The other day I overheard a conversation. I think they were talking about the gory horror film Hostel (2005), when a woman said:

“You must have a fucked-up mind to think up that kind of stuff!”…

I dread to think what she’d say about me. This has actually been one of my fears in the past, that everyone will misread some of my darker work as a fantasy. Despite the likes of Martina Cole writing convincing fictional accounts of criminal horrors, it sometimes seems literary status makes a difference. I was once asked at a writing retreat to try my hand at horror, so I penned The 25th Hour and handed it to the magazine editor for review. In response I was a sent a councillor to ‘see if everything was okay’. I remember the phrase being:

“I know you are probably fine. But after reading your work, if anything were to happen, I’d feel responsible.”

The truth is that we all have good and bad thoughts, dreams and fears. Some of us dream too much, some of us fear too much. Some thoughts come out of nowhere, and even make us feel guilty for thinking them. As a writer, it is important to follow thoughts and try to portray them with words. Deep seeded fears aren’t easy to write about, but when well crafted, can be a therapeutic warning to others. Equally, inspiring hope with words is difficult to accomplish, but if done well, can change the world.


By Jambo Stewart