Return to Horror (idea)

"How can you write this shit? I mean, doesn't it ever [bother] you to write about [horror] all the time?"

That [question] was put to me recently, and after I recovered from my [surprise] (I was expecting the traditional "Where do you get your [ideas]?"), I realized that I had no ready answer.

It seems like a [simple] enough question at first glance, but if you think about and examine it closer, you might find some [disturbing] implications. I know I did.

One possible answer might be, "Yeah, sure, it bothers me sometimes. I wish it were in me to write something more [humorous] and [genteel], something like [The Wind and The Willows] or [Sense and Sensibility] or the [Dortmunder] novels of [Donald Westlake], things that would appeal to a wider audience and not [clear the room] of [humans] every time I announce what I do for a living, but I can't; my particular [point of view] won't allow me."

That's one [answer].

God, if only it were that easy.

Let's say, for the sake of [argument], that the purpose of all good [horror] fiction (aside from its duty to [entertain]) is to explore the [relationship] between [violence] and [grief] while trying to reconcile the [existence] of those things with the concept of a [Just] [universe], and to do so in a manner that will [disturb] the reader in such a way that maybe they'll come away from the story or novel a little more able to [deal] with the [suffering] and [injustice] that exist in [the real world].

That horror fiction deals with subjects of a [dark] and [unpleasant] nature is a given; so too is it a given that the [writer]of horror fiction spends a decent portion of their [waking] (and sometimes [sleeping]) hours thinking about and exploring these self-same dark and unpleasant things in order to [strengthen] and [enrich] their fiction.

The horror writer has to accept that [darkness], [pessimism], [anger], [violence], [loneliness], [grief] (and all the other more unpleasant aspects of life that no one else wants to talk about) will always be a part of their daily thought processes, and therefore, to an extent, their own [personality]. This eventually becomes something of a [necessity], because any combination of those darknesses has to be available to them at a moment's notice when the [story] or [novel] demands they make an appearance.

The result (and I'm basing all of this on my own [personal] experiences) is that all of these darknesses exist a bit closer to the [surface] than they do with most folks. In order to make their [fiction] as rich as it can be, in order to ensure that the bigger-than-life events they portray on the page are still very much in touch with [life], to some degree or another, the horror writer has to make these darknesses a permanent part of their [psychological] make-up.

Admittedly, that's probably an [oversimplification], but I think you get the point.

That's one [implication] of the question "Why do you write this shit?"

Here's another: Is it possible that the horror writer can end up [disturbing] him/herself just as much, if not more, than the [reader]?

Think about it: If something gets too [ugly] or too [intense] or too real, the reader has the [luxury] of putting down the book and returning to the story at a later time, when they've had the chance to rally.

The [horror] [writer] has no such luxury. Sure, we might stop the [physical] act of writing for the day, but the [thoughts] and [emotions] of the work are still there, [churning] around inside our teeny skulls in an effort to shape themselves into something worthwhile.

That led me to the following question: Can writing horror fiction have an [adverse] effect on your life? Can it eventually begin to [poison] you?

Hell, yes. We've lost too many good writers to [suicide] and [alcoholism] to think it can't happen.

But it can also enable you to produce [powerful] [fiction], if it doesn't kill you.