This is a little bit peculiar bit of babbling. I decided to post it here on the personal blog, because I couldn’t think of any other place.
This is one of those odd moments in life where everything seems to come together, and things look a lot clearer afterward.
The story starts, as many tales do, with The Elder Scrolls.
The game series has been a huge source of indirect inspiration for me. It’s funny how small bits in the game have given me great ideas for something completely unrelated. For example, the Deepscorn Hollow was basically the inspiration for the Order of Dried Petals in my Avarthrel stories and webcomics. It’s just a place, but it managed to somehow give me ideas and feelings that I needed to create something completely unrelated. And that’s the function of fiction, to one extent – it inspires people to do something else.
But perhaps it’s easier to explain how the more recent games have given me inspirations.
One of the stories I’m working on involves woodlands, feelings of seclusion and solitude, and ancient ruins of mystery. You don’t have to be a supergenius to figure out that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has sort of brought all that stuff to the table, right? Great high-fantasy staples, of course, and Skyrim obviously did all that stuff in a fantastic manner. This stuff is cool and fashionable, right? I really want to write something that involves these, because it all inspired me deeply. All very vague, of course, because I don’t want to completely rip off the great game - I want to go into my own direction.
And then I noticed something odd was going on.
I have all these story notes in front of me. And one of the things I added to the pot, without even realising it, was cannibalism.
Now, there obviously is a great quest in Skyrim involving cannibals. Also, as it happened, several science magazine articles had fallen on my lap recently involving medieval and renaissance medicinal cannibalism. (Fun fact: People did really strange things with the corpses of executed criminals back in the day.)
I really had to start asking myself one thing: Why did I find this stuff so intriguing? Why did I put this stuff in the pot with the rest of the plot ingredients? I could have chosen, you know, not write about this – obvious, isn’t it?
So, when I was talking about this last night with my friend, I realised one odd thing.
Skyrim would have really paralysed me with fear when I was a kid.
I had never really thought about it.
Actually, I felt really, really odd when my friend told me he was never scared about dead people, bones and skeletons, mummies, the undead, and the concept of cannibalism.
I thought everyone was.
And even more fascinating thing occurred to me: I was just happily playing Skyrim, minding my own business, randomly getting spooked by things that were obviously intended to be spooky as hell… and I was not getting randomly scared by the gross undead and the corpses and even the cannibals.
The big question that’s right now in the top of my head is this: At what point did I stop being a necrophobe? And aren’t I supposed to still be one?
I really have to confront this thought. I really have to admit, here and now, that I was scared to hell and back about the dead when I was a kid.
And I think I realised at the time that there was some sort of a threshold that I failed to pass. At some point, it seemed, there was a limit that heavily implied, “really, you shouldn’t be scared by the corpses any more, man the fuck up.”
And I was still scared.
I still felt queasy about death. For decades.
And it feels pretty silly to say that it still affects me a little. It’s not as paralysing fear as it once was, but it still affects me.
So hence this blog post. I’ve just got to face this old bogeyman.
Yesterday, I really had to babble to my friend about this. And now I’m babbling about this in a blog. Yesterday, I felt I had hard time breathing and was about to pass out when I looked at the Wikipedia article on mummies. Okay, that was probably just me being tired and stuff way past midnight, but it’s kind of odd to really deliberately face something that used to give me nightmares.
I guess I’m still moderately queasy about mummies because, years ago, I read some science magazine article about really old mummies. I was expecting some Egyptian-style wrapped up guy. I wasn’t expecting a mostly skeletal fellow that was damaged in the discovery.
The funny thing is, I might be less scared if I ran into the article nowadays.
And the reason I was freaked out about cannibals was that I ran into a really old book that had a photograph of a skull. Not really scary, now that I think of it – I was just scared about skulls in general. The book was about some anthropological studies, I think, and the caption just babbled about the various signs that pointed toward the fact that the guy was eaten. I think.
I have a pretty good idea what book it was. If I find the book, I’ll goddamn scan it.
I’m really happy that I’m coping with this thing.
I’m happy that I could read this article without freaking out. It’s got scary mummies and bog people and stuff.
Seriously. Even as late as last year, I read about a really scary and fucked up unexplained death case. I actually used Adblock to remove the image from the Wikipedia article.
It’s not blocked any more. It’s not that scary a photograph, anyway. I mean, I may flinch when I see the photo, but it’s not something so hideously messed up that I have to keep it blocked. It’s just an impeccably dressed dead guy.
Wow, that didn’t take years to come to terms with. I’m making some progress here.
I wasn’t afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of the dark because there might be dead people out there. It really feels quite stupid to say this aloud, but I’m pretty sure there’s no dead people in my home so I shouldn’t ever have the need to be freaked out about it.
There. I seriously feel better now.
Okay. Let me whip out my tablet and let me doodle some really scary artwork.
Not very scary, is it? I know it’s not very scary! It’s got wolfies in it! With a tooth! And vampires aren’t very scary because werewolves will just rip them apart.
…I’m going to bloody post this bastard now. No need to send the white-coats. I’ll just talk to my friends next weekend.