A small confession: I was going to post something interesting on the fourth of July, but…didn’t. The main reason? I got too freaked out.
Some background. I got up that day completely prepared to post about a favorite topic of mine: hauntings in the U.S. In places we pesky U.S. residents don’t always think of as being haunted. Specifically, the White House. (That building has issues.) I was really excited to post about this because I have collected a few haunted White House tales over the years and now that I have this blog… I chickened out. Primarily because at least one of the anecdotes is about a black cat supposedly seen in the basement of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue before periods of national crisis. Alleged appearances have precluded the stock market crash of 1929 and the assassination of JFK. And I…couldn’t go through with writing about that. Especially not on Independence Day. I started to worry, perhaps too much, about tempting fate. Also, quite suddenly, I was uncomfortable with the cat part of it. And the stock market part of it. And…oh, you get the idea.
This happens to me occasionally. I want to write (or keep writing) about something important to me in this world of fear, superstition and pure, unadulterated weirdness, and the actual content of the damn thing makes me scared enough that I can’t finish it. Thankfully, it doesn’t impact my writing very much. I am not one to just bag out on a story I want to finish because it’s ‘too frightening.’ But it can slow me down.
I’ve read a couple of admissions from the great Stephen King about being scared by his own writings, so I know I’m not totally alone here. Yet, I’ve wondered periodically how often writers in the realms of horror fiction feel they must exercise caution or at least operate at a reasonable emotional distance because of the ferocity or even danger of their subject matter. Can this still happen to writers in the age of splatterpunk, torture porn and widespread violence? Something I think about.
Oh, and about the stock market—it’s supposedly haunted, too. Yes, the actual ‘floor.’ Spooky, right? Not terribly surprising.