Here’s an excerpt from my memoir Tessa B. Dick: My Life on the Edge of Reality:
I watch horror movies as an adult in order to dispel the fear that haunted my childhood years.
The little orange stucco tract house on the corner of Westwood Boulevard and Ocean Drive in the neighborhood called “Studio Village” in Culver City, California, harbored a menagerie of monsters. I remember the cockroaches that used to swarm out of the storm drain on summer nights, but I was not afraid of them. I remember trying to catch the horned toads, a type of lizard, that lived in our patch of ivy. They scared me just a little.
The creaking and groaning of the pine-paneled walls of my bedroom terrified me. My older and smarter brother Steve later told me that we had an infestation of roof rats, but Mom never told me about the rats because she didn’t want to frighten me. I would have been less afraid if I had known about the rats, instead of being left to imagine all sorts of goblins inside the walls. Mom was always lying or withholding information, with the excuse that she did not want to frighten me. Her real reason was that she did not want to deal with my powerful and easily expressed emotions. She eventually managed to beat them out of me, so now I am stoic. When I was young and curious, she thought nothing of lying to me in order to make her own life easier. For example, I wanted to know how the speakers on our hi-fi worked, so I asked her if they were electrical. Mom said no, to avoid scaring me, even though she knew that they were electrical. I planned some day to study science, so I could learn what kind of magic made those speakers work.
What frightened me the most was that my two brothers and two cousins, all of whom were boys and older than I was, used to turn on the television and start watching a monster movie. They had seen these movies before, but I had not. One by one, they would get bored and leave the room, until I was sitting there all by myself watching Godzilla or the Wasp Woman or some other horror feature. I stayed glued to the chair, unable to leave until I saw the monster die. If I didn’t see the monster die on the television screen, it would remain alive in my mind. The one that frightened me the most was the Mummy. To this day, when I choose a sleeping bag, I never get a mummy bag.
This book is available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.