If I see a man by the road, I’ll assume that he’s homeless and alone, that he’s on the verge of starvation, that this is one of the last moments he’ll experience before he succumbs.
If I see a couple arguing in the store, I’ll assume that they’re both near the end of their tether, that they’re both frayed and on edge and that they’re both so close to finding a final way of resolving the unending conflict between the two of them.
I see the same things everyone sees, but I jump to radically different conclusions. I always, always, assume the worst. There’s a mugger down that alley. That man is a serial killer. That one a pedophile. That car is driven by a drunk and won’t make it another a block.
It’s a thought process that’s helped me a great deal in writing horror. If I imagine the worst when bound up by real life, imagine what my brain does when I let it got unfettered. There’s a demon on every street corner and the end of the world lurks around every Tuesday. There most definitely is a monster in that closet and here, I’ll describe it to you in detail.
It’s a little less healthy when I imagine that every lump and spot is cancer, that every fight is the end of a relationship and that every message foretells the End.
It is not the healthiest mentality, but occasionally I am reminded that what goes on in my head isn’t actually the reality of the situation. Sometimes there isn’t murder behind every dark alley and blood behind every fight. Sometimes it goes the other way and everything works out for the best. Sometimes, it’s not the end of things.