Editor's Note: Fear

I used to be afraid of the telephone. Not of the object itself, but of using it. From my early teens through my twenties, making calls to strangers filled me with dread. Before picking up the phone, I would take several deep breaths and recite a series of affirmations: You can do this. They won’t bite. The night I spent phone banking for a friend’s political campaign left me a shaking, sweaty mess. I had made four calls in three hours.

Talking on the phone grew less scary over time. As I neared my thirties, the anxiety faded into dull background noise. I don’t know whether to attribute the change to practice or to having found many other things to worry about: disease, climate change, the erosion of democracy, home maintenance, knee pain, mortality. Aging is as much a progression of fears as of years. As a child I had nightmares about the winged centaur on the cover of the 1976 paperback edition of A Wrinkle in Time. Now I dream about event planning and cancer.

In this issue, we asked writers to explore fears both unfounded and tangible. You’ll find stories about bodily harm, crises of identity, and mass panic. Maybe you’ll find some of your fears aren’t yours alone.


Oregon Humanities Magazine, Fear


1 comments have been posted.

I'm surprised no one has commented on this remarkably succinct and skillfully composed description of our human everyday internal "small mind" activity....that haunting feeling of dread you describe so personally, openly and specifically that is has universal resonance. Thank you, Ben

Dot Fisher-Smith | June 2024 |

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