Writing Exercise: Fears

Write about something you fear in very specific detail.

Right now, my fear of ticks and tick-borne illness is borderline irrational. I was thinking about this earlier today, after Dave made me ride my bike through the woods to get the mail. With the summer season upon us, it’s sit in traffic or risk lyme, bableosis (baby-osis? No idea.), tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and even if you escape all those, there is the inevitable case of the heeby jeebies that no one can really avoid. If you brave the forest, even if you don’t find yourself spotted and feverish and foaming at the mouth within days, there is no escaping the phantom tickle that will surely stay with you for the rest of the day. Each freckle that you once knew so well suddenly looks suspiciously like a little black pin-head-sized diseased bloodsucker.

OK, yeah, so I’m a little obsessed.

So today I began considering the tick as an uber villain. I picture them just hanging out at the top of each blade of grass, or at the end of the branch like some desperate hitchhiker, internally discussing their blood-thirsty desires in their best Hungarian accents, focused, FOCUSED! day and night on hopping off said grass blade onto my ankle. They look something like this in my mind:

[OK, getting this pic in took me FOREVER. Now I know how, but clearly I haven’t figured out how to take non-blurry digital pics of something I’ve drawn. I will work on this. In the meantime, I hope I haven’t completely lost my train of thought….]

I realized that, as far as characters go, the tick would be pretty boring if all he does all day is hang out on a grass blade mimicking Dracula, single-mindedly anticipating the passing of my juicy ankles, so in order to make a viable character out of the tick, I’d have to get inside his head. What motivates him? What are his vulnerabilities, his cosmic flaws? What makes the tick, dare I say, tick?

There must be some loneliness, as is inherent in any single-minded mission. There has to be a foxhole mentality. Does he miss his mother? Is there a cute lady tick out there somewhere with a nest full of junior bloodsuckers to whom he is expected to return with a jowl full of plasma? Does he have a picture of this bride tucked snuggly into his tiny helmet?

[OK, that one didn’t take as long, but I’m still unsatisfied with the reproduction. It does the lady-tick’s wedding veil no justice. I really hope I don’t have to start employing my archaic and annoyingly large scanner….]

Maybe the army imagery is too ant-specific. Hm….

How about an insanity spin? He was a humanist tick, born with an odd fascination for observing people, and set against seeking nourishment from them. As an angsty teen, he went on a complete hunger strike, then declared himself a vegetarian. One day, depressed and alone, wasting away to nothing, the emaciated little people-lover was so wild with hunger, he threw himself upon a passing doe, latched on and drank his fill, only to find the blood tainted with the dreaded lyme. The neurological effects caused him to forget the promise he had made to himself and to mankind, and turned him finally back to his destiny as a cold-blooded ankle biter.

It has possibilities. Still, this blog post leaves me entirely unsure of my own mental balance. It’s the lyme. THE LYYYYYME!!!!

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1 Comment »

  1. […] was 32 hits. We’re not talking anything out of control here, and believe me, I will draw some ticks throwing confetti the first time I get 100 hits in one […]

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