A few years ago, before baby, before 2013 hit me like a ton of bricks, I remember sitting on the couch telling my mother-in-law about the new horror novella (filled with gore! and guts! and fun!) I was about to publish…and her reaction, like so many, was…well, not quite disgust, but dismay. She asked me how on earth could I write horror? Didn’t I want to share happy, positive things with other people instead of scary things? What’s the point of gore? Of terror?
Back then, I got that reaction a lot. Oh, I could never read horror–it gives me nightmares. Or Oh, I can’t, it’s just…too awful, too scary, too weird. Back then I would just shrug it off, say yeah, it’s not for everyone, and…move on.
But that night, on the couch, …my own response surprised me. I guess before that night, I didn’t know why I wrote horror. I just knew that I liked it, so I wrote it. But I didn’t know the deeper reason. I guess alcohol can give you clarity sometimes.
“Why not horror?” I told her. “Why not confront the things that scare us? We’re all capable of horrible things and terrible thoughts. And besides, what if we are really little more than a quivering pile of blood and guts? Isn’t facing that possibility important? Isn’t it important to know that we’re mortal, fragile little creatures? Doesn’t that impact how you life your life?”
(Her face told me she hadn’t, but I kept going anyways. Also, I was drunk.)
“And doesn’t facing the things that scare you most–and overcoming them–make you a stronger person? That’s what my characters do. And that’s what my readers can vicariously experience through my work.”
Of course I don’t write horror anymore–not in the traditional sense–but my work is still decidedly dark, and the reasons that I used to write horror still apply to my current work, I think. Delving into the dark underbelly of human existence–the deep unknown impulse to kill or be killed, the secret joy of an impending apocalypse–is well…part of life. We need anguish as much as we need joy. Ignore that side of humanity at your own peril. Right?
Anyhow, I loved this comic and wanted to share. Everyone has a different reason for writing. Some write for introspection, some write for the fun of it, some write for fame and fortune (extra good luck to them!) I write because I like to explore the dark side of life and vicariously overcome it through my characters. But I think all writers can relate to this comic.