“Fear is the mind killer.” Frank Herbert, Dune
I have to admit that Green Lantern is a huge influence on my life. I started reading the adventures of Hal Jordan when I was eight years old. Green Lantern for those of you not in the know is about a test pilot who gets summoned to a dying alien’s craft, and upon meeting him, gets blessed with a ring that makes him capable of overcoming fear. I’m using Geoff Johns’ version, because I think it’s the most accurate.
Fear has always been in my life too. You always have that voice in the back of your head that tells you its worries and fears and it seems to heighten itself when there is something worthwhile right in front of you. For me, I get nervous in all kinds of situations. I get fearful when I go to interview someone, whether it’s Mackenzie Fisk or Robert J. Sawyer, or Megan Hutchison. I’m nervous when I go to talk to a girl and tell her I like her. Everything in life has a touch of fear and risk to it. Especially the worthwhile things.
Writing book 3 of the Watcher series is a bit of a fear for me. I know I can write this story. I have some ideas how to merge the mediums in them, (and Florence, if you’re reading this, expect some fun challenges.) But the truth is, I know I can do this.
But what comes after? I know this is going to be the last Watcher for a while. I may come back to this world at some point, but this story for now is finished when I put the pen down. It’s time to do new things and I know it.
But what comes after? I don’t know. That’s kind of a terrifying thought.
I think this fear is a very worthwhile one to talk about. We all fear, but most of us spend our lives I think letting our fears dictate our lives. That is a poor choice, because if that happens, fear usually takes the best things away.
I remember when I was in high school I had this girl I really liked. She was one of my sister’s friends but I didn’t say anything about it. It was here I made the decision not to ever have another regret again. I vowed never to let my fears take away potential good things away from me again.
But as I get older, now I’m throwing myself into situations that scare me. Because the terrifying truth is that overcoming your fears, going for the things you want, is one of the greatest highs you can ever get.
Another childhood story: I remember my dad and I went to this place called Fanshawe Dam just after my parents separated. There was this hill – probably smaller than I remember it, I was only eight at the time – that my dad just said we should scale.
I emphatically said no. There was no way we could do it. My dad just vaulted up this hill. It was a thing to see. He just bounced up there. He stood at the top and beckoned me to do it.
I had no choice. I slowly started to scale up the hill. All the while, I had this mantra in my head “I can’t do it,” I said. All the while, I inched up, bit by bit. Before I knew it, I was at the top of the hill.
“I did it,” and that voice inside me vanished. The fear was replaced by elation. I had done it. I achieved something.
We all have fears. We all sometimes think we’re not good enough, or worthy to tackle whatever undertakings we dream of. The truth is, we can make our dreams real. We can make good things happen to ourselves. We just have to dive in and take the plunge.
That voice of fear is always there, pointing out things that may happen. That’s okay. Fear can be your friend in this. Fear says we can fail, fall, be hurt. And when it’s worthwhile, we can. But if we do it, we make that voice go away, and find something important about ourselves: Self Respect. Even when we fail, we know something about what we are made of, and can try again.
So whoever you are reading this know that I know whatever you set yourself to do, you can do it. It’s okay to bring fear along with you; it just means you really want this and it matters to you. It’s great to care. Just don’t let that voice rule you. Follow the voice in your heart that says to go for it.
You can do it.
Now excuse me, I got some mistlands to pull my characters through, or rather, they will pull me through. And after? There are a million experiences to be had if I let myself.
If I’m not afraid.