Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How Scared Can You Get?

October 7, 2014

I keep reading books where the heroine gets into a dangerous situation, and gets scared, and her heart is pounding and her mouth is dry, and I wonder: Have any of the authors who write about it ever really been scared?

I mean really scared. The kind of scared where your heart isn’t beating fast; it’s beating one stroke at a time. Slam. Slam. And it’s not just your heart beating; after every slam you can actually feel the blood squirt from your heart into the blood vessels. Slam. Squirt. Slam. Squirt.

It’s actually an interesting feeling. Even standing petrified I thought, “Huh. I wouldn’t mind feeling this in a different situation.”

And then your heart tips over, and the blood spills out…Another weird sensation.

And then you realize that you can’t breathe. And the reason you can’t breathe is that your heart is no longer slamming in your chest, it has moved to your throat. Seriously, something the size of your fist is in your throat, and you can’t breathe. I’d heard the expression, “Her heart was in her mouth,” but I never knew it felt like that literally.

But before you choke completely, your heart shrinks and goes back where it belongs, and you can breathe again. And if you’re lucky, the danger goes away.

Anyway, I wonder if the authors who write so glibly about fear have ever really been afraid?

Sorry to give you 2 dark posts in a row. I don’t know what brought this on. Maybe writing about the Holocaust, and thinking of “Schindler’s List,” where someone is hiding from the Nazis who are rounding up everybody in the neighborhood to take them to the camps, and wondering if people in that situation felt like this. And then reading 2 books in a row where the heroine is afraid, and wondering how their reactions would have been described if the authors had ever really been afraid themselves.

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