Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What was your childhood monster?

First, a reminder that I'm over at Aubrie Dionne's blog today. We had a fun talk! Please stop by and say hello.

My monster came a little later in my childhood. From a really young age, I've always had a fascination with the supernatural. I was never afraid of ghosts or the dark. I never needed a nightlight. I grew up beside a cemetery and it was my favorite playground. When I was a teenager, I'd sleep with my window wide open - even in the winter - with the hope that a vampire would fly in from the graveyard and bite me!

I had a captain's bed growing up, so there was never room for a monster to hide under it. I never thought about closet monsters until I was ten and picked up Stephen King's Cujo. I've always been mature for my age. This was the first King book I picked up, and he nabbed me within the first few pages.

No, it wasn't the dog that scared me. I actually felt sorry for Cujo. It was the monster in Tad's closet that chilled me to the bone. It wasn't the stereotypical growl and drool I'm-going-to-eat monster. It talked, and it was intelligent. That made it super creepy. To top it off, I was home alone after school when I started to read the book. I was sitting in the living room in the big chair, one of my favorite reading spots. As I read about this monster, the basement door slowly creaked open. Logically, I knew it was probably because I didn't shut it properly when I put in the laundry downstairs. But all I could think about was this monster. A smart and evil beast. Dumb ones I might be able to trick, but this was no ordinary creature. I sat in the chair frozen, unable to move, until my father and brother came home about twenty minutes later.

I couldn't sleep that night. My room was tiny, only six by eight. The foot of my captain's bed was very near the closet. I piled my stuffed animals around me and kept the lamp on all night. I swear I could hear the monster chuckling from behind the closed sliding doors of my closet.

Of course, though the monster was smart, I was a clever kid. The next morning, I removed my closet doors. No closet, no monster. The remedy was as simple as that.

I guess my idea inspired other children in the neighborhood as well. My little brother removed his closet doors that week and so did half a dozen other neighbor kids. Closet doors are good for building forts!

Stephen King remains one of my biggest inspirations.

Don't forget to spread the word about FEARLESS! And Tawa wants to know what was your childhood monster?

37 comments:

  1. Haha, you are so awesome! I bet the closet monsters in your neighbourhood were really unhappy with you for ruining their hiding places LOL!

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  2. That's awesome! You were definitely a smart kid. Intelligence always makes a monster more frightening. Fortunately you were smart enough to outwit even the most intelligent of beasts.

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  3. gosh, I can imagine 10 year old you reading, then the basement door creaking. *shivers* very smartabout removing the doors...lol. I wouldn't have thought of that.

    I started reading Stephen King when I was 11. The first book I picked was Salem's Lot. And my goodness, I loved it! even when I couldn't sleep at night after that,,lol

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  4. That is funny. I can see you and your stuffed toy army. What did your parents say about the missing closet doors?

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  5. I've only ever read a book of short stories by Stephen King, but the Devil character terrified me, it was that well described.

    Now that you've mentioned Stephen King inspired you, I can see his influence in Fearless and the world of monsters you created, especially in the prologue.

    I can also see you're dealing with monster techniques in Abby. I'm so impressed that you removed your closet door to defeat the monster in your room.

    And leaving the window open so vampires could visit you? You were such a cool kid! :D

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  6. Aw, I wish I'd come up with that solution when I was young!

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  7. I wish I would have thought of taking down my closet door! Holy crow would that have saved me so many sleepless nights! What a great idea.

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  8. I used to have some horrible nightmares as a kid. Only a visit to the church stopped them...strangely.

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  9. So clever you are to defeat the monster in that way.

    Stephen King is one of my inspirations too.

    Teresa

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  10. Taking off the closet door is smart. I kept a baseball bat next to my bed in case the skeletons burst through my closet door and attacked.

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  11. Love this blogfest, Christine. :) My monsters were the worst kinds. They had no faces or names. They lived under the beds in our house, and left no real memories, just terrified thoughts.

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  12. This has been such a GREAT blog fest. I think taking the door off the closet is brilliant.

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  13. Hmmm, removing the closet door! A clever solution to your problem, though I dunno if I'd be able to sleep in a room with an unsealed closet. :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

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  14. great idea--for a kid taking the closet doors off but as an adult, taking my closet doors off would be a horror show-:)

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  15. Inspired idea. And why is it that monsters always hide in closets? So cliche. But you certainly showed them!

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  16. I never did make it past those first few pages of Cujo. I guess it's about time I go back and revisit them.

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  17. I'm too tied up to take part in the blog fest properly, but my monster was Worzel Gummidge. British kids of the 70s/80s should recognise the name, but I'm not sure if it went across the Atlantic. Worzel was a scarecrow, who could change heads. It wasn't supposed to be scary - in fact it used to be on at teatime on a Saturday or Sunday. But he gave me nightmares!

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  18. What a great way of facing your fears! I love that you inspired the other kids in your neighborhood as well:)

    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  19. That was a smart way of dealing with monsters!

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  20. My parents would've killed me if I had taken off the closet doors - and that would've been way scarier than any monster that might've been hiding in there!

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  21. Thank you all! In my mind, removing the closet doors was removing the possibility that there was a closet and thus no monster. As for my parents, they really didn't pay much attention to what we were doing. Maybe they thought I was redecorating or something!

    I haven't read Cujo again since I was that young, but I was looking up discussions online last week and there are some theories that the dog didn't really get rabies, but he was possessed by the monster in the closet. The closet monster did promise to kill Tad after all!

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  22. Great idea about the closet doors, and I also smiled when I read about the protective wall of stuffed animals. I used to do that as a young kid when frightened at night, too. ;^)

    I liked "Cujo", but "The Stand" was the King novel that really sealed the deal for me. Loved that book.

    But the creepiest story I read when I was young? Not King. I'd gotten a box of cheap garage-sale paperbacks when I was 11 or 12 and in it was William Peter Blatty's "The Exorcist." Oh man, now THAT freaked me out!!!

    Congratulations on Fearless, and I've really enjoyed reading the entries in this blogfest!

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  23. I was like you in that I was always fascinated with so-called scary things. I used to stay up late by myself and watch horror movies and was never affected. Now and then my mind played tricks on me but I usually reasoned out whatever was scaring me. I could have never taken off my closet doors though. It was a good place to shut the door and hide.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  24. What a great way to deal with the monsters! :)

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  25. Hahahaha I loved your solution. I used to live in a house I still maintain was haunted.

    Couldn't do anything about the ghosts, so I'd turn my back to the creepy spot and sleep like that, because I didn't want to wake up seeing something I didn't want to see.

    Still do that, though. I always sleep away from the place in my room that feels the most threatening. :-D

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  26. Ah, Cujo. Despite being a King fan, I've not read it yet (though I own it, and it is on my bookshelf). I just felt so bad for the poor dog the whole movie that I was afraid it would be worse while reading. I really do need to read it, though.

    There is something amazing in how King can create terrifying monsters, yet make you feel sorry for them, isn't there?

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  27. That's a great story about a closet monster.

    Amityville horor creeped me out that way. I looked up and out the window and saw two glowing eyes. I started screaming, thinking them tail lights had to be Jodi. lol

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  28. Thank you all for stopping by and sharing these stories with me! :)

    Amityville was the first horror movie that I saw. It gave my brother nightmares for weeks, but I was enthralled!

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  29. yay for your fest! read some great stories!

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  30. Thanks for the fest. As for the monster, I always believe our minds will create the most unsettling scary things. Sometimes I think less is more and letting the readers create their own fears.

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  31. Okay - I am officially NOT reading that book! I'm such a wimp, it would probably freak me out NOW! lol. I remember watching "IT" on tv, and I had to go sleep with my brother. He was NOT pleased. :)

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  32. That would have been creepy - the door opening just as you're reading a horror story - but I love how you removed the door to your closet... so smart:)

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  33. Goodness, I've never been able to read a Stephen King novel...I can barely watch the movies. I was afraid of everything when I was a kid...the dark, witches, ghosts, my shadow...the little kid next door...

    You are so brave. :)

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  34. I love Stephen King, keep meaning to start reading all his books as I have only read three or four, which is insane considering how much I loved them. I don't know if you would be interested, but I just started a new authors book club, it would be great to have your book submitted, check out my blog for more information as I just posted about it today.
    Love and hugs
    Joss xxx

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  35. Christine- first, thanks for visiting my site and your comment. Second- I love meeting others who had Stephen King as their inspiration/first scary author etc. He is the reason I read, and my first was It. Let's just say a healthy fear of clowns wasn't far behind. I now need to read Cujo, as it's one of the few books of his I haven't read and I only saw parts of the movie. I'm off to read everyone else's posts. Great blog fest- thanks for doing it!
    A2Z Mommy and What’s In Between

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  36. What a wonderful story, Christine! And I LOVE your logical mind and sense of problem-solving by removing the doors of the closet. So cool that all the other kids did the same, haha! Loved this!

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  37. Love Stephen King!
    I had a closet monster, too. Thanks for hosting this awesome blogfest!

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