I was once stopped at a book fair by a woman who I assume was a romance author and asked, “Do you ever read any romance at all?” Immediately I apologized because that’s just part of what makes (made) me who I am (was). I don’t know what makes me feel the need to apologize unnecessarily for simple things or feel guilty about saying no, but that’s me, or it was.
So, then came the big question, “What do you like to read, then?”
Here we go.
“Horror,” I answered.
The lady pretty much cringed and said, “OH, wow! Horror! Well, that’s certainly quite a genre.”
It is quite a genre! For me, nothing can compare.
Reading (and writing) is my escape from reality. For some it’s music, running, or baking. With music, my mind wanders too far too fast, so music alone doesn’t always work. Even audio books don’t quite cut it for me. It takes more concentration for me to read, and with audio books, like music, my mind tends to wander. I guess I’m easily distracted.
Horror stories bring me to life. They make me feel. They wake me and shake me, keeping me on my toes and are forever reminding me to never let down my guard.
The true horror I need to escape from is reality. I’m not afraid of what’s between those pages, but what roams the earth on two legs is a different story. These people are filled with insanity and drugs— a cocktail for terror. They lie, cheat, and steal their way through this life. It’s not the physical things, the material things, that they take away that hurts the most, although it delivers plenty of pain and hardships. These monsters steal our peace, our security, our emotional well-being, our sense of safety. They destroy our mental health, instilling a never-ending world of fear, pain, panic, anxiety, depression, and suffering.
No, I don’t want to be taken away to land of butterflies and fluffy kitties by knights in shining armor. Or maybe I can’t be taken there because those places don’t truly exist anymore, (but I really do love butterflies and kitties). Reading all this cheerful, happy ending stuff doesn’t work for me. It’s not reality. You stand up, you fend for yourself, and you fight your way through it. It’s an exhausting battle.
I no longer apologize for my love of reading horror. Nor do I any longer apologize for the horror stories and poems I write. You just need to enjoy what you can in this life. Do what makes you happy, and do it unapologetically.
Read romance or horror or bizarro fiction. Read the newspaper or a magazine. Read erotica or fantasy. Science fiction or non-fiction. Read what speaks to you. Write what you want. Watch what you want. Go for a walk or run. Bake and decorate an intricately designed five-tier cake. Build a birdhouse or a human house. Do the happy things.
And don’t be a monster.
“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” — Stephen King