Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fear Beyond Words

October.

The weather cools, and the air turns crisp. Leaves change color and paint the Colorado mountainsides gold. Pumpkin patches swarm with excited children. We get out the grease paint, fake blood, faux tombstones, and laughing skeletons to celebrate all things scary and openly welcome fear into our lives. (Depending on the ticket price for our favorite haunted house, we sometimes pay big bucks to scream and pee down our legs.)  

Fear, however, is all too real. We have fun with it for a few weeks but, when October ends, our true fears stay with us just like that twenty-pound sack of Trick-or-Treat candy on top of the fridge. Fear is necessary. It motivates us, strengthens us, helps us face life’s darker moments and keep moving. Fear exists in almost every aspect of our lives, whether we realize it or not. What trembles your knees? Spiders, clowns, needles, large crowds, tight spaces, in-laws, no wifi, life without Starbucks? Over the course of this month, all of us here at The Blood Red Pencil want to talk about what frightens us. We want to share our stories of personal and professional horror. We will even splatter in some interviews with guests who build their lives around fear.

For many aspiring authors, fear comes in the form of a dream. A dream to write, to get published. They are not alone. I am a true believer that, with any creative endeavor, there is an element of insecurity involved. The arts are very personal. When they paint a picture, write a story, compose a song, choreograph a dance, the artist faces a tremendous vulnerability. We often fear failure but, believe it or not, success can be just as terrifying. If those who purchased an artist’s work or watched their performance could see what went in to them, they may realize the money they spend isn’t for a book, a painting, an album, or a show. What they really purchase is a portion of an artist’s life. A collection of moments, memories, heartaches, and triumphs.

My last post here at the BRP was back in February. Seven months have passed and I cannot even begin to tell you how crazy things have been. I have faced many of my own fears and perhaps even developed new ones (or maybe simply reinvented the originals?). To be completely honest, my life has changed drastically.

When I learned I was going to become a daddy for the first time, I suffered the usual barrage of doubts and self-realizations. At the end of each brain melt, I realized one thing, that my daughter was due on September 19th. That was reality, no matter how much it scared or excited me. In my mind, I had a list of things to accomplish before that date. Next to that list was a flashing neon sign that read ‘YOU HAVE PLENTY OF TIME’. Then August came. My daughter was impatient and suddenly time was something I did not have. She arrived five weeks early on August 11th. For two weeks, my life was go to work, go to the hospital to visit mom and baby, go home and tend the farm, sleep for a few hours, wake up and repeat. That list of things to accomplish was getting buried under piles of dirty dishes, unopened mail, and discarded hospital visitation stickers.

Then, on August 24th, sweet little Tayla Leann was released. Our family was together. I thought I could finally catch up on things. Baby is home, we can hang out, she will nap, I will write. Now, let’s back up some. When we found out we were expecting, many people questioned what I would be able to accomplish once Tayla arrived. They told me things would never be the same, but I was full of excitement and confidence. I would be fine. Fast forward again. After the first week with baby home, fear set in. I love my little girl more than anything. The moments I spend with her are the best ever. But I still doubted myself as an author, an editor. When was I going to find the time? I was getting tiny bits done here and there, but not making the progress I expected of myself. Not even close. There came a week when I stopped everything and considered quitting. I hadn't even been in my office for over a month, so why bother? Writing in the bedroom wasn't working. One of my biggest fears began crawling out from under the bed and tearing its claws through my proud-father flesh:

I don’t have what it takes to be a good daddy and an author.

(To be continued)

Jason P. Henry is lost in a world of serial killers, psychopaths, and other unsavory folks. Ask him what he is thinking, but only at your own risk. More often than not he is plotting a murder, considering the next victim, or twisting seemingly innocent things into dark and demented ideas. A Suspense, Thriller and Horror writer with a dark, twisted sense of humor, Jason strives to make people squirm, cringe, and laugh. He loves to offer a smile, but is quick to leave you wondering what lies behind it. Jason P. Henry is best summed up by the great philosopher Eminem “I'm friends with the monsters beside of my bed, get along with the voices inside of my head.” Learn more about Jason at JasonPHenry.com

23 comments :

  1. Becoming a dad is one of the scariest, most challenging, most rewarding things you can do. I know, I've done it four times and just dropped my son off at college. One more to go.

    You'll find a way, Jason, through the exhaustion, the frustration, and the celebration. The days will be so long at times, but the years will be short. Don't blink.

    --Larry Constantine (pen name, Lior Samson)

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    1. Thank you, Larry. Great advice. She is an amazing little girl and I wouldn't trade the craziness for anything. Waited a long time to be a daddy and it was worth the wait. Everything else will find a rhythm and I will adapt.

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  2. Agree with Larry, Jason ... don't blink ... you'll be celebrating your daughter's 40th birthday wondering how the hell that happened!

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    1. Well, she is grounded until she is thirty, so the first three decades should be problem free. Yes? Lol

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  3. They stay little for such a short time. Even if you take a hiatus or delay your progress as a writer, you won't regret a single moment of those early, magical moments. You have a lifetime to write, only a little time to bond with a baby.

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    1. Slowly but surely I am finding a new rhythm in the new life. Making a little more progress each week. I love every minute I get with her, so, if that means 500 words a week instead of 5000, so be it.

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  4. Such a great post, Jason! You can do it. It reminds me of the old saying, that if you want to get something done, give it to the person who has too much to do. True words! Me, my biggest fear is dying of old age before I get published. Yikes.

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    1. Thank you. I am getting there. Somehow I thrive under pressure even of it takes me awhile to settle in to a routine. For you, it will happen when you least expect it. Don't give up!

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  5. My great fear is that one of the presidential candidates win.

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    1. And that relates to your writing and reading life... exactly how?

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  6. I remember typing columns one-handed, because my right arm was full of new baby. Fear not! You'll find a routine that works for the three of you. Congratulations!

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    1. Thank you. I am considering trying that Dragon Naturally Speaking thing, but I fear the consequences as it picks up her voice as well as mine. Lol

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    2. Hahaha. Don't you have some sort of voice-to-text software on your computer already. Seems like mine does, though I gave it up after Vista.

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  7. We had children rather late in life. I had always freelanced--at that time, illustration. I loved the baby stage, something I didn't think I would, but when there was too much work, off they went to day care, then pre-school. They had fun, socialized, and we spent every minute of the weekend doing whatever they wanted. They've turned into great adults.

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    1. Excellent. I am glad that I waited until later in life than most. The timing felt right, I am in a good place mentally, I have time for her. She is worth the wait.

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  8. What a wonderfully honest and open article, Jason! As others before me have said, you will find a path that works for you. Meanwhile, remember that she will all too soon want to be crawling on the floor or dashing down the hallway rather than feeling safe and secure in Daddy's arms. Treasure these early months; they don't last nearly long enough.

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    1. I am loving every minute. She is a daddy's girl so I get plenty of time.

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    2. I am loving every minute. She is a daddy's girl so I get plenty of time.

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    3. Who knows? You may find a place in your upcoming novels for those new feelings you are experiencing right now--great potential for reader connection. :-)

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  9. Enjoyed the post very much and could absolutely relate to writing around children. It can happen. I learned that even 15 minutes while my twins were napping worked. Keep a notebook handy. :-) And as so many others have said, find a balance between baby-time and writing-time, and enjoy them both.

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    1. I am getting there. Notebook on hand was already a habit, thankfully.

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  10. There's always something, Jason. In my case, it's my 97 year old mother who I just moved from Illinois to my town in Colorado so I could keep a better eye on her care. And yet, I know I'll get back to writing soon, and you will too.

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    1. Wow, 97. The changes she has seen in her lifetime. Good on ya for takin care of her. Hope you are back in the game soon!

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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