Tuesday, 29 May 2012

'And since her fear did her no good, she ceased to be afraid...'


This is a line from one of the stories in Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, called The Company of Wolves. If you haven’t come across The Bloody Chamber, it’s a collection of gothic short stories, in which Carter subverts traditional fairy tales and makes them into very shocking pieces. But once you get over the shock – trust me, there is a lot to be shocked by! – it is a very good collection.

But I’m not going to talk about The Bloody Chamber. Instead, I wanted to refer to that title line. 

A lot of things have been coming together for me recently, and it’s a pretty terrifying time right now, what with exams and moving to university in September. It’s a big deal, and thinking about the future does worry me every now and then. 

But that’s life. Life is scary. If it wasn’t scary at times then it wouldn’t be much of a life at all. You need to take chances and do new things; you need to welcome new opportunities and new horizons. 

I don’t know what will happen in the future. I don’t know whether I’ll be able to one day become an editor in a publishing house or ever publish novels. I’d love both of these things, but sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you expect it to. So I just have to wait and see. 

It’s good to be afraid. But you can’t let fear stop you from doing what you truly want to do, whether that’s accomplishing a long time dream, such as publishing a novel, or trying something new. 

I may be scared. Yet I know I’ll get through it all. I simply have to take the bull by the horns, throw away my fear, and let what will be, be. I think Carter’s protagonist in The Company of Wolves had the right idea (even if the context is entirely different!). 

What do you think? Do you agree with Carter’s words?

12 comments:

  1. I totally understand what you mean. When I was younger I was terrfied of the future. When I left school I went straight into a job, which I told myself I would only do for a year before college and university, that one year turned into five. The longer I stayed there the harder it became to do anything else, I was afraid of the change. Then one day I decided I didn't want to do that job for my whole life, I wanted something more. That was when I decided to go to uni. I was still afraid, but I had to swallow it and take the plunge. It was one of the best decisions of my life.
    I agree totally, fear is good, but don't let it rule your life.
    Great post.

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    1. Yes, it's so easy to want to stay where you feel safe, but most of the time where you feel safe isn't any good for you. It's hard, but sometimes it's better to move on. Thanks for sharing your story, Laura, it's really nice to hear from somebody who has come out the other side of that fear smiling. Thank you!

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  2. That line just sounds amazing! It's a good quote to live by if you're asking me. Fear is so dangerous because it prevents us from reaching our full potential. So putting it aside where it is out of our way is a good way to go! :) Even if it's in a completely different context to being a writer, a student, doing exams, finishing high-school or moving to university.

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    1. I agree, it's a wonderful piece of writing. I definitely think it can be used in all contexts, because let's be honest, life would be nothing if it didn't include a little risk and fear! We just have to hope that once we embrace it everything will all be fine. Here's hoping!

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  3. This puts me in mind of a quote from Neil Gaiman, which goes:

    "Someone asked me recently how to do something she thought was going to be difficult, in this case recording an audio book, and I suggested she pretend that she was someone who could do it. Not pretend to do it, but pretend she was someone who could. She put up a notice to this effect on the studio wall, and she said it helped."

    It's from a speech, which you can watch here: http://www.uarts.edu/neil-gaiman-keynote-address

    It struck me as relevant here for some reason. It sounds like there's a lot going on, and it's right that you'd feel a mixture of trepidation and excitement. Just don't let it get in the way of making good art, and enjoying what you do - and all will be good in the end :)

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    1. I love that advice from Neil Gaiman! Thank you so much. I definitely agree, it's much better to simply get on with it and face the fear. After all, it'll be worth it in the end!

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  4. Wonderful post! Everything in the publishing world is intimidating! It's such a competitive field and far away from the "normal" path in so many minds. But with anything scary comes excitement. And completing something challenging is such a rewarding feeling.

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    1. Thank you! I agree, it's such a hard business to get in to and not a lot of people understand how complex it is, so it does seem incredibly daunting. Asbolutely! All you can do is move past the fear and try and achieve your goals - that alone will be rewarding enough in itself. Thanks for visiting, Genissa!

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  5. Just left you an award on my blog!

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  6. Hi, I am here because your post was mentioned on Stranger than Writing. :) I am so glad I checked it out. I feel so afraid of things anymore, because I have gotten used to the way things are and it has become comfortable for me. The unknown is scary, things could be worse.. but that should not stop me from moving forward. Because things could be better too! Thank you for this post

    Andrea

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    1. I'm glad you did! I agree completely, when we stop being scared sometimes we have to admit that we aren't pushing ourselves far enough. Even if it is scary, I think for the most part it always pays to jump into that unknown, even if it seems terrifying at the time! Thank you, and thanks for visiting, Andrea!

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