I've been writing almost exclusively horror for the last six months of the pandemic, and I'd like to say it's only because that's where I've felt the most inspiration, but the truth is, the pandemic is just conducive to horror. We're living in unprecedented times and dealing with large-scale isolation and death in a way most of us haven't in living memory. It's frightening. It's monotonous. There's an aura of doom over everything, a calculated risk every time I go outdoors, every time I pass another person on the street, a ping of fear in my chest every time I see someone who still hasn't accepted the necessity of wearing a mask.
The atmosphere is straight out of a horror novel, so it's no coincidence that horror is by and large what I've consumed and written the most of as we all grow to accept that things aren't turning around any time soon. Other plans have fallen by the wayside, the future is uncertain, and nothing is better at portraying an uncertain future than the stakes and suspense of horror.
At times like these, I feel like horror gets me in a way other genres aren't—at least not right now. Sure, others provide the escapism I desperately need from time to time, but when I need to be empathized with, horror is the genre that has my back.
And so, as I turn another corner and write another piece of horror, and another, and another, and send them off with my hopes and dreams and resolve to keep trying until something changes, I realize that horror is one of the most optimistic genres I could be working on right now.
It's frightening. It's bleak and uncertain and drawn out. But like everything else, it eventually comes to an end. Characters are altered, sometimes irrevocably, and sometimes the familiar is permanently erased in favor of something bleaker, but in nearly all cases, despite the doom and gloom, life still persists somewhere and in some form.
This, like everything else, will pass.