Monday, October 3, 2011

Spider in the Kitchen

not my kitchen
Picture this... the kids are moving along nicely in the lunch line, happy about the chicken sandwich and corn on the cob when one observant fourth grader points out there's a spider in one of the light fixtures. Now, the spider is the focus of everyone's attention. Which isn't too bad, unless, like me, you're scared spitless of spiders.

A big light fixture--three feet long, two wide--makes a great playground for a spider as long as my finger. Well, I suppose he wasn't playing, but trying to find a way out of the bright space. Back and forth, from one end to the other. He was, however, chasing chills up and down my spine with each pass.

I've grown a lot in my ability to deal with this fear. A few years ago, I wouldn't have been able to remain in the kitchen, continue serving lunch or talk spiders with the kids. Once I was able, though, I did leave the kitchen for awhile. When I returned, the spider was gone. Now, one of my heroes could have come and taken care of the creature, or he found his way out. I don't much care, as long as I can't see him. (Although the thought of him crawling around above me isn't comfortable.)

It was interesting watching him--sort of. You don't see the underside of wolf spiders as a general rule. I was fascinated by the tiny round pads of his feet.

As a writer, this experience made me think. We look for the right character traits for our story people, then give them a flaw to go with that trait. But, how often to we give them a phobia? There's usually a good internal fear for them to deal with on the emotional level, but what about an external fear that causes a visceral reaction? Something that has no apparent reason...

I'm thinking about my characters now, and how I can deepen their relationship with my readers by adding a fear. How about you? On this **100 day challenge** leave a comment about what fear you might give to one of your characters.

As much as I love to add pictures to my blog--there was no way I'd put a spider on here. I'd never be able to come back!