Sunday, June 01, 2014

Oh The Horror

I read an article about horror and how it's necessary.  The main thrust was that there are some pretty horrible truths out there, children have to navigate these truths somehow, and horror is their compass and map.  I didn't exactly agree with the article, because I think focusing on horror elevates it unnecessarily, and I want to read and write stories that focus on wonder.  At least the article made a distinction between being frightened by a movie, book, or story (which is a good thing) and being terrorized by it (which is not).

I don't feel drawn to horror because I can't unsee it easily -- at least as far as movies are concerned.   It's like the cave of my mind is painted with glow paint, and the horror hand-shadows there create a glowing anti-image of terror that stays for a long time.  Horror, with the exception of Scooby-Doo, almost always delivers me to long-lasting terror.  It's not an initiatory ordeal for me; I don't walk out of a scary movie and think, "Oh My God, I feel such a sense of community with my fellow movie goers who survived that movie," I think, "Why the hell did I just pay money for that excruciating memory that will be impossible to un-remember?"  (And now every squicky thing I've ever seen before I could glance away is coming back to superimpose itself over my vision.)

Maybe I'm simplifying the article too much, or focusing only on film.  Perhaps I'm seeing the genre "horror" and going straight for zombies and the Alien franchise (nope, haven't seen them) and throwing out things I've enjoyed like Edward Gorey, or Neil Gaiman's "Coraline."  Maybe if I mentally substitute "creepy and odd" for "horror," the article would resonate more for me.

Oddly, I've written some stories that people think have horror elements.  All I can say is that I didn't set out to write horror (OK, except for that one micro-fiction anthology).  Thinking about that micro-horror piece some more, I suppose that I write horror when I look at wonder through a cynical lens.  

Maybe one person's wonder is another person's horror.
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