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Question of the Week: Phobias.

By Posted on 56 2 m read 1.3K views

What are you afraid of? And if you want, tell a story to show what you do when you’re scared.

(Oh wait, there’s a bonus question because this is the last Question of the Week until September: What’s your favorite Hendrix tune?)


me, Tish

I love this quote of Tish Cohen talking about phobias:

It won’t surprise many to hear Woody Allen is not only claustrophobic, but agoraphobic. Many of his films featured Woody playing the role of a neurotic pessimist, obsessed with death and forever whining to his therapist. (I can’t be the only one who finds that sexy. Can I?) He gave phobias panache. Suddenly everyone wanted one. …On my wedding day, I had Woody Allen pre-approved as my celebrity exception to fidelity. That he doesn’t know or care only makes me want him more.

Wednesday, Tish will be here to talk about agoraphobia, movie adaptations, and her book, TOWN HOUSE.


I mentioned this last Friday, but here’s another reminder: LitPark is going on summer vacation at the end of this week. This is my time to do final edits for St. Martin’s, and I didn’t get this far to do anything half-assed.

Before any of you suggest that Lance should take the reigns for the summer, he’s finishing and polishing his manuscript so he can submit it to some lucky editors. So there you have it: summer vacation in four days. I’ll keep the comments unlocked so you can continue to hang out here. Or you can join me in taking a working holiday.

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  • Simon Haynes
    May 28, 2007

    No phobias or illogical fears here. I mean, I wouldn’t bungee jump or leap out of an airplane with a parachute but I reckon that’s just a healthy regard for my own safety, not a phobia of any kind.

  • Susan Henderson
    May 28, 2007

    How about your Hendrix picks, Simon?

    (Lance and Alex – Are you still up? One Les Mis soundtrack later, I think I have the two chapters I needed to write today. Wobbly but kind of thrilling, too.)

  • Nathalie
    May 28, 2007

    “The Wind Cries Mary”, I think…
    (but a favourite song – or a style of music – is very much a matter for flavour-of-the-day for me).

    I am really scared of height. Even just standing on a chair.
    Void attracts me. For this reason, I would like to try parachuting at least once, to see if that clears the issue.(Not bungee jumping though as I don’t think I could – literally- stomach it – I am NOT a yoyo)
    The worse of this is that I feel that vertigo on behalf of other persons too: seeing my love sitting at the edge of a cliff sends me in fits of panic.
    Funny enough, the phobia does not bother me under water: I have been floating along drop-offs with visibility all the way down to a far off bottom and never even spared the matter a thought (but then again I know my equipment and how it works: I trust it will support me).

    Last question until September ?
    This is SO sad. I’d got quite addicted to these weekly sessions.
    But, yes, I suppose you ARE entitled to some holiday too.

  • lance reynald
    May 28, 2007

    VooDoo Child…(for oh so many reasons.)

    phobias you say…

    well, these are bound to get out of the bag sometime; may as well do it now.

    I do in fact have bad spells of agoraphobia and social anxiety. Though I try to keep that under control. The problem is finding the right control and still being able to write. My worst episode lasted about six weeks, I had anxiety attacks every time I tried to leave the house…it was horrible, I’ve never felt that out of control. I even stopped eating during that time. I was falling apart and people were noticing. My ex was at the end of the rope with me, we were still married then. I saw a doctor, heavy meds were used. Anti-anxiety drugs tossed me into a mild, but creative as hell mania. I think it generated the outlines for what looks like at least the next few books.
    no agoraphobic spells to be concerned about in the past few years. But, I do get tremors when I’m out at functions; usually only the closest of friends notice and comment…I keep my hands jammed in my pockets to try and hide it.

    Les Mis, huh?

    yeah, I can see it.

    you’ll be happy to know I wandered from “Slippery When Wet” to The Cult, The Cure and finished up with Siouxsee and the Banshees “Cities in Dust”.

    I hit 2000 more words than I expected today…the cave looks good to me right now.

  • Colin Matthew
    May 28, 2007


    And as for Hendrix, Crosstown Traffic

  • Simon Haynes
    May 28, 2007

    “How about your Hendrix picks, Simon?”

    Oops, missed that bit, probably because I’ve never really listened to Hendrix. Might be a phobia, perhaps?

  • amy
    May 28, 2007

    How tragic! I will miss turning to this site when I’m in a writerly funk.

    I have an irrational aversion to mold and decay. The other day I was peeling potatoes, many of which had developed eyes. I forced myself to pick the eyes off, but I had a serious case of the jibblies for about half an hour.

    Also: Foxy Lady.

  • LaurenBaratz-Logsted
    May 28, 2007

    I just read Tish Cohen’s Town
    House the other day. As I’ve been telling everyone, it’s fantastic!

  • Susan Henderson
    May 28, 2007

    Simon – You’re sounding very Australian today.

    Nathalie – You guys are welcome to keep up with the Questions of the Week in the Comments section or whatever else you can think of.

    Lance – My editor wants the climax to be huge and dramatic and emotional, so last night, it was all Jeff Buckley and Les Mis. Felt like I was writing at the top of my game last night so I’m not even going to look at it today. I’ll just let myself believe it and not take in a dose of reality. One chapter to go on this climax bit – my goal today – and then pulling that into final form. (My teeth chatter when I’m nervous, which is really embarrassing when I’m in the middle of a reading.)

    Colin – I love Crosstown Traffic. I love needles, too. I’m an acupuncture addict. And as a kid, I loved sticking needles through the first few layers of skin for that Hellraiser look.

    amy – You guys can still meet here and create whatever you like. Or you can post links here to your own blogs so the conversations can move through different neighborhoods.

    Lauren – I know. I’m sorry about the banquet.

  • Susan Henderson
    May 28, 2007

    Hey, t, can you fix that Claire Cameron link? The apostrophe’s not going through in the code. Thx. xo

  • PD Smith
    May 28, 2007

    Good luck with your book, Susan. I didn’t know you were with St Martin’s; mine’s due out from SMP in December!

    Hendrix: All along the Watchtower – sublime! Even Dylan said it was better than the original…

    Have a great holiday (goodness is it summer already…!)

  • Michael D. Williams
    May 28, 2007

    The first time I do this is the last for the summer. As for phobias, I can’t say I have any, but I don’t like rats. I remember watching a movie with my sister when I was seven or eight about a guy who had all these killer rats. So for a time I had an irrational fear of rats.

    All along the watchtower

  • Alexander Chee
    May 28, 2007

    Hi Susan–

    I in fact went to sleep.

    I’m afraid of getting on trains with nothing to read. The proof that everyone might be psychic is that if you read over their shoulder, even if they seem like the most insensate person, they can tell and they hate it. So I learned to do whatever I could to make sure I had something. The reason for this fear is that in New York, if I didn’t have something to read and the train was diverted or delayed, which was almost every time, then I’d sit there and think about how I’d never have that time back again—I’d think about how years later when I was near death I’d resent all that time spent trapped in the subway. But with a book or even a copy of the New York Post I could live in my little fantasy that something was being done, and I’d leave the train knowing a little more.

    My real fear underneath all that is that I’ll die before I do everything I want to do and in particular read everything I want to read and write everything I want to write.

    Also, in the Midwest, I learned I get mildly agoraphobic and fear I’ll be sucked into the sky because there’s no mountains (?) which I know makes no sense.

    Happy Summer vacation. I hope you get a ton done.

  • Richard Cooper
    May 28, 2007

    Recently, I’ve discovered that I’ve been afraid of my bosses in just about every job I’ve held – especially when it comes time for those wicked performance reviews (which obviously originate in hell just for my particular torture, feeding my already irrational or overblown guilt.) When critiqued, I feel the adrenaline push of fight or flight, and the only way I can deal is to take a long look at my personal list of accomplishments for the year. Speaking of Woody Allen, I can totally relate to the scene in Annie Hall where he tears up his own driver’s license (when the California cop asks for it after he plays bumper cars in a parking lot) while admitting he has a “problem with authority.” Relatedly, I have “parents issues,” but haven’t figured out how to deal with those, yet. Ha ha!

    Jimi Hendrix track: Foxy Lady.

  • Lori Oliva
    May 28, 2007

    No real phobias that will make me curl up in a ball and regress, but like Simon, I wouldn’t jump off a bridge or hang upside down from a hot air balloon for fun.

    My favorite Hendrix song (s) (sorry, there are a few):

    Voodoo Child
    Castles Made of Sand
    Are You Experienced?

    Good luck with the final edits, Susan. I can’t wait to see it in the stores!!!


  • Betsy
    May 28, 2007

    I’m not sure about phobias, but fears, yes. I used to have a severe fear of making left turns, so much so that I just wouldn’t do it. I’d make a right, and another right, and another right. Which, at times, doesn’t work out so well when for instance there’s say a cemetery on the right and making three rights involves going about a mile out of your way. (I’d say this was because of one of my ‘near death’ experiences – I was in a tiny tin-can car with some friends (they were driving) in Chicago trying to make a left at one of our insane six-way intersections, at which time an oncoming city bus, also seeming to make a left, came straight at us at forty miles an hour or so and blocking our ability to see whether it was ok for us to make the left, finally turning only when it was mere inches from our car – but – back to the original thought – I already had my fear before this happened.) Now, though, I make them most of the time. But I don’t enjoy it.

  • Aurelio
    May 28, 2007

    I used to have a fear of crowds. I’d break out in a sweat and start to hyperventilate whenever I was boxed in amongst large groups of people, but then I lived in Taipei for a while and it actually cured me. It was one of those adapt or die situations.

    Now I only fear stinky tofu. (If you know what it is you’ll understand.)

    Good luck with your edits, Susan!

  • Susan Henderson
    May 28, 2007

    I think I’m in love with Tommy Kane’s rabbit. Go check it out.

    Peter – What a cool guy Bob Dylan is to say that. I’m a huge huge huge Dylan fan. Why don’t you give us the name of your book that’s due in December?

    Michael – Hi and welcome! If you don’t like rats, then you should not go here: But it’s one of my favorite places in NYC.

    Alex – Man, even your posts here read like books I’d want to go buy.

    Richard – Ha! Me, too! If you read anything I’ve ever written, the underlining theme is a fear of being a disappointment to people. The whole concept of “a boss” kind of throws me.

    Lori – Three favorites – all the better!

    Betsy – Ha ha ha! I like you. Mr. Henderson gets mad because I close my eyes when I drive through tunnels. I’m not great at lefts either. Possibly, I’m not a great driver, but I love to write while I drive. I get a lot done in the car.

    Aurelio – Yeah, Taipei would be a hard place to go if you have a fear of crowds. I wonder if Kimberly will come around today and tell a good Taipei story.

  • PD Smith
    May 28, 2007

    Well, I’m not great at blowing my own trumpet but since you’re kind enough to ask, Susan, my book is called Doomsday Men. It’s not fiction (I know most of you guys are fiction writers!), but it’s a cultural history of science, superweapons and other strangeloves…

    You can read about my feelings on receiving the finished UK edition on my blog at the Nervous Breakdown (

    Hope you all have a great & productive summer!


  • Nicole
    May 28, 2007

    wow – I have a lot of slight phobias and … no stories about them. Hmmm … why is that? Too early maybe.

    I also have a lot of favorite Jimi songs. Hey Joe is up there. Manic Depression I find a great song for when you are feeling that way. And Angel is great … I have Fiona Apple doing a cover and it’s really well done.

  • Kimberly
    May 28, 2007

    Ah, good Taipei stories… I DO have a few! Some involve my disgust of 100-year old eggs, fleeing the Chang-Kai Shek (sp?) Memorial in tears clutching a 25-lb book with a steel-death grip and of course, learning how to say “Children to the stage please” in Taiwanese. I’ll save the juiciest ones for the future. (Leave it to the screenwriter to end on a cliff-hanger!)

    However, I’m wracking my brain for a phobia and I think I may have a phobia of NOT having a phobia. I was a tomboy growing up so I conquered most girlish fears early and because of my past life as a round-the-world-freelancer, I have learned to love the “new” in everything: I embrace change! I could be probably be considered slightly agoraphobic, but only in social situations where I feel have no real purpose in being there. I guess I’m just a girl who needs a mission!

    However (as a side note – after having just finished “The Year of Yes”) MDH has just inspired me so deeply, that I may have to create a new mission to open up and allow the world IN a little more – but kissing a homeless guy who THINKS he’s Jimi Hendrix might be a little beyond my capabilities – we’ll see…

    and on that note…

    It’s probably a toss-up between Little Wing and Castles in the Sand (darn Lori for beating me to it)

    Happy Summer writing/editing, Susan! Hope to make it out to [DELETED BECAUSE SUE’S PHOBIA IS PEOPLE KNOWING WHERE SHE LIVES] many times this summer for BBQs, open mikes and Spare Parts concerts!

    (considering the number of times I have re-read this post, I am undeniably a typo-phobe)

  • Rachna Vohra
    May 28, 2007

    it creeps up on me
    this thing they call my phobia
    but i am not arachnaphobic
    i am paralyzed

    it crawls through the labyrinth of my cerebellum
    this thing they call my phobia
    but i am not arachnaphobic
    my lungs have simply given up

    it tip toes on the paths of my veins
    this thing they call my phobia
    but i am not arachnaphobic
    my heart has just stopped

    it hangs from thin lines of thread
    this thing they call my phobia
    but i am not arachnaphobic
    i am falling through abysses

    my sanity screams but no one can hear
    at this thing they call my phobia
    but i am not arachnaphobic
    i am frozen in a silent death

  • Susan Henderson
    May 28, 2007

    Peter – You know I have great interest in WMDs, so I’m excited about your book coming out. That’s a fascinating piece on The Nervous Breakdown! I’m going to go back and re-read when my house is quieter. Here, for some reason your link isn’t live so I’ll post it again to make it easier for folks:

    Nicole – Fiona Apple does an amazing job with every song she covers.

    Kimberly – I love cliffhangers! Definitely tell Maria what you said about her book. She’s some kind of fearless. I was thinking about you the other day. Do you need contacts for location shoots in Poland or Hungary? Because I think I have some good ones for you. I can get you translators, too.

    Rachna – I’m so glad to see you here. I feel like you just brought us inside this phobia. Loved your interview here, so I’m going to link it:

  • Alexi Lykissas
    May 28, 2007

    Rachna loved the poem.
    Though you say you are not arachnophic, I will scream out to the world that I am terrified of spiders. It just sucks that I live alone in LA, so when the spiders come in during the summer, I have to figure out something to do with them, which usually involves me throwing some sort of shoe at them or washing them down the drain (if they are in the shower, which is quite common).

    So sad that LitPark and Susan will be gone for the summer, I enjoy reading everyone’s comments, even if I don’t always comment. Have a good summer of editing and polishing

  • Rachna Vohra
    May 28, 2007

    haha, thanks – i am so scared of them that i can’t even look at them, much less throw something at them or wash them down a drain…

    last week, one was sharing the shower with me and i only noticed after i put shampoo in my hair… needless to say, i jumped out and ran over to the other bathroom to wash the soap out – THAT’S how scared i am…

    i can’t even be in the room if someone (my mom) is killing a spider for me…

    sigh, what a paralyzing feeling…

  • Robin Slick
    May 28, 2007

    I never met a Hendrix song I didn’t love – I named my son after Jimi and Clapton — Eric James Marshall Slick.

    But after much thought, I pick If 6 Were 9. For lots of reasons the least of which is that four decades later, it will gives me the chills.

    No phobia but paralyzed with fear over the thought of someone I love getting sick and dying and I guess with good reason since it’s happened so often. There are times I ruin my present by obsessing and worrying so much about the future.

    Wait, you were actually allowed a celebrity infidelity? Incredible. Though of course I never asked, working under the assumption that if you don’t put the question out there, the answer can’t be no.

    And Lit Park closed for the summer? Oh god. That means we all have to actually spend our down time writing. Or stalking celebrities…

  • Robin Slick
    May 28, 2007

    okay, it will gives me the chills?

    still. still. still.

  • Kimberly
    May 28, 2007

    oops – sorry about spilling the beans about location location location… just saw your edit! I had no idea! Yipes!

  • Kimberly
    May 28, 2007

    (hoping the third time’s the charm – I must have been doing something screwy in my feeble attempts at code)

    I’d love your connections to Poland/Hungary but since the APGinvestors disappeared , we’re kinda back to square one for the moment – albeit a more-informed square one – so maybe square 3 or 4?

    In either case, I am very much looking forward to learning how to say “Get me a dirty Ketel One martini QUICK!” in Polish! (You know how I love those foreign languages…)

  • Anneliese
    May 28, 2007

    I recently had a come to Jesus moment around fear and realized that no matter how evolved I think I’ve become, I still am VERY attached to my image and am afraid of acting out of context that may alter whatever that image “should be.”

    Isn’t that crazy?

    Why do I “co-” my ego?

    Ugh, so it’s back to the drawing board and I’m going to get loose and silly this summer. Hopefully that’ll help shake the image pine cones from my tree.

    Jimi: I L*O*V*E Jim’s “Star Spangled Banner.” Many a tear have come to my eye hearing him play that tune.

    Susan: Good Luck.

    Happy Summer Everybody!

  • LaurenBaratz-Logsted
    May 28, 2007

    Susan, bummer. I was invited to the LBC party and the GalleyCat one the same night, but I only have a few hours in the city and I’ll be spending them at the BKSP banquet. Best of luck with the edits – I know you’ll nail it.

    My biggest fear used to be that I wouldn’t live long enough to read all the books I want to read; now it’s that I won’t live long enough to write all the books I want to write. I do have at least one bigger fear, of course, but voicing that fear would feel too much like inviting disaster, as my Russian and Italian ancestors would say.

  • Laura Benedict
    May 28, 2007

    I want to go with “All Along the Watchtower,” though sources say it’s only a cover (written by Bob Dylan). So I’ll choose Foxy Lady.

    1) Having one of my eyes poked out, or having it hanging out by a vein or tendon or something. Ugh. Makes my skin crawl to think of it.

    2) I used to be afraid of any sort of creepy crawly thing, particularly spiders. I even woke my father up in the middle of the night more than once when I was a kid so he could kill them on my ceiling. But now that I’m a parent, bugs don’t bother me so much (though earwigs really get to me). My biggest fear is that something will happen to one of my kids.

  • Michael D. Williams
    May 28, 2007

    The Backroom is my kinda place. Will be in NYC in July and will go check it out. Thanks for the tip…

  • Simon Haynes
    May 28, 2007

    “I’m not great at lefts either.”

    You know, if you all move to the UK or Australia you can drive on the other side of the road and start fearing right turns instead. Just saying 😉

    (I love driving in any conditions. I enjoy the challenge.)

  • Lee
    May 29, 2007

    Stone Free, Red House . . . Nobody seduces those songs the way Hendrix did. I do prefer Stevie’s version of Little Wing over Hendrix’s but that’s a separate story.
    I have a phobia of being scared. Not to sound Zen-wishy-washy. I think it’s a genuine fear. I used to be scared of heights, so I started rock climbing. I’m not very good, but I’ve boosted myself pretty high with nothing to fall back on.
    Cracked out panhandlers still frighten me a little. I answer them in a loud, overwhelming voice which usually unnerves them, but I’m still wary of them.


  • PD Smith
    May 29, 2007

    Many thanks for your support Susan! I shall make sure my editor at SMP sends you a copy when it’s published…

    (By the way: who is your editor?)

    Hope the editing goes well. I found the process rather stressful. Mind you, there were over a thousand endnotes… One problem fiction writers don’t have! Now I have a phobia about endnotes…


  • Ric Marion
    May 29, 2007

    Long, long time ago… just a week out of high school, got a job working at Pontiac Motors, driving the new cars off the assembly line – I was earning $3.66 an hour (minimum wage was 50 cents). Some of these brand new 1969 Pontiacs came with fancy radios with the upstart FM option.

    FM stations were considered subversive. WRIF in Detroit signed off the air (see how old I am – I go back before 24/7 was even thought of) at 2 am. Being an underground rock format, they played Jimi’s Star Spangled Banner.

    For a long haired, wannabe hippie, sitting in a shiny new Bonneville with less than a mile on the odometer, with Hendrix turned all the way up, making more money in an hour than most of my friends did in a day, it really didn’t get much better.

    Susan, going to miss you this summer – Miss Snark is gone, everyone is moving on, guess it’s time to finish the next book and get with the program. It’s been nice – glad you were accepting of this old guy trying to stay young.


  • Michael
    May 29, 2007

    Am not afraid of stinky tofu like Aurelio. You get used to the smell after it touches your tongue. A friend of mine said this one time when we played a drunken game of ‘close your eyes and eat this and guess what it is’ … it certainly wasn’t stinky tofu. Just a tip.

    I used to be afraid of nuclear war, vampires, catching a VD, and turning a corner in a dark alley and bumping into Martin Scorsese. Now I’m just afraid of being run down by a three-wheeled ‘biketruck’ (if you have been to Beijing you know, oh you know), the constant changing faces of the guards in front of the gate where I work (there has to be a new one every five minutes), catching avian flu, and turning a corner in a dark alley and bumping into Kim Jong Il.

    Gives me the heebejeebees.

  • Michael
    May 29, 2007

    Oh … and I forgot my Hendrix pick …

    Hey Joe

    I really, really dig the background singers in this one. “Oooh, oooh, oooh … heeey Joooe …”

  • Stephanie Friedman
    May 29, 2007

    I don’t have a phobia per se, but I do have this irrational fear that my daughter is going to disappear. At first, I thought it was post-partum hormones or something that made me check on her every two minutes. I am less crazed now (four years later), but it still hits me at times. For instance, yesterday we were in the backyard and I went into the garage to put something away and came back out and didn’t see her. I was calling and calling her, thinking, “Could someone have taken her this fast? Did she wander off?” She had just gone inside, of course, and couldn’t understand what my problem was. I couldn’t either, really, but there you are.

    As for Hendrix tunes, it’s hard to pick, but Angel popped into my head first, so I’ll go with that one.

    Happy summer to all.

  • Gail Siegel
    May 29, 2007

    For some reason I thought you were already closed!

    I am pretty dramatically afraid of heights. My children (18 and 22 years old) are both afraid of CLOWNS.

    The novel I never finished has a big claustrophia scene in a tunnel. Maybe I’ll post it for your summer reading. I’m at work and can’t read anyone’s comments until later this afternoon…will look forward to it.

  • A.S. King
    May 29, 2007

    Though I’ve always been a naturally good swimmer (nicknamed “the fish” for my childhood) I have a fear of deep water. Or would that be a fear of drowning in deep water? This is a relatively new but powerful fear which has changed the way I approach the sea.

    I can’t wait for that panel on Thursday, Susan! Should be great!

    (Because I am a bona fide Hendrix Pervert, I am excused from ever having to pick a favorite. I just can’t.)


  • bruce bauman
    May 29, 2007

    fears- so many. one is leaving comments on a blog. another is going to sleep in the land of the nightmares and waking up to find that it isn’t a nightmare that bush is still president. (hey, it’s no accident my new novel is titled ‘Broken Sleep.’)

    hendrix fans- great new anthology- Kiss the Sky: Fiction & Poetry Starring Jimi Hendrix. check it out.
    fave songs- Angel, Voodoo Child (slight return) and his version of the Star Spangled Banner.

    from John Keats:

    When I have fears that I may cease to be
    Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain…

  • Gail Siegel
    May 29, 2007

    Oh, Little Wing is my favorite Hendrix — the Stevie Ray Vaughan version.

  • James Spring
    May 29, 2007

    It appears that my phobia about waking up one morning to find LitPark gone is about to become a reality.

    It’s like the end of senior year, and you’re going away to college and I’m going to keep working here at the gas station, but we’re really in love, and we know we’ll be able to see each other at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and if somebody here dies and you have to come home for a funeral. We’ll wait, and we’ll live for those moments. Our love will endure this separation.

    Until one day, when another literary blogger stops by the filling station with a broken fan belt. And she steps out of the vehicle with her big, flashy fonts, and long, smooth prose that goes all the way to the floor. And she says to me, “You’re cute,” and she invites me along and, before I know it, I’m all caught up in her blog. And she teaches me about Kierkegaard and Post-Modernism, and explains what meta-fiction isn’t…

    Don’t leave me for too long. I’m fickle, and I have ADD. My own wife is afraid to work overtime.

    Apart from all that, I’ll miss you… and I’ll eagerly await your triumphant return.

    I wanted to congratulate you for your fine story Lady Bug in the Noveltown debut. It was a wonderful tale. I read it while alone in a bunk at Mike’s Sky Ranch in the middle of Baja California, and it made me miss my own little Addie something fierce. I “dot” her nose every night when she’s asleep.

    I lived a lot of years with nothing to lose. And then I became a father, and my life is now ruled by fear for my daughter’s safety. If, at night, she is sleeping too quietly, I move her arms or nudge her body until I see her move on her own and I can be sure she is still breathing. I’ve done this every night for two and a half years. It’s unhealthy, but I can’t stop myself. I have developed child molestor radar that has surely sentenced hundreds of innocent old men to death in my mind. And I want to sell all the hard-edged furniture in the house and replace it with Bedouin pillows…

    Re: Hendrix… All Along the Watchtower, despite its parentage.

    I’m sorry this was such a ridiculously long ramble. It’s just so hard to let you go…

  • Susan Henderson
    May 29, 2007

    Aw, hey, look at all these great comments. And James!!! Ha!

    Okay, guys, I’m working like a fiend on my book so it may take a day or two for me to jump into the thread. But – not to leave Kimberly hanging:

    Daj mi brudne Ketel One martini SZYBKO!

    (Thanks for the Polish, Aida!)

  • Kimberly
    May 29, 2007

    OMG! Susan, you RULE! I’m going to Greenpoint tout de suite to try it out! (and to look for Senior Chupa!)

  • Mark Bastable
    May 29, 2007

    I used to have a fear of restaurants. Seriously. But my Visa bill would suggest I’ve got over it. I also used to have a fear of moths, but I thought it was silly, so I forced myself to be nice to them. I still have a very real fear of vomiting – but that doesn’t matter much in the scheme of things because I never, ever throw up.

    My only important fear is entirely reasonable. I fear death. Mine, daily. The fear of my own death informs everything I have ever written. I fear the death of my parents, and I used to rather hope I’d go first so that I wouldn’t have to deal with it. Now that I have kids, I don’t hope that I die before my mum and dad. I just live in the fearful hope that I die before any of my children, because I know I couldn’t deal with the alternative. I’m older than all my brothers and my sister, so if there’s any justice I’ll die before my siblings. And I’m seven years older than my wife, so all the actuarial data suggests that she’ll see me off, which’ll be fine by me.

    Jesus – it occurs to me that I’m no longer as scared of dying as I am of other people dying. Perhaps that’s a kind of growing up.

    Stone Free, most days.

  • Sarah Bain
    May 29, 2007

    Oh god, I’m like a cliche on this website. I have a HUGE fear of spiders. When I was a kid (think 3 older brothers) one of my brothers had pet tarantulas, and I stupidly believed everything he said. (It’s so weird I’m telling this story because before I even popped online, I told this story at a work lunch and hadn’t thought about it in years!) Anyway, back to arachnids, I was in my room, playing with my new Barbie camping set which I wanted for two years, when he walks in with his hands behind his back, saying ‘stick out your hand, I have a treat.’ He then proceeded to put his tarantula on my arm and said, ‘now don’t move because he hasn’t eaten, and if he bites you, you’ll DIE.’

    Needless to say, I gave up everything (control of the tv, my allowance, I’d make his bed) if he just took it off of me. Then he went away laughing. Oh god, I hate spiders and Terry can tell you that I will shriek at the sight of the smallest one. Someday, I’ll talk about the two baby rattlesnakes that were loose in our house.

    And I feel late to the game, but Aurelio, just writing ‘stinky tofu’ brings a knot in my throat. I lived in Taiwan for 1 1/2 years and one day, my students threw me a party filled with stinky tofu. ‘Eat it, eat it,’ they urged. And right near where I picked up my laundry each week was a stinky tofu stand with the happiest woman I’ve ever seen. I loved the person who washed my clothes but every week, stinky tofu woman from hell would try and give me free tofu so finally, I had to go somewhere else.

  • Mark Bastable
    May 29, 2007

    ..and as if to prove it, by the way….

  • Susan Henderson
    May 29, 2007

    Mark, is that you singing? And can you give the link to the video of you in the shiny polka-dot shirt – you know, from your 80’s band? You know the one I’m talking about.

    Okay, I just spent the last half hour reading all the new comments and I’m just happy to know all of you. Everyone will be linked on Friday. Both of my favorite Hendrix songs have already been picked but you’ll have to wait till Friday to find out which ones.

  • billie
    May 29, 2007

    Spiders and needles.

    Although I have made major progress this year in overcoming both of them… have become enchanted with the ballerina spiders in our house and had to learn to give injections to my horse. Kind of amazing to experience the lessening of two deeply-rooted lifetime fears!

    Have a wonderful vacation. I LOVED those photos of Bozeman, Montana – wish I were going THERE. 🙂


  • Carolyn Burns Bass
    May 30, 2007

    After traveling what seems like most of the day (3.5 hour layover in Dallas, thanks weather) I am finally lucked away in my Manhattan hotel room, air conditioner blasting.

    My phobia is black widows spiders. The big, glossy black ladies, with long, slinky legs and wicked red hour glasses on their abs. I posted my black widow nursery story on Tish’s “Name Your Phobia” page on her website.

    I am too pedestrian to be a Hendrix devotee, though when I hear “All Along the Watchtower,” I smile to remember my cousin and his Hendrix devotion.

    See ya’ll on Thursday.

  • Jody Reale
    May 30, 2007

    I get all bunched up driving with my dogs in the car. On the occasions that I go long distances with them, I berate myself for never bothering to buy doggie seat belt harnesses for them while imagining what could happen to them if we were in a terrible accident. Like a lot of fears, this one isn’t just hard on me; the people driving behind me on two-lane highways are the ones who really suffer.

    Oh, and banana Laffy Taffy. In my book it trumps stinky tofu every time.

    I’ll pick All Along the Watchtower for 200, Alex.

    Susan and all, thanks for your company this season. I’m taking the summer to work and play, preferably outdoors. Screw you, winter!

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  • […] Phobias * Near-Death Experience * Where? * Mistakes * Writer Communities * Hope * Now What? * Independent Press * Generosity * Nice! * Zodiac * Style * Professional Jealousy * AWP * Controversy * Hair * 80s * Luck * Collaboration * The Pitch * Vacation * Balancing Art and Family * Fantasy and Science Fiction * The Book Tour * Snippets * Telling Mom * Setting * High School Secrets * Your Hidden Side * Out-of-the-Box * Aliases * Obsession * Self-Doubt * Risks of Truth-Telling * 9-11 * Your Space […]

Susan Henderson