Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Method to madness: Fear can inspire

Fear paralyzes, it robs of sleep, it tortures… but it can also inspire. In all its shapes and forms, fear is one hell of an inspirational fuel source. Even the fear of writer’s block can lead to moments of brilliance. That’s because fear is one of the most powerful emotions that can cause us to do superhuman things, make idiot decisions or completely freeze us.

As a writer, I love exploring emotions and human nature and fear is one of those emotions that I’ve noticed fascinates millions of people. Even though we want peace and love, we want to suffer, we want to be afraid, we want the adrenaline that comes with fear and explore our limits to this emotional drug in various forms.

People scream at an amusement park ride, their heart rate spikes and even though it’s at a well established park, even though all the precautions have been taken… you can still die. And we like that.

As a surfer, adrenaline is a big part of the experience because every single time you go surfing, you’re risking your life and health. I’m not the most extreme bodyboarder, yet I have my share of reef tattoos and close calls. I’ve almost drowned twice and have been in serious trouble an extra two times… yet the desire to surf remains. That’s because I know what type of fear I like and make no mistake about it, we all like some type of fear.

It could be the thrill of watching a really scary movie, it could be the emotion of coming close to death from sky diving, it could be reading a particularly gory story or it could even be getting caught in public while getting frisky, the fact remains, fear is fun… most times.

Regarding writer’s block, some people are panicked at the mere notion of this concept… yet it happens often. Probably the fear of this affliction can even help to bring it forth, yet there’s nothing wrong with that fear… actually, it could be a good thing.

One of the most important works of fiction I’ve ever read is Dune by Frank Herbert. Within those wonderful pages is something called the Litany of fear… a mantra of sorts used by the Bene Gesserit women as part of their training to complete physical, mental and emotional control. It reads as follows:

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing......Only I will remain."

When you embrace your fear and I mean really embrace it and explore that fear, you will unlock a vast bastion of inspiration that you’ll have a hard time to control… because fear demands to be expressed… it demands attention. So by all means, next time you don’t know what to write about, be afraid… be very afraid and let go of yourself.

Peace, love and maki rolls.


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