Why Casper the Friendly Ghost and I get on so well

I am not a person who believes in the supernatural. I am a logical, rational being with a brain hard wired to question everything and accept nothing…

…I say to myself in the early hours of the morning, knees trembling as I contemplate the dark expanse of carpet between me and the bathroom. If I could only reach the light switch.

I know. It’s pathetic. OFFICIALLY pathetic. There’s no getting around the fact that an independent twenty year old almost-woman doing a degree should not be scared of monsters. Or ghosts. Or possible alien invasions. The watching of horror movies should not intensify said fear. The first ten minutes of ‘Saw’ should not still be playing on my mind four years after I watch it.

In others words girl, MAN UP.

So I did. I marched across that carpet ocean and waded into the glorious pool of light streaming from the swiftly turned on light bulb as if I hadn’t a care in the world. And then I ran back to my room.

The fact remains that, as a young writer, I feel a part of me has to keep these fears alive, has to hold on tight to the imagination I had as a child and regurgitate it onto a page in whatever form it chooses. Where would we be without a little fear and naivete?

We wouldn’t have Doctor Who without a recognition of the possibility of aliens.

doctor who

There would be no Harry Potter without a belief in magic.

patronus

We wouldn’t even have Casper without acknowledging the existence of ghosts.

Casper2

At the end of the day, who’s to say that something does or does not exist? We’re told time and again that novels come from inspiration, from memories, from reality…but I’ve never been told they come from fear, even though so many are driven by it. Fear of lonliness, fear of loss, fear of the dark, fear of the supernatural – this encompasses the entire Gothic genre for one, as well as touching on many others.

So embrace the little fears we encounter every day. Writers, poets, artists of any form, need a nugget of naivete, a core of imagination to draw on, and declare boldly to the world. Hold on to a belief that you saw the shadow of a ghost in the bathroom mirror as you were brushing your teeth. Rejoice in the independently creaking floorboards that made you jump.

Because nestled somewhere in that blossom of instinctual fear could be your next monumental piece of art.

…And if not, it gives you an excuse to slip on your mittens and a thick pair of socks so that the monsters under your bed won’t get you while you starfish in your sleep.

from: Cedric Hohnstadt Illustration

from: Cedric Hohnstadt Illustration

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