I did a writers’ workshop today. It went well enough until a question asked….and I’m paraphrasing here…”How do you justify writing about such dark subject matter in a world that is so filled with darkness as it is? Don’t you feel you are adding onto the burden?”
I’ve been asked this question a dozen times before. And it never ceases to annoy me.
It’s this sophomoric marshmallow type of thinking that if we all just sat around making daisy chains, sipping tea, and dancing in the meadows, the world would suddenly become an idyllic Disneyland wet dream that makes me want to scream out obscenities so foul and hot Tinkerbell’s wings would twist and crumble in the flame.
Let me pull out an old chestnut here by G.K. Chesterton:
Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist.
Children already know that dragons exist.
Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”
The same goes for people like me who write stories that are tinged with horror, death and bit of fun (i.e monsters) on the side.
I am not inherently dark or creepy. I like sunset walks on the beach and kittens with pink squishy toe beans. I don’t side with the forces of evil because I write these stories. I’m actually a pretty chill chick who loves to sit around the fire pit watching fireflies and counting stars. And the same goes for my friends who also write horrific stories; they’re not necessarily inhumane. As as matter of fact, they are probably some of the most humane people I know.
I scoop wasps out of the patio; as long as they don’t hurt me, I let them be. I let spiders live on my front porch; a few cobwebs in the summer means less mosquitos. If I find a worm cooking on the hot asphalt, I will move them onto the cool ground.
Because I can feel their anguish.
And why? Because I write about pain. I write about loss and fear and terrible things that gnash and grind bones in the dark. I see on both sides of the story. I feel the pain of the victim as well as the monster. I am Janus Sighted and, because of that, I go out of my way to not inflict pain on any living thing.
I do not bring more darkness into this shitshow of a world by writing horror.
I show it to you. I mirror the monster hiding behind you.
And I teach you how to kill it.
You are welcome.