In the 75 days leading up to the release of my romantic smartass comedy Driving in Neutral, a love story about claustrophobia, I’ve been running a series on, well, phobias. Over the last 73 days, guests have dropped by to confess to all sorts of fears, from spiders, leeches, aprons, flying, snakes, and the dark — just to name a few. I really should ask Dr Shrinkee where some of these phobias start or what sets them into motion because there are a number of fears I find curious. For example, Euphobia is the fear of hearing good news, good news like it’s only TWO MORE DAYS before Driving in Neutral is released.
It’s hard to believe someone would have a fear of something good or positive, but I can understand Doxophobia, the fear of expressing opinions or of receiving praise. I totally get this one. I want to hide under a rock when I am praised. I don’t know why criticism is easier to take than being told how much you enjoyed reading my books, but I am instantly overwhelmed by a desire to hide behind my tiny little mom’s skirts whenever the praise happens. Embarrassed. I feel embarrassed. I figure this stems from being something on an introvert. However….
I’m a writer, you think I’d WANT the praise. I suppose I do, but I’m more comfortable with kudos when it occurs behind the veil of a written format. By written format I mean the good review — or really ANY review, good, bad, or one that contains a vomit GIF (Yes, I am pinging you, Amy Andrews) How does one NOT feel like a total dork when being praised live and in public? Can anyone give me a hint on how to avoid feeling like a red-faced 6 year-old any time I get a ‘your book was great‘ face-to-face?
Would it be different if someone gave me a written note of praise? Of course, it might be that that person who said the very nice thing to me about my book is more comfortable speaking in public rather than writing in public. Scriptophobia is the fear of writing in public. I get lots of writing done in public, especially when the public is a café and I am assisted by a few cups of coffee. I’m guessing Scriptophobia occurs after an incident where one was traumatised whilst writing on a chalkboard/whiteboard in front of a whole classroom full of kids. Yes, they all laughed at you because you misspelled misspelled as missspelled and your third grade horror lives on in your psyche forever.
Since were’ talking about writing, I’ll mention Metrophobia, the fear or hatred of poetry. I assumed at first that this phobia pertained to Vogon poetry, because Vogon poetry is widely accepted to be the third most heinous poetry in the universe (See Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy for the first and second worst poetry in the universe), however, I have a very dear old friend, who, after having to deconstruct Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner for a university assignment, would vehemently disagree. Thompson’s intense negative experience with Coleridge led to an aversion to poetry (again, see Douglas Adams).
There are a few other phobias that I find curious because I wonder about the origin of the phobia. Take Xanthophobia is the fear of the color yellow or the word yellow, and Porphyrophobia, the fear of the color purple. Perhaps the fear of yellow has something to do with the sun while the fear of purple stems from a fear of religion, The Spanish Inquisition (you Monty Python lovers expected that, didn’t you?), and the Pope’s papal purple?
Then there’s Omphalophobia, the fear of belly buttons. I seriously want to know if an omphalophobic individual finds innies scarier than outties. I can understand the foundation of Pupaphobia fear of puppets, which is totally logical because puppets are basically one step below clowns. Amirite?
This brings me to Arachibutyrophobia, the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one’s mouth. I do not nor will I ever have this fear. In fact, every book I have published has a peanut butter scene or reference in it. For Your Eyes Only hinges upon peanut butter. Yes, there is a peanut butter scene in Driving in Neutral, as well as a discussion about peanut butter. And coffee. And pie.
I suspect that many of you may have developed Sophophobia, the fear of learning, after following this phobia series for the last 73 days and gleaning more about phobias than you ever cared to know.
For the next two days you can pre-order Driving in Neutral for the special price of $0.99 from here (US) and here (AU) or grab a copy of For Your Eyes Only for $0.99 from here (use the code RWA14 at the M&B checkout).