Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What Are You Afraid Of?

I'm afraid of spiders.

Seems kind of silly when I see it in black and white like that, but I can't help it. I've been scared of spiders since I was a kid. Creepy-crawly eight-legged little predators that skitter around in the dark and hidden places--what's not to fear?


I'm not afraid of spiders when I encounter them outdoors. They only make me shudder when I see them inside. What's up with that?

I think it's because spiders belong outside. When they're in the yard I see them for what they generally are -- beneficial pest eaters. When they're in my house, well, my fertile imagination assigns them all kind of strange and horrific motives for being where they don't belong (and, oh, how the skin between my shoulder blades is crawling right now just thinking about it!).

The thing is, I'm adult enough that unless a spider jumps out at me unexpectedly (don't laugh, it's happened), I can usually talk myself through capturing it and dumping it outside (or stepping on the icky thing like it deserves...ahem). But the first sight of a spider crawling across the floor, along a wall or, worst of all, on the ceiling still gives me a little twinge of that old "eek, there's a spider in the house!" feeling. I doubt that'll ever completely go away.

I'm starting to call the fear that's kept me from finishing a novel as my spider-in-the-house fear. It's the fear that creeps around the dark corners of my mind and whispers in my ear that I'm writing crap that no one will want to read; that I'm doomed to failure so why bother trying. Totally irrational, I know. What I'm writing right now may indeed be crap, but I can't improve if I don't write. I'm getting better at squashing that fear-inducing arachnid with a metaphoric rolled up newspaper whenever it waves it's creepy little legs in my direction. I might not be able to kill it dead, but I can keep it subdued long enough to reach my goals!

How about you? What are you afraid of?


wavybrains said...

:) Great post, Debbie! I know you will conquer the end of the book! You can do it!

Alice Sharpe said...

Debbie -- I was afraid of the big black spiders that show up inside this house off and on. Terrible things. Then one night I was sitting there when my orange and white kitty with the sweetest little pink gums and shiny white teeth came to visit with me. I saw one of the spiders (a big one, too) crawling toward her. Lucy saw the spider, as well. She hunched down and stared at it until it was close and then she reached out with this pristine white paw and batted it. It tumbled head over heels (Hm---) and righted itself and then she batted it the other direction, and once again spidey make like a tumbleweed. Then she ate it.
And lived.
That big black hairy spider went into that pink mouth and disappeared and the cat licked her lips.

And since then, I haven't been afraid of them anymore. I still don't look forward to meeting them but if it couldn't hurt her mouth, what can it do to me? And no, I don't eat them. And yes, I did call her Lucy the Spider Killer for awhile and cut her a wide berth.

So, to extend this analogy, I guess you can look at all the good and bad writers out there who chomp down on their book and reach the end regardless if it's brilliant and know that you can do it too! And I will add that even after all these books, I often fear I won't reach a decent ending and have to remind myself that I can fix it, just like you said. As a matter of fact, the last book which I finished was a mystery with no mystery. No clues. No setup. What had I been thinking? It took two weeks to go back in a million places and actually make a mystery out of it, kind of like writing it from the inside out. Very odd. I mean I seriously fell asleep at the wheel in that book.

If I could make that one work (I hope) I know you can make yours work!

Nice reading your blog. I've enjoyed the group being back online. Finally figured out my password!

MJFredrick said...

Weird that you'd post this. My son just stepped on what he described as a big-a$$ spider the other night and I'm kinda freaking out about it. They're just so sneaky, you know? I don't want to encounter one in the bathroom in the middle of the night, or in my bed!

My irrational fear is birds. They make my skin crawl.

Paty Jager said...

Love the post, Debbie!

Okay my fear-- bats. Hate them!! They are winged rodents to me, but they are highly beneficial.

Hang in there we all think the book we're working on is not going to be good enough. But in the end, once you pretty it up in edits, you're happy with the result.

Paty Jager said...

Oh, forgot to say, Yay! Alice and wavy are here!

Genene Valleau said...

LOL, Debbie!

I'm not afraid of spiders, but I still prefer them to be outside eating bugs rather than in the house. Mostly because their webs hanging around the ceiling are a testament to how seldom I do a thorough house cleaning. :)

Hooray for you for coming up with a metaphoric newspaper to keep your writing boogey-man at bay while you work on your manuscript. Think I'll borrow that humorous way to whack my own fears when they threaten to spiral out of control.

And so nice to see Wavy, Alice and MJ here along with our "regulars"! (Alice, glad you made your mystery work!)

Barbara Cool Lee said...

I love this post. Squash that nasty little self-doubt with a rolled-up newspaper, Debbie. It's a lot smaller than you and can't really hurt you unless you let it scare you out of the room.

And I'm terrified of spiders myself. Luckily my cats, like Alice's (hi, Alice!), take care of them whenever they wander into the house uninvited.

Sarah Raplee said...

Strangely, I'm not very scared of spiders, even though I'm allergic to their bites. I do tend to freak out if one lands on me.
I love how you connected this irrational fear with your subconcious writing fears. In his writing, Seth Godin calls these fears of risk 'messages from the Lizard Brain'. He has some great blog posts on the subject.

What am I afraid of? Wasps :)

Deborah Wright said...

Finally catching up to comments after being down with a cold!

Wavy! Great to see you! Thanks for the encouragement. :-)

Alice! So good to see you, too! :-)
Yeah, my cats are pretty good at taking care of the spiders, too, when they see them. I think the cats think they're toys. They get disappointed when the spiders stop moving after they put their paws on them. LOL Thanks for the encouraging words!

Deborah Wright said...

Welcome, MJ! Sneaky is a good word to describe them, all right!

Hi Paty! Thankfully, I've never had any encounters with bats. I think they'd be high on my fear list if I had!

Hi Genene! You're more than welcome to use my little 'man with the newspaper'! Sometimes I picture him as playing 'whac-a-mole' with my fears. LOL

Hi Barb! Cats are the best, aren't they, especially when it comes to stalking tiny little bugs. We call our black cat The Mighty Hunter, because she can see insects no one else can see. :-)

Hi Sarah! I like that phrase, 'messages from the lizard brain.' I'll have to remember that! I don't like wasps, either, but for some reason they don't strike the same kind of fear in me that spiders do. Huh.