Or a Correspondence on Fear, Well-being, and Creativity
What a thought-provoking analysis of fear.
I'm an empathetic person and never wish ill-will on anyone, even those I dislike (karma, you know.) However, the schadenfreude vs. freudenfreude comparison got me thinking. I can relate to feeling relief when 'dodging a bullet' that's about to strike someone else.
Yes, fear is seductive, but never really thought of it that way. Thanks for informing my perspective!
The bravest people I know are basically afraid all the time. Bravery isn't the absence of fear but the will to do that fearful thing despite the fear, no matter how many superstitions or routines or habits it takes to get you through. I write longhand as a direct result of paralyzing fear. My first drafts are off the charts terrible at least 75 percent of the time. I'm not being modest here--you've never seen an actual first draft. There was a period of time where I would type a sentence and erase it and type a sentence and erase it. Something about writing a first draft that was typeface triggered a paralyzing perfectionism. In theory I was a hundred percent team shitty first drafts, but in practice? When that first draft was so prettily typeset and yet was still shitty? Not so much. In a panic I curled up with a notebook and pen and let myself write a shitty first draft through and through--let's just say my handwriting is about as far from pretty typesetting as you can get. Now that the form looked as shitty as the content I was free! My pen flew. I can draft on a keyboard these days when I have to, but if I'm stuck, I switch to the page and let myself go. I recently typed in a chapter that had two facing pages of false starts for the same stupid sentence and the typed version took parts of three of those sentences, but I got it done. My fearful write and delete and write and delete self would still be working on it. And the best part is when the fear catches up to me in the longhand--aha! I have found you!--I can dodge it productively by starting to type in what I do have. So, yeah. If rituals and superstitions get me and my admittedly clinically anxious brain through, I'll spit all over the show. Ftou-ftou! Ftou-ftou! Ftou-ftou!
Henriette, thanks for starting off our correspondence on creative fears and courage! This is a really thought-provoking, big picture cultural analysis that also examines our inner psyches. I love how you framed it around the “high brow” concept of schadenfreude and freudenfreude, then dipped into “low brow” with My Big Fat Greek Wedding (ok, I admit, I love Andrea Martin in it!).
You’ve given me a lot to think about and respond to on Thursday in Page Fright! - Meta