Starting at a young age, I was obsessed with the dark, enticed by the idea of it, and the concepts it presented.
Not in the sense of actual unethical acts, mind you. I’ve never been much of a deviant in that regard, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved tales of the sinister, the horrific.
As soon as I had the internet I researched monsters. I read Goosebumps with a fervor unmatched, and once those grew boring, I went towards dystopian fiction; eventually graduating to horror. Even now, the interest grows, and I find myself being drawn to shock fiction.
As you can probably tell, I’m not the most fun to watch movies with. In fact, it’s still a sticking point when I’m with my family, as they prefer comedies and… *shudder*…romantic comedies….
Social conventions would probably label me a goth, even in my adult life, but I never found that to be the right term for it. No, I’m like a kid next to a tank of piranhas, watching them float around. Never touching, never interacting with them, but always wondering in the back of my head what would happen if I dipped my fingers into the tank.
I found my creative voice in the dark. I wrote stories about things that fascinated me, things that got me thinking. But when others read them they were disturbed. Early on, I had a person be actually unable to continue reading a story, because it bothered him too much.
It’s funny, to me; I’m not even being particularly morbid (at least, most of the time). I’m not actively trying to shock people, or disturb them. It’s just the things I like to write about. I love seeing what new darkness I can run into. I love seeing where it goes. I try to surprise myself.
Just during the time I’ve written stories for this blog, I’ve covered some serious subjects, including (but certainly not limited to):
- Madness (“The Monster At The End Of The Hallway“)
- Crippling Insomnia (“Wake Up“)
- Disease (“Click“)
- War (“Soldier“)
- Death (“Ramblings Of A Dead Man“)
- Cannibalism, twice (“The Other White Meat” and “Consumerism“)
- Alcoholism (“Alcoholic“)
- Literal Hell (“Lower Education“)
The question that always haunts me though, is “why”?
Why have I always been obsessed with the dark? Why does the twisted not fill me with disgust?
There is the obvious answer of simple curiosity, but I think it’s deeper than that. I think I seek the dark because I’m sick of happy stories, of tales with no consequences.
It’s already a well-known fact that the Twilight books are, well, terrible (and no, you can’t try the whole “well you just never gave them a chance” argument. No, I have. All of them, twice. They are really, really bad.) but the thing that bothers me the most is the lack of consequences. Bella does all sorts of stupid, self-destructive things, and it never has any permanent negative reaction. Everything turns out okay, regardless.
Even as a kid, I hated stories like that. Swiper always lost to Dora, and the G.I. Joes always won.
I realize that those are children stories, but even as a kid it felt so…hollow. If the good guys always won, then how were there any stakes?
I wanted real stories, stories that reflected the world we live in. Stories that challenged my morality, and made me think critically about what I would do if presented with the same situations.
I guess what I’m saying is I write about the dark, because this world is dark.
I write to challenge my own morality, and to challenge others; to show the world what it is. Because monsters do exist, and I want to stare them in the face, and see who blinks first.
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This otherworld that is so scary, yet so inviting.
I like to think of it as a failure of balance. Too much emphasis on the lighty lighty ‘good’ stuff and not enough on the dark dark ‘evil’ stuff. Not surprising given the fetishisation of children in the west (My history on this part is inferior and hazy, but I’m pretty sure it’s during the victorian era or soon after that where children were given the THEY’RE PURE, DON’T TAINT THEM! THEY’RE OUR FUTURE! treatment.)
This fetishisation seems to be dying out slowly, or at the very least there is some sort of acknowledgement of the other not-so-great-side of life we have. Certainly it stems through denial at times, or crazy idealisation, but it is an acknowledgement anyway.
I’m trying to compare this phenomenon with the eastern culture, but there’s no real ‘comparison’ that can be made. Perhaps it was already ingrained in, at least, the Chinese culture (e.g. people don’t like the number 4 when spoken, since it sounds like the word for death), so it’s much more likely that these sort of topics don’t get explored (because society and structure is given emphasis, so one is given support and doesn’t have to deal with that kind of existential loneliness)
My thoughts are all over the place here, touching on different topics lightly, but perhaps they’ll fit.
Also, unlike you, I do like to shock people! I like to think that they’ve ‘woken up’ and I like to see how they would react to such a new/previously ignored reality. How delicious!
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That’s quite fascinating that it’s not as prevalent over in the East. I think America might actually be the only place on Earth that has this level of “coddling” when it comes to morbid subjects. It would not surprise me if that originated in the Victorian era. A lot of weird stuff came out of that time period.
I too have always been fascinated by the darker stories in life. I wondered recently if it was because it somehow made the darkness of my depression seem less daunting. Perhaps it is as you have suggested, because they seem more real to life. The fairy tales of today are not the ones of yesteryear, they have been watered down and sweetened up. The originals are far scarier, and superior works, although I doubt psychologically sound for young minds.
Yeah, it seems, often, that people are afraid to actually challenge their children. We really don’t gives enough credit to kids, they can handle some pretty dark stuff. The Disney classics are a great example of how heavy subjects can still be made kid friendly.
Oh, I’m sorry to hear about the depression. I can only imagine how hard that must be.
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