Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Curse of the Horror Writer

To be a writer you need a good imagination. Sometimes having a good imagination is an absolute curse, especially if you are a horror writer. See, my head is often in the clouds, and I do lose sight of reality. Especially at three o’clock in the morning when I think I’ve heard a pulsing sigh at my ear, or felt a weight lower itself onto my feet beneath the duvet. In short, every now and then, I scare myself shitless.

There are two things I find incredibly scary. I don’t mind vampires or werewolves, and I’m not too concerned with mad axe murderers; aliens are a little scary, and I’m getting use to the idea of zombies. Ghosts. Ghosts scare the hell out of me. And the thought of going insane.

So yesterday I stumbled across a video on a horrorzine website that apparently shows real footage of ghosts. *Here* if you want to see it. Of course, my logical mind knows that in all likeliness these are fakes, set-ups, hoaxes. But it still freaks me out. Just because I have that kind of mind that always thinks anything is possible.

Last night I went to sleep at about 2am. I thought I was still awake. There was something in my room, but the torch by the side of my bed wasn’t working. I flipped on the lamp switch, but that wasn’t working either. I try my fairy lights that hang above my bed, but they aren’t working. I’m trapped in darkness, and I can’t tell when my eyes are open or closed, or if what I’m seeing is real or imagined. And there’s a fucking arm protruding from my chest-of-drawers-desk next to my bed, and it’s holding a book. There’s a book in my drawers somewhere that was written by someone dead, and they want something of me, but I don’t know what. I can see this arm, right in front of me. And on this occasion, I really don’t know that I’m dreaming.

I run into my sisters room, calling her name. I flick on her light, but it doesn’t work, until she wakes up and the room is only dimly illuminated. I ask her if I can stay in her room because there is something weird going on in mine. As I get into bed beside her, I wake up. Very confused, and still fucking scared. Thank god my lamp works. I don’t turn it off...

As I force myself awake for an hour between 3.30am and 4.30am, knowing that if I go back to sleep too soon, the dream will still be there. I think to myself: how the fuck do horror writers do it? How can you live through your worst nightmares in your waking moments, just to be haunted by them at night? I think about Steven King and all the scary stuff that must go through his head. How has he not driven himself insane?

I write horror, too, sometimes. But I’m not sure if I could really write what truly terrifies me, and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t make it make sense anyway.


  1. I'd rather face a vampire than a spider any day.

  2. Yes, my remaining fear of the dark (it's mild but still there) usually creates a unique moment or two when I'm writing. The dark and creepy music I listen to while writing does little to help.


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