It’s been a few days since we lost Jack Ketchum, and I’m just now finding the words for it. I sat in on a session at the HWA conference in Portland a few years ago and was awestruck to hear him talk and still be so humble about his craft. He was a laid back guy who cared about what he did, and it showed. He seemed glad that he was able to help people heal from tragedy through his writing. It struck me that that’s why he loved what he did.
He did mention, though, that some people weren’t too pleased with his writing. If you’ve ever read Jack Ketchum’s stuff, you’ll know what I’m talking about. But he didn’t mind. He was still passionate about what he was doing. And when you’re passionate about what you’re doing, everything else just fades away.
Passion for writing and art has helped guide me through tough decisions. It has helped me through heartache, loss, and anxiety. By talking about my horrors–crappy modeling gigs, rape, the loss of my mother–I’m able to heal while still reaching out to others who have experienced something similar. And that’s huge.
Some of you write romance, some of you (probably most of you reading this) write horror. Usually, there’s a damn good reason we write about the things we’ve chosen. For me, it’s because I’m passionate about life and being in this world today, and I appreciate the glaring extremes in day-to-day life.
Horror is real life, whether we like it or not. And while every day above ground is a good day, we still need to talk about the bad shit. Horror writers go there. It’s not always such a bad thing.
Love hard and live easy, because the next minute on earth could be your last. The more you accept this, the more you appreciate the positive end of the spectrum and lead your life with a passion.
Horror writers don’t write what they write to piss you off; they write it, in my opinion, because they appreciate life. Death scares every one of us, but it makes us think in the present and forces us to think about many ‘what ifs’–what if we lost the love of our life? What if we left this earth without telling our loved ones what we feel?
The thread between life and death is thin and tenuous. It could break at any time.
A lot of us are sick. A lot of people live blindly and refuse to think about any negative thing that could happen. I don’t judge that approach. But I do seem to appreciate the things I have when I run the ‘what ifs’ through my mind. It’s easier for me to focus on the positive and keep the negative, the horror, in mind. And that’s what helps me live passionately.
What has helped you find your passion?