Ever since my book, The Curse, came out, I have been asked a number of times to explain my reason for writing a novel on the unusual topic of being cursed. I am purposely using the word “unusual” to sum up some of the people’s emotional reactions that included the descriptions of evil, dark, scary, depraved, sinful and wrong. Although I understand the tendency for some to react negatively to the word “curse” due to its forceful impact on society, this forceful impact is, in fact, the reason I addressed the topic in the first place. The belief in curse and superstition is fascinating to me. As one of my characters points it out, even scientists are often not exempt from its culturally ubiquitous influence. Skinny Tyler asks, “Do you know how many scientists find an excuse not to show up on Friday, the 13th, to work because they believe that something terrible might happen? Or, how many of them pause when they see a black cat crossing the road? Or, how many do not like to see an open umbrella inside their laboratory building?” (Mandoki, M. J., The Curse, p. 127). So, are we all this gullible? Do our beliefs stand on such an irrationally born, shaky ground? This is what prompted me to address the issue.
On one end of the spectrum, we may seem gullible, but, on the other end, some of us are truly committed to utter skepticism. This is the reason that I decided to create one of my main characters, Spyder, to be a complete skeptic. He is faced with the dark prediction of being cursed and, as a result, having to die. Being a skeptic, he is challenged by the previously predicted accidents that start happening to him. Through this challenge, I invite my audience to see how much evidence they would need to believe in the curse and how long it would take to believe in it.
Therefore, the unusual topic of being cursed is simply a challenge to see where one stands in terms of the tendency to believe in a force such as the curse. Where would one situate oneself between complete gullibility and utter skepticism? And, how much evidence, effort and time would it take to move one away from a set position on the subject? So, this is the reason for covering the topic of being cursed. It may be dark, scary, evil etc… but, it is also fun in another sense.
M. J. Mandoki