Saturday, October 14, 2006

Susie talks about a writer's curse

It goes without saying that, if you're a writer, you're supposed to have an imagination. It's a good thing, right, something that we try and encourage in our children, ourselves?

Except I can imagine some things only too well. And so, with an imagination, comes a phobia.

I know very few writers who don't have at least one phobia. Mine happens to be airplanes. I can imagine only too well what it would be like if something went wrong - the sights, the sounds, the smell, the ripping clutch of terror.

Luckily, my doctor happens to be afraid of flying as well, and so has no problem prescribing me Good Drugs, which makes flying possible, if not comfortable.

I can't watch the news, something which my current-events-obsessed husband simply cannot understand. "Don't you need to know what's going on?" he asks me.

If it's that important, somebody will tell me, I answer.

Sometimes I sneak up on a newspaper. I read the sports page, and the comics, and the entertainment and food sections. Then I glance at the headlines, one eye barely squinting open like I'm watching a horror film (which you'd have to drug me to get me into, too), ready to slam shut if I see something horrible, and find an article or two that I can safely read.

Once in a while my husband gets to me and I attempt the news before 10:20, when the weather and sports come on. It is invariably one of those days where there's a story about a baby forgotten in the back of a hot car and I can't sleep for the next three days, and I'm off the news again for the next year.

What about you all? Can you shut it off better than I can?



Debra Dixon said...


I so cannot watch a horror film. Can't do it. Somehow when I was a teenager I got rooked into Texas Chainsaw Massacre. To this day I cannot tell you how someone got me into that movie. But there I was, horrified (as advertised) with my hands over my ears and my eyes shut swearing no one would ever get me into one of those movies again.

I can do SF/F, no problem. I can do horror on the printed page (pretty much) but I cannot watch present-day horror in which "real" (non-alien, non-magical, non-supernatural) people do awful things to other real people.

And spiders. Oh, will I do the freaky dance of terror if I even think I've got a spider on my arm, my chair, if I walk through spider silk outside.

Betina said...

Susie, I am something of a news junkie, but I often regret having had the news on during dinner when my kids were little. I think all the bad news(especially about children!!) can make our kids anxious and prone to bad dreams and taking on too much emotional load. Don't have much trouble with flying. . . I figure if I go, at least the kids get the insurance.

Deb, I'm with you. . . horror movies are the pits. . . especially this new wave of ultra specific horror like the "Saw" flims and that one about the guys who get lured into a warehouse and tortured. Also there was one about the hills having eyes or something that was so graphic even a lot of horror fans cringed.

I can read it on the page, but I can only take so much of the stuff on the screen. And that goes for explicit violence as well. I squirm through some of Hollywood's more graphic stuff. . . especially if it involves women or children. A History of Violence stayed with me for way too long. And there are acouple of actors I now avoid like the plague because I can't get the image of them in a sadistic role out of my head. Ugh.

But as for phobias. . . high edges, a version of heights. Don't like being around snakes too much. the thought of boiling live lobsters and then dismembering them, and of force-feeding geese to fatten their livers makes me cringe. Otherwise. . . I'm pretty good. Except for the hissing cockroach thing. . .

;) Betina

Helen Brenna said...

I'm weird. I can shut some things off and not others. And there's not necessarily any rhyme or reason.

I love scary movies, but not these new gory things they're coming out with these days. Like to be scared, not petrified or grossed out.

I left in the middle of King Kong because it was just TOO much. The big worm eating things in the swamp or river, or whatever it was - I couldn't deal. But Sin City didn't bother me in the least.

Susie, I'm guessing you won't be seeing Snakes on a Plane!!

Candace said...

I'm with you, Susie! I don't watch horror movies. The last one I saw was The Exorcist and I had nightmares for months. I limit the watching the news, too. It's just too depressing. And, like you, I feel if it's important someone will tell me. Or they'll play it again and again and again until, eventually, I can't help but hear about it.

As for phobias... my bugaboo is enclosed spaces. I've always been creeped out by stories of people being buried alive or even locked up in small spaces, like the trunk of a car. I didn't know how claustraphobic I was, though, until last year when I had to have an MRI. They got me up to my shoulders in the tube and I freaked. Full-blown panic attack. Blind, unreasoning fear. First time I ever experienced anything like that. They had to reschedule me for an open MRI. If I'm ever in a situation where I have to have a traditional MRI, they're going to have to knock me out cold--valium won't do it.