This week I am proud to present to you writer & editor extraordinaire Ellen Datlow. Ellen not only been awarded the Hugo Award four times, her vast array of editing work has also been recognized with three, yes, THREE Bram Stoker Awards, two Shirley Jackson Awards, two International Horror Guild Awards… & The Lifetime Achievement Award from The Horror Writers Association! That’s no mean feat, none whatsoever. That’s what makes her fear so very curious…
First and foremost –thanks Emma for encouraging me and talking me through this—is my fear of writing. I am emphatically not a writer. I’m an editor. I hate writing anything—(I can get away with editorial letters, and sometimes rants when I’m really angry about something, and even the occasional instructional letter). But ask me to write an essay about….something, an introduction to a favorite writer’s story collection, an introduction to my own anthologies and I freeze, heart races, can’t sleep, the whole stupid nine yards of fear.
Ironically, even though I’m a lover and reader of horror fiction, it rarely scares me. But I don’t expect it to. What I do expect is for horror stories to provide me with a feeling of unease, a sense of dread, a shock of frisson at the disruption of my every day perception.
What does scare me in addition to my phobia about writing?
The contemporary United States’ political landscape: the Republican party is a real threat to me as a woman, a progressive, an atheist. The Democratic party for the apparent ease with which it rolls over, playing dead regarding every U.S. citizen’s rights.
Extreme religiosity of any faith that attempts to impose its beliefs on me.
The anticipation of pain
Not having enough money to live on for the rest of my life.
There are movie scenes that have creeped me out (not sure if they’ve scared me or simply horrified me).
The Fury based on the novel by John Farris is about a girl and boy twin genetically manipulated to have telekinetic powers and how as teenagers they use them to get back at their “trainers”. Most horrific to me is the boy twirling the researcher who has played a nurturing lover to him round and round in the air, faster and faster, her blood whipping around the room as she’s…what? Well I don’t recall if it shows exactly what happens to her but you’re shown enough.
The Thing directed by John Carpenter and based upon John W. Campbell’s classic sci-fi novella “Who Goes There?” The most memorable and horrific scene for me is when the Ian Holmes character is wrist deep into a corpse and the “thing” chomps off his hands and skitters off across the room. I’ve never been able to watch the movie again.
I’m sure that as soon as I send this off, I’ll think of a few other things that scare me.