You Don’t Scare Me! Back to Blog
First up, thanks so much to Cynthia for inviting me to stop by!
When I was very young, I saw a book at the library called Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The whole concept scared me so badly that not only didn’t I read the silly thing, I was completely freaked out for weeks. Eventually when I read it, years later, gathering my courage like a blanket around my shoulders, I was heartily disappointed. Whether or not it would’ve scared my younger self was no longer an issue. All I knew was that the build-up of fear hadn’t been worth it.
Years later I became somewhat of a daredevil when it came to scary things. Roller coasters, monster movies, bad boys on motorcycles… Yeah, that was me. I even up and moved to England for a year, all alone, and dragged home a husband. The immortality of youth made it easy.
But all that changed when I had my first daughter in late October of 2002. My fears morphed into very concrete, very pinpoint terrors that focused on her well-being. Suddenly movies like 21 Grams, in which Naomi Watts loses two young daughters to a car crash, became my A-No-1 horror scenario. Unlike deciding one day that Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark isn’t so scary after all, I don’t think this particular child-based fear is going anywhere. Add to it a second daughter the following year, and you have the key to breaking me into cold sweats.
The crazy reality of life is terrifying enough, which is probably why I don’t go for scary movies that are possible. Saw, Hostel, and other “kidnapped by random crazy dude” tales just leave me frozen. It could happen. No thanks. I have enough horror show possibilities in my head without heaping on newer, more grisly images.
Instead I much prefer the good old fashioned monster movies that used to scare me as a child. Give me Aliens or Pitch Black any day, where people blow up mindless creatures. Sure favorite characters might be lost, but that’s the glory of well-crafted, suspenseful storytelling. It makes me feel something real even in an outrageous scenario. That little safety cushion of knowing it could never happen to me and mine that keeps it from being too scary to endure.
So bring on 28 Days Later and The Descent. Give me Dawn of the Dead and The Ring. They don’t bug me. But if you want to watch a gross-fest like The Hills Have Eyes or a family rip-your-hear-out tearjerker like Reservation Road or The Ice Storm, I’m afraid I’ll have other plans!
And all of this leads me to a little discussion about the nature of personal fear. I’ve identified mine. All the rest? Like going for what I want with regard to my career, or putting myself out there professionally? How is that scary? It’s certainly not harm coming to my family. Maybe that realization–the difference between real and imagined fears–helped me finally make a concerted effort toward publication. I started seriously in 2006, about three years after my second daughter was born.
Because compared to any of that, what do I have to lose? Another rejection…poor sales…a professional setback… None of it phases me anymore. I guess in the end, any reservations I had about those terrors became as harmless as the book I couldn’t read as a child. I grew up, got some perspective, and conquered those fears.
What about you? Anything terrify you now that didn’t before? Or fears you used to harbor that have since moved on? I’d love to know what makes you hide your eyes! I’ll draw a random commenter to win a copy of my latest, SONG OF SEDUCTION, available as a digital download from Carina Press. It’s all about people who face their biggest fears…and no monsters or crazy killers in sight.Tweet It