When I get an idea my first impulse is to grab an envelope and pencil and start scribbling. I run around with an older crowd. Many of my generation don’t appreciate how much a single “share” can do for a blog post, or what a simple link to a page can do. I have college friends who have no email addresses and who are invisible on the web. I guess this is a young person’s playing field. I suppose one of my reasons for writing about horror is that it keeps me in the younger demographic. I don’t know too many people my age who are fans of “the genre.” Sci fi is a little more acceptable, I suppose. Still, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about why I find horror so fascinating. There’s actually something redemptive about it, at least in my reading of the material. It’s also a coping mechanism.
One reason that people tell stories (and read stories), according to psychologists, is to learn how to handle situations they might encounter. This is on a subconscious level most of the time, otherwise speculative fiction simply wouldn’t apply. I can’t recall having been in a crisis situation and stopping to think what a Stephen King character would have done in such circumstances, but I suppose that might be in the back of my mind somewhere, along with information about all the things I’ve mislaid over the years. The older you get, in a technologically rapacious society, the more things there seem to be worthy of horror stories. I haven’t even figured out the last round of devices before the new generation’s introduced. No wonder so much of horror has to do with being attacked by monsters that look innocent. Clinically engineered in a clean room.
Some of the horror comes from the inherent instability of a constantly upgrading tech. My laptop’s a few years old. While a little younger than that, the device that sits on my laptop is also not fresh from the factory. The last time I tried to back up the contents, the external hard drive (new from the factory) refused to do what I commanded. While I did eventually figure it out, I wasted a good deal of my scarce free time working out how a device I couldn’t control was in fact controlling me. Younger folks grew up with this kind of problem solving drilled into them from kindergarten on. Now I find myself in a world of devices I can’t comprehend and which don’t even react the same way they did last time I bought the exact same one. I ask my fellow quinquagenarians what to do and I watch as they grab an envelope and pencil.