Christine Rains is celebrating the release of her book Fearless by hosting a Childhood Monster Blogfest from Aug. 7 to 9--post on any of those days about the monsters that made you pull the covers up higher. She says that one of the funnest parts of writing Fearless was creating the monsters that came from children's imaginations. And we all know how vivid those can get :)
I couldn't resist signing up, but I'm afraid I have to disappoint.
I had no childhood monsters.
See, my parents, being the wonderful atheists they are, had little patience for make-believe dangers. My mother especially taught me to view the night and darkness as a time of peace and quiet, not of fear. She explained that ghosts, on the very remote off-chance they existed at all, would be harmless and probably suffering, unable to let go of something in this dimension. Devils and ghouls she discarded with a pragmatic scoff that left no room for doubt. She changed the focus entirely from fear into curiosity. "If you ever see anything like that," she'd say, "make sure to observe carefully. You could become famous as the person who finally proved the existence of these things!"
So I'd wander the house--huge six-bedroom house--at night, alone in the dark, without a qualm. Until...
In my defense, I was nine. One day when my parents weren't home, I snuck into their bedroom and popped one of the forbidden tapes into the Beta player (yeah, I'm from 1973). A coward I'm not, so I watched the whole thing. By myself.
It took me four years to be able to walk in the dark, even within the house. I imagined the murderer from the movie (he dressed all in black, with only the eyes showing--creeped me out!) hiding in every dark spot, waiting. With a knife.
The year I turned thirteen I decided I was sick of being a slave to this irrational fear. Couldn't walk across the living room at night without turning on lights, unhandy if I was carrying a dinner tray to watch TV downstairs, or during the summer, when thunderstorms are so common in Cuernavaca and power is out almost every night, at least for a while. So, whenever I was alone in the house at night, I forced myself to walk it all without a single light on. This is the house I grew up in; I know it like the palm of my hand, so no fear of tripping or anything. I did it, over and over, rediscovering the peace and quiet of the night, training my head to see the fear for the mirage it was.
And thus I learned, at thirteen, that the power of the mind is the greatest power of them all.