Jessica McHugh – The Mad Genius in the Hedgerow

Written by on February 5, 2024

Jessica McHugh – The Mad Genius in the Hedgerow – by Terrence McCaeley.

Jessica McHugh may call Maryland home, but her true place of residence is somewhere deep within her own creative mind. Fortunately, she makes frequent trips back to this realm to share her creations with the rest of us.

She’s a modern day artist whose vibe harkens back to the best parts of the Bohemian Art Movement with a spicy dash of modern horror thrown in for good measure. She’s a renaissance artist in the truest sense of the word because she expresses herself through more than one discipline. Give her a creative boundary and she’ll blur it out as she tells her story her way. Her work has more than impact. It has relevance and reach.

I don’t profess to know much about art, but I know good art when I see it. And one doesn’t have to look too hard to find layers of artistic quality in any of Ms. McHugh’s creations. She draws inspiration from literature both past and present. Edith Wharton, Jane Austin, Jordan Peele, and Stephen King all share places of honor in the ‘McHugniverse’; her name for her vast mindscape of ideas.

Ms. McHugh has cast a wide net in her literary pursuits. She wrote the Darla Decker novels, a Young Adult series about the trials and tribulations of early adolescence. Then there’s her Kaiju effort – HOME BIRTH – where she puts her own unique spin on the age-old plot of legacy intrigue, only here it’s on an intergalactic scale.

Not edgy enough for you? Then take a look at THE TRAIN DERAILS IN BOSTON where she allows her fiction freak flag to fly unfurled. It’s about a new homeowner whose chaotic life is turned even more upside down after discovering a chest of ancient mahjong tiles in her basement. What follows is a wild ride of ‘hallucinations, sexual deviance and grisly murder.’ I read it and thought it was a fever dream of genre-bending excellence. That’s no easy feat.

The chilling thrills continue in NIGHTLY OWL, FATAL RAVEN; a fantasy tale a la Conan the Barbarian and the post-apocalyptic opera Fury Road, but with a Shakespearean flair. THE GREEN KANGAROOS may be set in 2099, but is about the all too familiar horrors of addiction and sobriety.

For me, the culmination of Ms. McHugh’s true talents lies in her Blackout Poetry work. A quick Google search of the term defines it as ‘using pre-existing text to create something new’. A COMPLEX ACCIDENT OF LIFE is blackout poetry inspired by Mary Shelly’s FRANKENSTEIN. STRANGE NESTS is blackout poetry inspired by THE SECRET GARDEN. In both works, Ms. McHugh not only opens our eyes to new depths of beloved works by master storytellers, but adds wonderful drawings that unite the written word with stunning visual images. Descriptions don’t do her efforts justice and must be seen to be truly appreciated.

For anyone who thinks they’re not good enough or not ready to be an artist, take inspiration from Jessica McHugh. When people told her she couldn’t, but she not only did it but did it her way. Her talent makes you see what’s already there in a strange yet awesome new light. Such talents are important in the dark world of our present reality.

Visit Jessica McHugh’s website All links to her social media pages can be found there. Her work can be ordered online and at your local bookstore. Please remember to leave a review somewhere online. You’ll be glad you did.



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