“How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.” - Bram Stoker, Dracula
Everyone has fears and dreads, which is why this line from Bram Stoker’s Dracula struck such a great chord with me. The character in this story believed himself to live in a world of people who did not have great troubles like he did, but as we all know – even those who seem the happiest have a darkness within them. It is the yin-yang of life to be balanced in both darkness and light. One cannot live without the other.
But just as all of us have felt in our deepest moments of despair, we understand the feeling of longing for peace at times when it feels furthest away; like reaching out to a hand that won’t reach back. It is natural to want relief when we are scared or when we have allowed ourselves to indulge too deep into a troubling situation we believed we could handle. It’s easy, and common, in moments like this to feel as though no one could possibly know or understand our struggle.
In this way, suffering strikes everyone, whether it is self-imposed or external; it’s the realization of mortality in old age; it’s the traumas of war, abandonment, abuse or rape; it’s the severance of connection that comes with death or the loss of a child; it’s the mind wracking turmoil that accompanies addiction; it’s too much time spent alone and the regret that comes with too much time spent away.
We all suffer in our own way, and this is why horror is so universal to us all. None of us are so special that suffering doesn’t and will never touch our lives. But when it does, we do not suffer alone. Horror not only embraces human suffering but exposes it for what it is in all of its forms. It shows us the horrors that are out there and allows us to feel the troubles that we are not always able to take the time to experience in our day to day lives.
Reading was a special escape of mine when I was young. It didn’t matter if the world was falling apart around me so long as I could face my fears in the comfort of a novel. That repression of fear had finally found its release. For this reason, I was always intrigued by horror. Whether it’s a movie, a book, a haunted house or even a roller coaster ride - anything that allows me to experience the fears I don’t always allow myself to feel in my day to day life - is a comfort to me and is one of the main reasons why so many love the horror genre, and always will.
I’m making a little playlist as I countdown the days until the release of Compulsions. It will be comprised of the songs I listened to throughout the process of writing Compulsions. They mostly consist of classical and ambient thematic music but I thought it would be fun to share. Let me know if you guys have a playlist you write to or if you just prefer silence instead.