No. 18 >> The Fraidy Cat Issue: Your fear is boring.

MAKING THE WORK // Your fear is boring.    

 “Your fear is the most boring thing about you.” That’s what Elizabeth Gilbert said recently while on Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour. A numerologist I know posted the video clip.

So, now my own fear just kicked in because I mentioned Liz Gilbert, Oprah, and a numerologist. I’m afraid that you’re going to think that I’m not literary because I mentioned Liz Gilbert. I’m afraid that you’re going to think I have those perforated affirmation cards that you can tear out of O Magazine taped above my desk (I don’t, but I do subscribe to the magazine). I’m afraid that you’re going to think that I’m a new-ager because I know that my life path number is nine.

So now I have a quandary. Do I keep writing in this fear-zone, or do I delete and start again? 

Liz Gilbert also says:

Fear is boring, because fear only ever has one thing to say to us, and that thing is: ‘STOP!’... My fear wants me to stop, because my fear wants me to be safe, and my fear perceives all motion, all inspiration, all work, all activity, all passion whatsoever as potentially life-threatening. My fear wants me to live a smaller life. The smallest imaginable life, ideally. My fear would prefer that I never got out of bed. Your fear is the same. Exactly the same as mine. I guarantee it.

This is getting really bad now, this fear I’m having. Because now, in addition to you thinking that I’m an Eat, Pray, Lover/Oprah book-clubber/white-light nutbar, you’re going to think I’m an unsophisticated thinker serving up self-help pabulum. 


And now my quandary is followed by a choice. Do I write about self-help and how I’m really a person that is, god help me, soothed by it? And, while I’m letting it all hang out, throw in that I have a secret past as a professional tea leaf reader called The Empress of the Whispering Leaves? 

Or, do I talk about the other fears I have around my writing—like how I worry that it’s not smart enough or funny enough. That it’s too girly. That I will never finish my book. That my book will never get published. That my book will get published and people will hate it. That my book will get published and people will want more and I’ll have to do it all over again, only it’ll have to be different and better. 

SEEN & HEARD // Spiders the Size of Puppies

Recently, I witnessed the counter girl at a second-hand clothing store totally freak out when a customer tried to consign a mink collar. In fairness to the counter girl, the customer kind of sprung it on her, pulling it head first out of a well-used plastic grocery bag. Its little paws and tail were still intact too. Clearly, the counter girl, who was very young, did not know that small, carnivorous mammals were once a fashion accessory, as evidenced by the fact that she fled to the other end of the counter, covered her face and said, “WHAT IS THAT THING? WHY DID YOU BRING IT HERE?”

The woman who was trying to sell the mink put it around her neck to demonstrate. “Very fancy,” she said, giving it a light pet.

“No,” the counter girl said, crouched down as if to protect herself. 

The whole thing was extremely amusing. I’d even go so far as to say I felt smug to be a perfectly rational being, nonplussed by the proximity of a dead mink that could lounge around one’s neck.

I thought about that smugness when an article about a spider the “size of a puppy” (with photo) appeared on my newsfeed and my reaction was to yell “NO!” and shut my eyes so I didn't have to bash my laptop screen.

I’ve since been haunted as to whether or not there really are spiders the size of puppies. So, with journalistic resolve, I decided, for you, dear mini-maggers, that I had to find out the truth. Buoyed by the word “puppy”, I Googled. Brace yourselves... the South American Goliath bird-eating tarantula is real, and in fact, the size off a newborn puppy.

It’s been a little hard for me to get information because of the piece of paper I’ve had to hold in front of my screen to block the photos that go with the articles on the Goliath. From the snippets of text I could read, what I can tell you is that the humongo spider of recent fame was spotted by photographer and entomologist Piotr Nasrecki in Guyana, South America. He initially thought it was a possum and noted that the species is so heavy its footsteps sound like tiny hooves as they pound the ground. 

Still with me? (Remember, Guyana is a long way away.)

When threatened, Goliaths rub their serrated hairy legs together, which generates a hissing sound audible from 15 feet away. The rubbing also releases the hair into the air, which can mess with a person, as Nasrecki experienced when those nasty hairs got in his face. But that’s not why he killed the spider. He killed it for science and that’s a whole other story involving death threats (against him, not the already dead spider).

You can read all about Nasrecki’s experience here. Or, you can go look at puppies and try not to think of them having eight dangerously hairy legs.

LISTS // Wussified Horror Films

I’m way too much of a fraidy cat to watch horror films. I’m still scarred from seeing Poltergeist at an inappropriately young age on the family TV while the adults drank beer and ignored the children (ah, the good old days). I could, however, watch these wussified horror films, which were part of a recent Twitter game: #wussifyahorrorfilm. I’ve aggregated twenty of the best, into a pleasing, alphabetical list, here for your seasonal enjoyment.

  1. American Psychoanalyst  |  @MichaelPLehman   
  2. A Nightlight on Elm Street  |  @BrianSaysStuff   
  3. Cakes On A Plane  |  @YolandaRichard7 
  4. Children of the Corn Flakes  |  @lindsaygoldwert   
  5. Heckraiser  |  @swimstein   
  6. Interview With An Umpire  |  ‏@DamianVanore23   
  7. Night of the Crepes  |  @AndrewJParker 
  8. Paralegal Activity  |  @ElectricPencils   
  9. Pet Seminary  |  ‏@Timechuck   
  10. Rosemary’s Baby Carrots  |  ‏@ServeTheRude  
  11. Salem’s Lox  |  ‏@DanSigner 
  12. See No Wevill  |  @djroe   
  13. Stan’s Labyrinth  |  @macwrites   
  14. The Blair Warner Project*  |  @ABitContrary 
  15. The Hills Have Eyes, a Nose and the Cutest Little Smile  |  @FuKeith   
  16. The Humane Centipede  |  @KatDucDuk   
  17. The Mommy  |  @Shoq   
  18. The People Who Live in the Cozy One-Bedroom Apartment Under the Stairs  |  @MarcusBeaubier   
  19. The Science Of The Lambs  |  @Wieneraaron   
  20. The Texas Chainstore Mascara  |  @MarcusBeaubier   

* Y’all remember The Facts of Life, right? That’s Blair Warner up there in the header image.