Saturday, September 9, 2017

What Genre Will I Not Write?

Still from 'Hill House'

Horror. Hands down, no question.

I was always an overly imaginative kid and I worried about things that went BUMP in the night. (Still do!)...the creature lurking under the bed waiting to grab a dangling foot was my worst nightmare. I'm in good company - here's Stephen King's take on it:

“The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn't real. I know that, and I also know that if I'm careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle.”

Yup. I also saw a horror movie on TV when I was pretty young, "The Haunting," based on Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. At one point two of the female characters are sharing a room, with twin beds. The ghost is rattling the door and spooky things are happening and the heroine stretches out her hand to hold her friend's hand for courage through the ordeal. Afterward (and this is how I recall it and and I never watched the movie again so who knows if I actually got it right...) she thanks her friend for holding hands and comforting her. And the friend says, "I wasn't holding your hand." OK, for YEARS after that I slept with my hands firmly under my pillow.

So vivid bad things stick in my memory way longer than they should. Yes, I used to read Stephen King novels - not all of them, but a lot of them and I especially loved The Shining but somewhere along the way I had to put down one of his books in the middle because the imagery would not go away and I was having terrible nightmares, and I've never gone back.

As an adult I've become aware that there are Things Best Not Disturbed...

And so, in summary, I'll never be writing a horror story.

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