Monday, March 10, 2014

Childhood Fears of the Dark

I remember not actually being afraid of the dark per se, nor was I particularly nervous when I was alone and heard an unrecognized noise, but the combination of being both alone in the dark meant that you couldn't stifle your nervousness, since your mind keeps you well informed of the fact that with no one within earshot, no one could hear you scream.

What actually made childhood imagination into a source of terror was perhaps the most benign culprit conceivable: a Jack Russel Terrier who presented the main character of classic novels.
Wishbone, as the Time Traveller of HG Wells.
It was the episode for The Time Machine that made me irrationally worried about mummified gibbons with fangs and red eyes (that's what they resembled, the 'morlocks') crawling out of holes in the ground or from around buildings and screeching at me as they moved in for the kill.
It must have been somewhere around when I was 7, 8 or 9, and it took me a few years to get over it and be confident walking around outside of the range of our house's floodlight at night. Then when I was 11, I saw it again. And relapsed.

Now I love the dark, because I know that there's nothing out there to be afraid of. I like moving around under the shroud of low light and observing but not being observed. The silence away from the lights and noises of civilization is peaceful and enjoyable. My poems Awe and Ode to an Outdoorsy Wife are both inspired by, and feature, my nighttime ponderings.

Related note: the morlocks gave me the motivation to be afraid of the dark, but the image I conjured of what was coming up my staircase in my bedroom most often was this:
This monstrosity, shown here feasting on the blood of children who stay up too late at night, was the unorthodox subject of a book for kids who were tired of "nice bedtime stories" about chickens and whatnot, who wanted scarier material.
Best Bedtime Story Ever.
I mean, the illustrator deserves an award for their commitment.

Sweet dreams.

~ Rak Chazak


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    1. I'm unsure. It isn't automatically available on a sidebar somewhere? I have some stuff I'd like to do with formatting, but I'm not "good at computer," as far as complicated html or site development is concerned, so I haven't risked taking a peek under the hood for a while, lest I seriously mess with the setup I have, which is at least readable! :] I'll try to remember to look and see if there's something I can do on my end to make "following/subscription" more obviously available.