An odd thing happened recently: I got scared.
Now, life scares me all the time. I don’t mean I live in constant fear, but, like, fear of rejection, fear of offending someone, fear of not having enough money, enough time, etc. All the usual stuff that one might more often label as stress or concerns or anxious moments happen to me.
But I don’t mean that.
I don’t even mean startled or “jump-scared” or something. Not the cheap stuff. I mean a thing, a piece of horror media specifically, scared me in such a way that I keep wanting to look over my shoulder, that my mind plays tricks on me and I think I hear something for that brief second before rational thought rears back up to surface.
I mean terrified and then lingering fear.
It’s now October, which means Halloween time, and I guess I started the season early.
Like, I am not even kidding or downplaying. This shit freaked me out and, since I tend to work late at night with no one awake nearby, it only makes it worse. If that freaking monster from the video was real, it would…
The reason this is so notable is, as a horror writer, it’s not usually easy to get stuff under my skin. I don’t scare easily. Get startled or briefly repulsed, sure, but lingering nightmares and paranoia? That’s odd for me. I am more likely to see a creepy picture and study it to figure out what fear or horror technique is being used than shirk away from it.
But I’m changing.
Lately, I seem to be getting more easily affected by this sort of stuff. I respond to emotional stimuli with more visceral reactions.
I have no earthly clue as to why.
I wish I knew what changed in me to make simple horror sometimes work. To make comedy shows able to make me chuckle again. To cause basic techniques of art and storytelling to elicit feelings in me.
I’ve heard, from somewhere, that, past the awareness of the strings of art, there is a new level where you are again willing to play and accept the illusion of storytelling like you did when you began—just with new wisdom.
I hope this is that.
But I’m young to have reached such a pretentious point—so I have my doubts. Maybe I’m just sleep deprived lately. Or oversleeping again.
It would not be the first time.
Special thanks to: Bob Gerkin, Collin Pearman, Dylan Alexander, Jerry Banfield, and Michael The Comic Nerd.
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