Thursday, July 7, 2011


Right now, I am sunbathing in Mexico.

Okay, not really. Right now I'm sitting on my couch right after downing a shot of Jamison.

It's one of those timey-wimey things... go with it.

You see, as you're reading this article, it's likely I'm poolside in Cabo San Lucas reading and catching a tan. (I have a beard right now, so I'm going to have a silly tan when I get home.)

But as I'm writing this, I'm about 8 hours away from flying to Cabo. I've done a shot of Jamison. (Or is it two shots? Meh, just read on.)

I hate to fly. No, that's not right. It's not just hate. It's a horrible, terrible, nearly paralyzing fear of flying. When I was a kid, I had a really bad flight--turbulence and people puking--and then I let too much time pass between the next flight (10 years) and then the next flight again (11 years). That developed into my mind into a massive fear.

Yeah, pretty paralyzing. Ask Jason Pinter, he's the first person I flew with as I as an adult.

Anyway, when I was writing Witness to Death, that fear has just started to manifest itself into panic attacks and shots. To deal with it, I did the only thing I knew to do... write about it.

It's the old write what you know trope. I knew I was afraid of flying. I knew what fear was. Total, paralyzing, gripping fear. So, I twisted it a bit. I made the main character of WITNESS afraid of the water.

It was easy to write about the fear feeling, but water fit with the story. That's writing what you know. I know the chest pressure, the shaking, the absolute FUCK NO, I'M NOT DOING THAT feeling. It was just a matter of translating that fear into my writing.

Read the book, I think I did a good job, but I'd love to know how you felt about it.

But fear is the same. Whether it's water, or flying, or public speaking... the symptoms are the same.


What are you fears?

I made my wife promise we'd pay for the wi-fi so I could check your comments, so make sure you leave them.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm heading to the pool bar for a shot of tequila... and a cerveza.

Wait, I'm flying on Saturday? A cerveza or 7...


Anonymous said...

Fears. Ha, I fear nothing. Except rejection and public ridicule. Don't make fun of me. I can hear you laughing, you know.

Okay, better now. I think you're right, fear is all the same. The fight or flight response gone all wonky and the lizard inside taking over. Doesn't matter what it is.

Seriously though, I do fear personal rejection. Internet rejection and e-mail rejection are easy, but to be told you suck to your face scares the shit out of me. I shake, I get sick, I get sweaty (not good for a fat man.)

Oh, and big roaches. They freak me out.

Al Tucher said...

Heights. Ten years after 9/11 I still jolt awake now and then and contemplate the choice that many of the WTC victims faced. Do I jump or burn?

Firefighters who have seen it all say people always choose to jump. I don't know.

Thomas Pluck said...

I'm lucky, the closest I've got is deep water and it doesn't freak me out too bad. I wouldn't want to be in a shipwreck, floating like the folks in the movie Open Water, however.
I was a coward in my teens. I got jumped by three coked up wrestlers while in high school.
I have since faced this by training in mixed martial arts, or what I like to call "paying to get punched in the face."
I've been punched in the face a lot in the last five years. Worst yet was from a 6'4" 240# boxer who bent my nose. But I'm not afraid to fight anymore.

Dana King said...

Heights and water over my face. As my daughter said, "No wonder you hate bridges so much. Both your favorite things in one."