Last week, I took a little look at “crazy.” Today, I decided to look at “fear.” Hey, themes are good, right? Fear is a strong emotion, universal, and the motivators are different for everybody. What scares one person may not scare another. And sometimes we LIKE to be scared. My friend, whom we shall Tee, LOVES scary movies. She and her son will sit for hours in front of the television and cuddle close, jumping and screaming and waiting as the tension builds. She thrives on it.
Me, not so much. Movies, perhaps because they are visual, can sometimes be JUST TOO HARD for me to watch. I like DVDs, because I can turn it off and pace for a moment, or give my heart time to calm down before the next tense action.
I handle tension and fear while reading the same way. A really good, tense, scene finds my heart pounding, my fingers grasping the book tightly, and me looking over my shoulder JUST in case.
I guess I like my own kind of fear, because I’ve read a lot of Stephen King and Dean Koontz books. Just like my friend Tee has watched a lot of scary movies. I think she owns every one ever made.
Fear is big in the entertainment business. Fear sells. Just ask Master King or Master Koontz. We WANT to be scared to death. We like it.
The question is, why?
Adrenaline junkies? Is that why we like to be scared? The things that we read about, and watch on television and in movies, are often imitations of real life–except for all the blond bimbos who die having sex on the top bunk at summer camp. Come on, watch one of those movies and you will NEVER have sex at camp again. It’s like sending out an invitation, COME KILL ME. I’m a BIMBO and I’m having SEX at summer camp. Or frankly, have sex ANYWHERE when a maniacal killer is on the loose. Why do people have sex when someone is wandering around with a knife, wearing a hockey mask? Sex is not what I’d have on my mind!
But obviously, we like to be scared (and obviously we like sex), because these movies continue to be made and viewed, and books that involve fear (like Koontz’s or King’s, or Deborah LeBlanc’s, or Allison Brennan’s) are guilty pleasures for many.
To me, the scariest things are those things that are real, or could really happen. Tonight, there is a standoff in the little town of Farmington, which is where I based the book WIVES AND SISTERS. It’s a quiet community, without a lot of crime, but this standoff is a familiar one. It started with a domestic situation. And an armed man is holed up in his truck, refusing to surrender. It has been going on since 9 a.m., and it is shaking loose the fear in the small community.
Because it’s real, and it’s happening, and it COULD be a book or a movie. The man’s reasons, other than the fact he is having family issues, are unknown, or at least unknown to the general public. And because he is a part-time firefighter, he knows many of the men who are now trying to end the stand off peacefully. Remember, this is a small community.
I heard about this story, and heard my parents tell me about driving by the scene (they didn’t know it was going on), and it hit home. This could be someone I KNOW. Possibly someone I went to school with. Or someone I’d met in the community.
And that is even more scary than anything. Just what makes a person snap? That question kind of goes back to my “crazy” post, but I think it has relevance here, as well.
I am always wondering when a person is JUST going to snap. That is one of my very biggest fears. It was one of the biggest fears in my marriage, and that was justified. But I always wonder how far you can push a person before they snap and barricade themselves in a truck. How does it happen? Do you know you are headed in that direction before you find yourself there?
So now that I’ve shared one of my biggest fears, what scares you? (And no, Paris Hilton having babies is NOT a good answer. Wait, maybe it is. Try not to use that one.) Just so you know, I am also terrified of heights, claustrophobic, and I have an extreme fear of Walmart. Don’t ask.
What is your fear of choice?