After finding out that I’m writing a zombie novel, a well-meaning fellow writer asked me the following question: “Why zombies?” But the quizzical look on her face was far more telling, as if to say, What the…? I just don’t get it, GG. How is it that a fashionably-dressed and well-educated chick like you, likes zombies? Huh? Does not compute! My brain…is…melting!
I get that reaction a lot, actually. Basically, the bottom-line question is this:
Can women like zombies?
Well, kids, here’s my answer.
Of course they can. Zombie stories make us think. They provide a safe way for us to explore our deepest fears and anxieties about modern life. We all fear the loss of our individuality and free will, regardless of sex, color, or creed. We fear global diseases, war, famine, and violence. By telling and sharing these stories, we create a unified experience where we can process these fears together. We’re all afraid of the same things. Some of us express it differently than others. Sometimes, it takes a zombie story. And far from being freaks or pariahs, creators and lovers of zombie culture might actually save the world some day. Because when the dead rise up, we’ll know exactly what to do.
So, if you’re like me, a woman who likes zombie culture, don’t be ashamed. Stand up and be counted. Say it loud and say it proud: I heart zombies, bitches.
Just say it. I know you want to.
Questions like the above bring up other, more disturbing questions. As in, why is it uncool for women to love horror? I distinctly remember the time I was at a business networking event last year (I am an independent business owner as well as a writer), and when another woman asked me what I did, I told her that not only am I a graphic designer by day, but I also write horror. I was stunned because she said, “That’s really scary.” And started to sidle off, like I was carrying the plague.
Remember, I only said, “I write horror.”
I did not say, “Well, I eat people in my spare time.”
See the difference?
It’s reactions like this that have led me to the following conclusion: when you love something, and are building a career around it, you have to find the right people to support you, otherwise, you’ll spend tons of wallowing in fear, worrying about whether or not to put yourself and your work out there, worrying about what people will think. Because not everyone will “get” what you’re trying to do. And that’s OK. Build a community around your love. If you’re a horror writer, find other horror writers to share your work with. It’ll make you, and your work, stronger. I wasted a lot of time early in my writing career with the wrong people, and they held me back.
In another blog post, I plan to address fear, how it affects your work as a writer (the good and the bad), and channeling the worst of it into your writing for amazing results.