Monday, January 27, 2014

I ain't afraid of no ghosts

Fear is an interesting emotion.  It isn't bad.  It should be listened to.  It will keep you alive.

But it will also kill you, imobilize you, and suck enjoyment out of life.

There are rational fears, and irrational fears.  The problem is that nobody seems to agree on which category most fears fall.  I happen to think that arachnophobia is irrational.  I'm sure most of you disagree with me.

Some fears are inborn, others are developed.  It's the developed ones that I'm interested in today.  Like the fear of submiting your writing to a publisher.  That's irrational.  Don't develop that one.

"Easy for you to say." you say.  True.  But very possible.  It's an act of will, much like writing the story in the first place.  Then the fear arises.  What you do with it, when it comes, defines you.  I'm fairly comfortable riding on airplanes.  Every once in a while I get a little worried during final.  I fight that fear, it's something out of my hands and I don't want to be afraid of flying.  I love to fly.

I had a new one the other day.  I was sitting in my economy seat, crowded by people anxious to get off the plane and into the termal (crowding has never bothered me) and I was sudden struck with the thought, "What if one of the engines suddenly caught fire?  How would we all get out?"  I felt the sudden stirrings of fear.  The emotion encouraging me to push to the front, over people if necessary.

That was irrational.  I'd like to say I laughed at it, but a better description is that I told it to go away in a firm voice.  I dont' need to develop that.

I worked with a man who had developed a fear of edges -- cliffs, building roofs, etc.  He wasn't afraid of heights, but described he building of that fear like this.  "When I see an edge, I have to look over.  I go closer and closer.  And then I want to jump over it, just to feel what it's like.  I really wanted to jump over.  I can't go near an edge.  I don't trust myself."

I thought that was really strange.  But I see the logic of it.  It's the same fear that keeps us out of dark alleys.  But that shouldn't be the kind of fear that keeps you from exploring the world and telling your stories.  Unless you are exploring the world from the end of bungie cord.  Then, maybe, you should reconsider.

I'm not one that usual quotes Dr. Who, but he said (the writer of the script said...) "It's not the number of years that define a full life.  It's how they are lived.  Some people live more in 20 than other could possible live in 80."

Don't be afraid of your dream.  You might wake up.  And then it will be gone.

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