The Things

steampunk-style mosaic art by Lynn Bridge

Sinister

6 1/8″ x 6 1/4″.  Copyright 2009 by Lynn Bridge.

Since this is Halloween, I am thinking about fear, or maybe about FEAR.  Having been born with an unreasonably vivid imagination, I rarely had a relaxing night’s rest; the necessity of plotting to outwit the malevolent unknown under the bed, in the closet, in the next room, kept me awake for hours.  Being the only child in the family has its downside- there is no comrade-in-arms to help defend against The Things. The idea that someone or something was eyeballing me without my being able to return the favor was terrifying.

We lived ‘out in the country’, so on Halloween, my parents went into town to visit friends who had a daughter three years older than I.  This meant that I was able to go trick-or-treating with a street-wise kid of 7 or 8 who could keep me out of trouble.  The best part of Halloween was not the candy, although it ran a close second; it was the possibility of being scared to death by Something while being protected by my more sizable friend.  In my little part of the world, this children’s holiday had little to do with cute decor and a long lead-up of anticipation.  Instead, it involved the last-minute appearance of carved and eerily flickering jack-o-lanterns, real-life witches with hideous faces, and cobwebs all over the neighborhoods for the sole purpose of scaring the little kids.  We loved it.

So now, Halloween bores me. With decorations being sold months in advance and being put up in houses and yards weeks ahead of the holiday, there is no excitement left.  It is hard to fear something that I’ve scrutinized by daylight.  I don’t like to anticipate fear- I’d much rather be surprised by it, especially if it eventually proves to be harmless.

A few years ago, my son introduced me to Steampunk, which is a sort of elaborate Goth-high tech-low tech combination resulting in Victorian brass casings for one’s computer, and springs and gears and stamped metal and polished wood doing the job of being your cell phone.  The irony attracts me, if not the enormous amounts of time required to create the objects.  Now, apparently there is the Steampunk haunted house.  No blood, no guts, only the relentless machinations of gears, pulleys, and eyepieces doing who-knows-what-kind of job at you or to you or in spite of you.  Once more, the feeling of being seen by the unseen.  Unsettling and… scary!  Sounds good to me.

steampunk-style mosaic art by Lynn Bridge

Sinister

6 1/8″ x 6 1/4″.  Copyright 2009 by Lynn Bridge.

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