Sunday, March 16, 2014

Do You Believe in the Boogeyman?

Lividia and her boogeyman
When I was a kid, I was afraid of something I couldn't see. It lived in the dark, under my bed, in the closet, anywhere that was shadowed. I imagined it as a shadow man with long fingers, the better to grab me with. I was reluctant to put my feet on the floor when I climbed out of bed, because as soon as I did, he would grab me and pull me under. I never got as far as imagining what would happen after that.

I was told the boogeyman wasn't real, and I knew this was true. But I was still afraid. I knew, too, that there were things in the world science and logic couldn't explain - good things and evil things. (being a preacher's kid, I got pretty familiar) I knew I had power to dispel the evil things, but when it's dark and you're alone, you don't feel very powerful.

As I grew older, I was fascinated by fear and its power to drive people, or stop them from doing what they want to do. I had my own fears, but I was always fascinated by the fears of others and the reasons behind them. Fear, like love, is powerful. It's a force all its own and causes many of the horrors of the world. It calls to us just like love does, but the promises it makes aren't happy ones.

Strawman concept 2011
I finally captured and incorporated my earliest fear into my first novel. It seemed like such an obvious choice, a fear shared by so many children. But my villain doesn't just scare you, he takes away that light in you - the light that dreams, and hopes, and fights the fear. He takes your imagination. To me that's much scarier than death. To live in a world without the daydreams and musings that get you through mundane days. To lose your creativity.

Today, my boogeyman has turned inward. He's that voice inside that tells me I can't succeed, that I'm already behind, that I shouldn't even try. He still tries to take my imagination, quench it, box it in. He speaks with the voice of a million naysayers, to snatch and grab with those long fingers, and try to tear me apart. But he'll never succeed. Because I created him. And I control how far I let him go.

Do you have a boogeyman?


  1. Oh, that's so sad, Donelle. I'm sorry to hear you're struggling with this, because you're amazingly talented and will succeed if you keep doing everything you're already doing. It's only a matter of time. I'm in awe of how talented you are.

    I have a very similar boogeyman. It's a lack of self-confidence that holds me back and keeps me from moving forward. It makes me self-destructive a lot of the time.

    You're definitely not alone.

  2. Thanks, Holli. It's not as extreme as it sounds in the post. Mostly I think it's just me being hard on myself, telling myself I've lost time, that I should've already been published, etc. We're our own worst critics, but we can combat this with encouraging voices. Just like I have a good boogeyman in my story to combat the evil one. The good one looks out for my MC and protects her no matter what. We just need to shepherd ourselves a little more, be kinder to ourselves and tell ourselves we can take that next step.


I'd love to hear what you have to say!

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