A Year of Gifts
When was the last time you purposefully scared yourself? I’m not talking about the fear you feel when you take a chance, try something new, maybe push beyond your comfort zone (even though that is a common theme of many of my blog posts). Nor am I talking about the fear and horror you might feel when you see yet another atrocity on the news. Today I’m talking about that delicious, pulse-pounding fear we feel when we put ourselves into a scary situation for fun!
After sitting down to brainstorm about today’s post, sketching out some notes, and doing a little online research, I’ve come to realize my answer to the question posed above is “far too long.” I need to do something scary and get my blood pumping. Life can get awfully darn serious if we don’t interject some fun.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the intrigue of suspense. Two weeks ago, I penned a short Halloween story for you. Perhaps it’s the dreary, damp weather we’ve been experiencing that has my mind focused on things that go bump in the night. If you prefer light-hearted and uplifting topics, don’t worry, the holidays are right around the corner, and I’ll be writing all about gratitude, tradition, and new beginnings very soon. But for now, I’m going to take you back to a time in my younger years, before I forgot how much fun scaring ourselves silly can be.
There are places we can visit to find thrills and chills. Have you ever walked through an abandoned prison? It’s been nearly thirty years since I took a self-directed walking tour through the notorious Alcatraz prison outside of San Francisco. I'll never forget the feeling of isolation and despair as I walked through the labyrinth of hallways, rooms, and cells, listening to a prerecorded tour guide share the sordid history of the place from the MP3 player they handed out as you entered. Real evil had lived there, and it still lingered.
Or what about sleepovers. As grade school kids, we thought it was fun to scare the snot out of each other. It has been decades since I’ve thought about the chant we’d utter as one girl would lie prone on the floor, and the rest of this would circle her, murmuring “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board” in unison, and attempt to make our friend levitate into the air with only our fingers under her. Or how we’d go into the bathroom, turn off the lights, say “Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary” many times and flip on the light, sure that we would face Mary in the mirror, glaring back at us. Why we even thought to try these things escapes me now, but it was a blast at the time. I drew the line at the Ouija board though. If that came out, I kept my distance. No sense asking for trouble!
My stint with reading horror books began in earnest during my junior high years. I’m convinced there is nothing as scary as our own imaginations, spurred on by the words of a gifted author. I still shiver at the thought of vampire children floating outside my bedroom window, scratching on the glass. I think I have Steven King and his iconic Salem’s Lot to thank for that nugget of horror that has never entirely left my memory banks. I lost sleep over books like Pet Sematary (yes, this is how it was spelled, another one by King) and Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews.
I had many favorites, but there are two that feel iconic. I’m not sure if I’ve ever again been as frightened as I was when I read The Amityville Horror (author Jay Anson). Maybe it was because the story was rooted in actual events. But regardless, I can still hear the flies buzzing against windows that wouldn’t open and feel the terror of that poor family.
Can you guess what my all-time favorite horror story is? I even mentioned it in my own second novel…
If you guessed The Shining (again by Stephen King), you would be right! It’s a story set in a grand, deserted hotel on an isolated mountaintop in the dead of winter which provides the perfect backdrop for a small cast of seemingly “everyday” characters (although you quickly suspect something is a little off) that spirals into Jack’s descent into madness. You won't be able to put it down. And, in my opinion, this is one example where the movie was every bit if not better than the book. There are so many memorable scenes in that movie, I can’t begin to describe them all, so I won’t even try. Whether you’ve watched it before or never had the privilege, you may want to check it out. I plan to. Hopefully it’ll be every bit as good as I remember. But be warned: it may even be enough to make you believe in ghosts.
Of course, there are many other movies also guaranteed to scare the heck out of you. For some reason, “The Ring” was one of those movies for me. Perhaps it might seem silly by today’s standards, but when I watched it some fifteen years ago, it haunted me for weeks.
With Halloween right around the corner, now is the perfect time to find something scary to do, to watch or to read, if you are so inclined. I’d love if you shared some of your all-time favorites in the comments below. It would be fun to have a movie marathon or stay up all night reading a story guaranteed to make me want to sleep with the light on. It’s been a while!
If scary stuff isn’t your thing, find something else fun to do today. Make it a “non-serious Sunday”! And enjoy a mini-Snickers bar or bag of M&Ms. One of the best parts of Halloween is sneaking a few candy bars out of the trick-or-treat bowl. The kids will get plenty. Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!