[Article] How Art and Horror Are Helping Me During the Pandemic

[Article] How Art and Horror Are Helping Me During the Pandemic
VELVET BUZZSAW l Courtesy of Netflix
This situation we’re in is scary and unusual for all of us. So many of us are dealing with things in our own way, finding whatever it is that can right ourselves. Finding ways to keep us grounded when it literally feels at any moment we are going to capsize into a raging sea. In these moments, I think of the most important thing in my life. Art. And I can’t help but reflect on what life was like before and how art and horror are helping me make it through. Perhaps it might be for you too.

During all of this, I started to attempt to get to a place where I was actually “feeling my feelings” – whatever the heck that means – you know with this whole thing that as a collective we are dealing with. Then I remembered where I was emotionally before this occurred. I started to wonder about the fact that as we are all facing something unprecedented together. Where did we all start this journey separately?

Regardless of where we are emotionally, whether it be depression and despair or utter joy and goodness, what’s going on is still going to hit in such a way that hopefully will bring us together. What seems to be one commonality among us, uniting us, is not the obvious. What is giving us rest, peace, and moments of relief from the chaos is art. That means so many different things for so many people, but we can’t deny that art in its many forms is helping us during this time.

We are all going through grief of some sort and shared fear. It’s almost funny to think that through a feeling of grief and fear that we could look towards a medium that facilitates both of those emotions. In my case, it’s horror and finding myself productive in the pursuit of that medium. To give an example, I had a script to read that one of my super talented friends wrote and they wanted my notes. I felt blessed to have something entertaining to occupy my time and aide me in feeling useful and creative. Even better, it happens to be a horror-thriller, and reading it easily allowed me to be engulfed by my already anxious mind. However, reading it made me want something more.

 I got up and turned all the lights out, brought my laptop to my bed, and read like I was watching everything written on the page happening outside my very window. My phone, which had been attached to me all day, was in another room and I was suspended from the usual distractions. When it was finished, I closed my laptop and sat in the dark for a moment. Seconds later my head shook in a “no” motion. I realized, for seconds, I forgot what was happening in the world. Instead, I had been transported.

As soon as I was done, I was jolted back to the reality of our current events. It was the most surreal feeling, yet I also gained an understanding. We don’t have to live here always. We get to escape for brief periods and we get to do that through our imagination, which is greatly fueled by art. The additional gift we are given is in the brief few seconds after whatever art or medium touches our soul can transcend wanting. A quiet mind is priceless. It may just be in those moments we find our bliss. Silence among the storm. It may not even be the film you’re watching or what you are reading, but the memories behind it. 

So my thoughts, especially for horror fans, who revel in the thrill is this. Turn out the lights. Open up a video chat and watch scary movies together. Remember what it feels like to be together because in what is going on now we truly are alone together. There’s magic in these moments of consuming art, and those who believe in magic will always find it. 

Artists long to give you this magic. It’s our way of helping and when you watch, read, play the game, you give us our purpose. Purpose can be a funny thing during this time of isolation, in whatever form we as individuals are encountering. What can we do to make a difference and what does that even mean? Those are questions to ponder. In the lightness of this writing, I’d say let it spark some light within yourselves, and may it inspire you to spark it within others. Perhaps, even, with the help of the little darkness that can be found in horror.

Kali Cook

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