Letting the Dark Side Out to Play

In the words of the immortal George Carlin, “Sometimes I have Evil Thoughts.”

It’s the Dark Side, and it’s been called that long before George Lucas. Nothing to be ashamed of; we all have one. You think Ghandi, on a bad day, didn’t think about forgetting all that non-violence long enough to kick some colonialist butt? Doubt that and you’re kidding yourself. That’s what we do, day in and out. We kid ourselves that we’re not like that. Those other people (pick a target: Democrats, Republicans, Junior Leaguers, NRA, Liberals, Conservatives, Congress), they’re like that. Not me, boy.

Oh, yes you are. If you’re human, somewhere down deep there’s a part of you that’s exactly like that. Not to worry though. The Dark Side doesn’t necessarily want to be in charge. It’ll be only too glad to take over, mind you, if you let it. You just don’t let it. That is — or should be — non-negotiable. So what does the Dark Side really want? My wife, who I cheerfully concede is much smarter than I am, gave me the answer–The Dark Side wants to be acknowledged.

That’s all it is. She used the example from Disney’s old SLEEPING BEAUTY, and the evil fairy Maleficent (who, by the way, is a personal hero of hers, but that’s another story). Maleficent doesn’t curse the child because Maleficent is evil. She most certainly is evil, but that’s not the reason. She curses the child because the royal couple didn’t do her the courtesy of inviting her to the party. She was insulted and, worse, ignored. The Dark Side will not be ignored. Try it and, just as with Maleficent, it will seek revenge. Like Maleficent, it will manifest itself when you least expect it and when you can least afford it. You will lose sight of it and, like any other small, unseen thing, it will trip you. But it’s easy enough to prevent that. All you have to do, every so often, is let it out to play. Choose the circumstances, set what safeguards you need and, within those boundaries, turn it loose.

Horror writers do that all the time and made it work for them. Me, I have to come at it from another angle. I’m a computer gamer. Not the hardcore variety (like I have time?) but I’ve played off and on since the heydey of the arcade. I also have an interest in computer graphics of all kinds, and video games are the cutting edge of computer graphics in a lot of ways, so that feeds into it as well. I remember fondly a PS2 game called Star Wars: Battlefront. The beauty of that was that it let you fight the battles from a number of perspectives: Rebels, Empire, Republic, Separatists. Say what you will, there’s something therapeutic about playing as an Imperial battledroid and destroying an entire Gungan army. Right. An entire field of Jar Jar Binks, mine for the blasting.

I remember that. That was fun.

Right now my Dark Side is a happy guy.

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One thought on “Letting the Dark Side Out to Play

  1. “Venting” in one’s fiction writing to temporarily let out the dark side of our thoughts can certainly spark up dialogue sections, not to mention action scenes!

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