Fear and Fascination

Today I share a quote from one of my favorite books, Printz winner The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean. I like this quote because in it the main character, Sym, tries to resist the lure of the Antarctic, something mesmerizing but dangerous. McCaughrean almost makes me want to travel to the Antarctic, even after everything she puts her characters through. Sym says:

I shut my eyes, like closing the blinds in a house, and vow not to open them again.

But the sky is radiant with buttery yellow iceblink, and beneath it heaves a sea that’s a gaudy swill of cobalt blue, inky navy, sage, emerald, and holly green cluttered with snowy bergy bits. Pancake ice, delicate as pierced stone tracery, rises and falls on the swell. Mountains and sculpted icebergs leap up on all sides: killer whales frozen in the very act of breaching. It is fabulously lovely. It demands to be seen.

And curiosity, like warmth, is creeping back into my bloodstream.

This fear-fascination reaction strikes a chord with me. Sym’s enchantment with the unforgiving landscape reminds me of how I feel about intense lightning storms, tornadoes—even regular ocean waves creeping onto the beach at night. SPOOKY! I want to hide just thinking about them. But I can’t resist the pull of their beauty, either.

I *think* I probably would have been scrambling for safety had I worked in downtown Salt Lake City on the day of its only deadly tornado, but part of me wonders if I would’ve been standing alongside the people who became my co-workers a few years later—the ones who told me they couldn’t leave their twenty-fourth-story windows as the funnel cloud touched down a block away.

What are the things that scare and captivate you at the same time?

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1 Comment

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One response to “Fear and Fascination

  1. I love The White Darkness. The way that she goes into Sym’s mind, without her sounding mad, as well as the dual account of surviving the physical and mental anguish which she experiences.
    Thanks for your insights on this book. It’s always great to hear what other people get from books that I’ve read.