The dark always held the top spot on my kid fear list. When I was five, my dad tried really hard to dispel it. He took me out to the front yard and pointed out all the familiar landmarks. "See." He nodded at our maple tree by the curb. "That's the same one that's there when it's light out, isn't it?"
But I wasn't going to be fooled. Those tree branches were spiky in the dark. And what was that moving in the top leaves??
I clung to him so tightly, he probably still has reduced blood flow to his arms.
Being afraid of the dark and having a longish list of ThingsIAmModeratelyTerrifiedOf is like a badge of honor for a fiction writer.
Many of us writer and artist-types, if we are willing and able to admit it, have items on that childhood list that quite smoothly carried over into adulthood. For example, how many of you still . . .
. . . (casually, of course) check behind the shower curtain before you brush your teeth at night?
. . . take more than the required leap to get into your bed?
. . . wonder if that Trick-or-Treater at your door dressed like a character from The Walking Dead might actually be a real zombie whose only day to roam the neighborhood freely is October 31st?
The fact is, we are looking for the strange and creepy. We yearn for it in a way, because we are on a quest for the hidden story behind just about everything . . . the what might be. The possibilities are endless.
So all of you scaredy pantses out there be proud. There's a novel waiting for you . You just have to venture out into the strange and creepy dark and grab it.