The macabre. The unexplained. The supernatural. The otherworldly. These are the things I live for. Often put down as unworthy of literary tastes, they become overlooked and are shuffled into “genre” categories. Fantasy, horror, sci-fi. This makes no difference to me and my lifelong love of the dark and the strange. If being “literary” means foregoing genre, then I have no desire to conform.
Now, I’m writing this because I’ve been trying to explain my unabashed obsession with Supernatural. Not to anyone, you understand, but to myself. I devour almost all content. I started buying Supernatural t-shirts instead of band t-shirts (#AKF in particular). I wrote a yet-to-be-submitted tie-in novel, and have begun work on a second. I love living in their world. But why? I ask myself this on a regular basis.
I guess it goes back to when I was thirteen. That’s when I began reading Stephen King. I never understood how a book could scare you. I figured, just like a scary movie, you could just stop reading like you cover your eyes. But oh no. With writing that riveting, you have no choice but to plow forward. Because if you look behind, that slathering monster on your tail is going to catch you up. So you plow forward and try to pretend like the entire expanse of night isn’t behind your back and your room is a safe place. But you know better.
What a rush.
No, back up. It goes further. ““Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark””. Those illustrations. I’ve always been an imaginative person, and those drawings stayed with me well into the night. Was that third grade? Second? First? Should those really be children’s books? I don’t know. What I do know is I’m still afraid of elevators and if anyone says to me, “there’s room for one more”, I still run screaming.
And you know what? It goes back even further. And this is also where it gets all mixed up. Around four years old, my memories are sort-of a jumbled soup. A melange of scary, sci-fi, and kid stuff. This is probably where all my tastes stem from. Crazy how those “formative years” really are formative, huh? Because at that age, I remember dreaming about The Hulk, “Night of the Living Dead”, “Psycho”, and “Poltergeist” (horror movies courtesy of teenage baby sitters). Yes, all at once, by the way.
But I also remember watching Disney movies, reruns of Star Trek TOS, and Bonanza (probably why Firefly appeals to me). I remember seeing “E.T.” in the theatre, younger than Drew was in the movie. And I remember getting hooked on Star Wars. Because, how do you not?
So, we’ve got all these things swimming around in a child’s overactive imagination. Thinking of it now, it makes perfect sense that I love the out-of-the-ordinary. And zombies scare me perfectly to death. I sit on the edge of my seat until The Walking Dead returns each fall and spring, but I’m never ready for the nightmares.
But I kinda am. Being fake-scared is amazing. All the primal emotions and chemicals from being scared, none of the actual life being threatened. It’s a win-win. Add to this a fascination with the paranormal and unexplainable, and you’ve got Supernatural. Plus, not gonna lie, being reasonably hetero. That show has got the prettiest cast in all of TV right now.
Those might not be the most “literary” reasons to love something, but love so rarely comes from our intellect. It comes from our gut. I challenge anyone who claims King doesn’t write some of the most simultaneously beautiful and visceral prose of this generation. Supernatural, in its best moments (of which it has many), punches you in the gut, the heart, the head. If that’s not a perfect storm, I don’t know what is.
So now that I know why I love Supernatural so much, I have to wonder why I get so involved in the lives of fictional characters. Those guys have drama aplenty. But I do believe that’s a conversation for another day.
addendum: thinking over this, I came to an even more in depth explanation today. But, while it is maybe even more accurate, it is also deeply personal. So, I’ll consider that a conversation for another day as well, but probably very far down the road.