Saturday 31 October 2009

What Are You Afraid Of?

Happy Halloween!

To go with all the frights and chills today, I am pleased to present guest blogger Pat Bertram. She stops by as part of her ongoing blog tour for her new book Daughter Am I, and she offers a spooky discussion on that primal emotion...


Through stories, we learn how to deal with our fears, especially if we are the ones writing the story. If you novelize your fear of being eaten alive by monsters from outer space, then the terrestrial ones eating you alive don’t seem so monstrous. If you watch a movie about aliens taking over your body, then the terrestrial one that’s taking over your mind might not seem quite so alien. You don’t think you are being eaten alive or that your mind is being taken over? Well, you are and it is -- it’s called aging. Little by little, the you that you know is being supplanted by a creature you could never fathom being. Some people turn into querulous beings totally unrecognizable from the daring-dos of their youthful selves. Some turn into their mothers. Some . . . Well, I’ve scared myself enough.

According to author Lee Child, we don’t write what we know -- we write what we fear. Perhaps this is true. My books are filled with fears -- fear of being at the mercy of mindless governments and corrupt corporations, fear of deadly and unstoppable diseases, fear of the loss of self, fear that our memories lie. Since all of these fears can be lumped into one group -- fear of powerlessness -- I wonder if all fears came down to that same thing. Mine do, anyway.

I checked out Phobias A-Z, to see what sort of things people are afraid of, and now I’m in danger of becoming a phobiaphobe. Or a phobiaphile. Although I am sympathetic to anyone caught in the horror of a phobia, I do enjoy the names. Names such as levophobia, kainophobia, lachanophobia, mageirocophobia, melophobia, nomatophobia, nyctohylophobia, paraskavedekatriaphobia. Great names for dreadful conditions.

Aha! Here’s the one I was looking for: shamhainophobia -- fear of Halloween. I knew there had to be such a thing! There is a name for every other fear.

Okay, I’ll let you off the hook so you don’t turn into a Sesquipedalophobe (someone who fears long words). Here’s what the above-mentioned words mean:

  • Levophobia -- Fear of things to the left side of the body
  • Kainophobia -- Fear of anything new
  • Lachanophobia -- Fear of vegetables
  • Mageirocophobia -- Fear of cooking
  • Melophobia -- Fear of music
  • Nomatophobia -- Fear of names
  • Nyctohylophobia -- Fear of dark wooded areas
  • Paraskavedekatriaphobia -- Fear of Friday the 13th

The one fear I hope no one ever gets is patbertramophobia. So not good for me as a writer!

Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado and a lifelong resident. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book — character and story driven novels that can’t easily be slotted into a genre — she decided to write her own. Daughter Am I is Bertram’s third novel to be published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Also available are More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.

Daughter Am I:

When twenty-five-year-old Mary Stuart learns she inherited a farm from her recently murdered grandparents-grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born-she becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead. Along the way she accumulates a crew of feisty octogenarians-former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. She meets and falls in love Tim Olson, whose grandfather shared a deadly secret with her great-grandfather. Now Mary and Tim need to stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret.


Anonymous said...

If this comment isn't scintillating, you can chalk it up to blogger eating my words! The eaten commet was, of course, brilliant. :)

Thank you for inviting me to your blog today, A.F. I had a delightfully fearful time perusing phobias. Who knew there were so many? Just goes to show that the only thing we have to fear isn't fear itself. There are plenty of things to fear. Especially the monster who lives in your closet. (In my case the monster is such a dreadful manuscript that it will never see the light of day.)

A. F. Stewart said...

I'm pleased to host you Pat, you always have such interesting topics.

Too bad about the first scintillating comment, I guess Blogger is playing Halloween tricks.

Glenda A Bixler Reviews said...

Ahhhh excellent article, even if it hit me in the eye a few "getting old." Never could figure out how these bodies start to deteriorate while there is still so much to do!

Enjoyed it...

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Just me, Pat. Letting you know I've posted about this at Win a Book.

Nice to meet you, AF. If we can help you with any promo, holler.

Anonymous said...

Glenda, aging does feel like one's body is being taken over by some pod creature. As they say, though, it's better than the alternative. I am thrilled that you stopped by to visit!

Susan, thank you for your comment. I hope A.F. follows through and sends you links when she has guest bloggers. It's a great thing that you are doing!

A. F. Stewart said...

I will try Pat, when the occasional guest straggles in, to send them to Susan.

David Ebright said...

I'm not afraid of aliens, muggers, death or even getting old but losing my memory ... the thought of that gives me chills. Can't imagine living such a cool life & not remembering it.

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