A shout out to the incredible blog, TerribleMinds, and it's creator, Chuck Wendig. His assignment this week was to speak to the question; "Why I write", which I in turn modified, as an arrogant ass like me tends to do.
It is not because I am trying to scare others. That is not it. I am happy with any feeling besides boredom and apathy I can create with a story.
Writing about the darkness is just shining a light inside me to find out what's inside. All those existential fears need a face, and I need to stare them down so I can move on. That's why I write.
Why I Write Horror
Nope, I figured out that I like to write horror because I am the one who is scared. I am just a scared little boy, and writing squeezes that out of me.
My fears have changed, and I am not so much scared of monsters or the sounds in my dark basement. I am not even scared of bizarre families living in drug tunnels such as in On the Lips of Children. My fears are different.
Here’s what scares me:
I am scared of a universe with a God that does not exist. Or a non-caring God. I am scared of randomness of tragedy. Scared of my own feelings and expressing them. Scared of my own limitations, that I am wasting my life, born with whatever talents that are like seeds in the soil ready to grow but never saw sunlight. Scared of my selfishness, that I am a raging, psychopathic narcissist, (because who else but a narcissist would actually write this blog post?) Fear of looking certain people in the eye. Fear they’ll understand me for a second, and that we’ll connect, or fear I’ll never be understood by another living soul. Scared I am doing it wrong. Scared you are mocking me right now. Scared that something I missed long ago made everything I am doing right now irrelevant. Scared I’m waiting for my real life to begin while I live some fake one. Scared that the finest humans of this world are destroyed by the worst ones in mass, unnoticeable genocides. Scared of that mole on my back.
So that’s why I write horror. Because I am the one who is afraid, not that I am trying to scare others.
Makes perfect sense that a coward like me relied on drugging and drinking for so long. But the greatest fears grow the strongest courage, and somehow I found the courage to stay clean and sober. Writing is the new drug that brings out the weird. The dark. The terrible way I sometimes see the world.
Before you go calling 911 to have someone come and check on me, I should note that I have an immense capacity for joy. I smile often, have an incredible family, am blessed with many riches, and my favorite song growing up (which still makes me happy) is Disney’s "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." There are plenty of days I can't open my mouth without a song jumping right out of it. I feel the light and happy just as much as the dark, and do believe there is a spirit that flows through all of us, and it is one of beneficence.
Sometimes I go beyond believing to knowing. I run through the streets of my town with so much happy in me it just doesn’t feel fair. (I will never have the dark, brooding visage that looks so cool on author profiles like Jack Ketchum, but instead have more of a Jeff Strand smirk.)