Fear View Mirror: fear and the emerging writer

On Thursday 16 June, 14 artists will share stories of mortification, anxiety and discomfort at  Fear View Mirror. Below you’ll find a preview from 4 of our performers. 

Fear and the Emerging Writer, by Matthew Richter

You’d think fear was almost synonymous with the emerging writer. The title alone conjures images of doe-eyed scribes pressed to the closed doors of writers’ dens willing themselves to come out, their white-knuckled grips stapled to the pages of their precious manuscripts. As emerging writers we feel we have much to fear. The fear of not getting through to our readers. The fear that our words – our only true friends – will come back to bite us if ill chosen or disorderly. Worst of all we fear anonymity, and the sole publication of our embossed names on the tombstones of failure stacked like slush piles in the land of the unpublished.

But perhaps what’s most frightening of all is that these fears of ours, warranted or not, carry within them a dangerous potential to culminate in a need for acceptance. And as a means of being accepted, we as emerging writers run the risk of softening our edge, of imitating our published predecessors, and sullying the originality of our new thoughts and ideas. In light of our fears we fail to be bold, and as a consequence tarnish our potential to shine.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in an essay he wrote regarding the importance of the poet, said, ‘we are not pans and barrows, nor even porters of the fire and torch-bearers, but children of the fire, made of it’. And although its relevance may appear somewhat obtuse, the lesson is this. We’re not the new torchbearers for the fire of writing; we are the fire, made of it, our words emanating from the flames in our bellies burning before the empty page. We should not as emerging writers fear the acceptance of our words by the wider world. If we are true to our selves and our craft, if we are merciless and unflinching in our approach to new thoughts and ideas, if we stare down all the things that scare us into silence, it is the wider world that will come to fear the fire in words of its emerging writers.

Matthew is equally influenced by and skeptical of everything. He says he is unsure where he is headed.

Meditation of Fear (Childhood and its whims), by Sarah Swindale

Fear is a subconscious construct built upon within your mind. The unconscious elements of your mind focus on repetitive occurrences within your daily lives and it is within this repetition fear blossoms. Gradually anxiety builds, causing individuals to develop fears of events and situations that logically do not make sense.

As a child my biggest fear was getting my pony to like me. I would agonize over new and inventive ways to develop a relationship with my horse similar to those of my favorite TV show ‘The Saddle Club’. So much energy and time was wasted on the anxiety that my romanticized mind created, I literally fantasized my way into fear. This fear became so prominent that I was reduced to tears when I was ten years old. My parents had bought me a new horse that would actively walk away from me whenever she saw anyone approaching.

If anything, take from my fears that we all can move on. No longer am I trapped by the crippling fear of an animal not liking me. If I can do it, well maybe we all can be just a little less fearful too.

Sarah Swindale is an aspiring writer from a country origin. She left her hometown Tamworth in 2013 to diversify her skills in writing and further her career. Her passion for writing was established young and was what sparked her to pursue a career in this field. While Sarah is predominately a science fiction and fantasy writer, she also dabbles in creative nonfiction, and strives to push the boundaries of the fiction-writing genre.

Herpetophobia (Fear of Lizards) (Extract Poetry), by Vania Schouten

Slimy and cold
Jumping and crawls
‘No need to fear, no need to fear’ it said
I just need a shelter to live in, it said

Spread away their ladder legs, then joyfully leaning on me
Then the hatred moment in my life has just begun

It comes into my dreams
Scattered away my peaceful dream
Awakening the long gone nightmare

Morning of my high school journey
I, naively put a helmet and waving the goodbye sign to my parents with teary eyes but a really bright smiles
Losing the tranquil to arrive at school as fast as I could

The motorcycle has gone as far as it could
Surrounding the shady morning in the midst of Jakarta’s traffic
The motorcycle stopped out of sudden, then I realised something pop out of the helmet

Slimy and cold
Jumping and crawls
It fell out on the ground, crawling away from me

I was puzzled, trembling and about to explode
My heart bumps out, even faster than a racing car
Should I cry..? Should I scream?

The shadow of the lizard swim in my mind, haunted me as long as I life
Marine iguana, gecko, newt, poison frogs

Thank you for letting me to ride a roller coaster in the morning
With a mourning smiles on my first Monday blues

I appreciated you all, for having me like this
Meeting you guys makes me more miserable.

‘No need to fear, no need to fear’
‘I just need a shelter to live in’

Vania Schouten is in her 3rd year of Creative Writing at RMIT. Her Twitter is @shouten_vania.

Slip Under: An Excerpt, by Lynne Coleman

The hospital gardeners are hooded and masked in white protective gear. Fitted with backpack sprayers they tread the quartz-pebbled walkways, bent to the task, dyeing their work bright blue to mark the doomed plants from the spared.


Sultry November, closer than skin. Cointreau, vodka and lime juice. Generous laughter and unseen currawongs. Swimming pool of turquoise tiles. Flowering gums, bleeding red.

‘Look at him. He’s a water baby,’ my cousin says. ‘A natural.’

My son beams up at me, oblivious to the water sloshing behind the panes of his goggles.


The pills stick in my gullet. They cling to its membranes, dry and bitter, their pale minerals my new regulation. They slow and shackle me, papering over my panic.

Lynne Coleman grew up mainly in Melbourne and is interested in articulating the strangeness of the everyday. She daydreams all the time: on early years in Sydney, on suburban Catholic school life in the 1970s, on the health and justice systems, on disappearances and tragedies, on things that don’t add up, on inexplicable behaviour, on conversations with real and imagined people. She sees fiction and nonfiction at either end of a spectrum, and is always tempted towards incorporating visual aspects into her work.

Fear View Mirror is on 16 June, at 7.30pm, for free at 1000 £ Bend (Gallery).

Fear View Mirror is presented in partnership with RMIT.