Fear is a Riptide

We’re going to do a blog post about fear, horror, Chill, and related topics once a week until October 2 in preparation for the launch of the Undead Kickstarter on October 3rd. Today’s post is by Undead contributing author David Castro. You can read David’s writing about RPGs on RPGready.com, and find him on Twitter or on Tumblr.

Fear is a strong emotion, the oldest and strongest, if problematic New Englanders are to be believed. It’s an universal constant, something that defines what it means to be human. We all fear, and I, for one, embrace mine. What scares me is fuel for what I write, and thus, what scares others.

The unknown, of course, is among my list, but that is easy. Hide the creature in the darkness, make the thing unknowable, and hide red herrings everywhere. But that isn’t the unknown that I fear, the thing in the darkness. I fear not knowing, never knowing, whatever may come. The bad thing that happens and you never know why it happened, or how it happened. Things happen every day that never get explained, and that sword of Damocles that swings over so many of our heads, is what terrifies me.

So how do work through your fear with creativity? You bring it into the light. You have things that happen, that have no explanation, and you explore them. I remember a story I wrote once, about a plane that, though it took off full, landed empty, and no one knows what happened to the many people who were on board. Are they dead? If so, how? The plane was fine, so how could almost five hundred people vanish between Rome and New York? Why that flight? No one knows. I sure as hell don’t, and I created the thing.

Fear and anxiety, in my not at all humble opinion, is much like a rip tide. If you struggle against it, if you fight it, you will tire yourself out and drown. How you survive such a thing is to swim along with the current, letting it take you where it will, until it releases you, and then you swim to safety. I feel the same about about my fears and anxieties. I let them envelope me, push me out into the cold and dark abyss, until they let me go. On the swim back is when I take what I saw, what I heard, and shape it into a story that could work through some of that. In that way, I take the fear off of my chest and share it with you, horror fans who would enjoy it much more than I do.

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