Plainville

Mill Town

Mill TownIn an earlier post, I address my overall rationale behind my ‘World of Daniel Mathews’ and much of this revolves a fictional town named Plainville. Now, I invoke the name of this town for the title of my memoir, and it appears again in my upcoming novel ‘The Unseen Kingdom’. You could think of Plainville as any small town, especially those with checkered pasts that are rife with urban legends and dark rumors. This is rather common in New England, but there are towns that meet this description all over the world. In short, Plainville could spiritually be your own hometown. A town whose occupants would rather not have their history and origin known to the outside world. A town whose secrets lie at the bottom of the surrounding swamps or in shallow graves. A town whose sordid past whispers to you in the summer breeze and stalks you home from school.

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