Pretty frickin’ excited about this! For many, many months this project has been on the back burner, with ideas floating around in my brain and not really accumulating into anything. It spawned off of the back of The Ugly Bestiary, I believe I even wrote about it in this blog somewhere, but the main idea was to take the core values of the Bestiary and present them to the audience that I missed with the original project; kids. The Bestiary had significant focus on the anatomy and facts surrounding endangered and lesser known animals in an attempt to put them on par with endangered and well represented species. Despite it being a huge success with the people who looked through it, it lacked the informality and narrative that would appeal to a much younger demographic.
That’s how Spiders Aren’t Scary was born!
I always used to hate seeing people squash spiders for just being there, even as a kid. But there was a time that I, too, was afraid of these little furry-leg-beasts. I remember having the same reaction to them as the vast majority of the people I know; panic, maybe scream, run and get someone else to save me from the terrifying 5mm monster. I’d never squash them, but good god I wouldn’t want to be near one.
This all changed one evening when my parents weren’t in (I was about 17 or something…) and a big ol’ house spider appeared scurrying across the floor. I didn’t have a glass or anything to catch it in and I was about to go to bed; I really didn’t want this guy wondering around in my room while I tried to go to sleep. Something clicked in my brain that evening… What’s the worst this spider can do? Maybe I’ll be able to feel it’s teeny legs on my hand if I pick it up? That’s not going to damage me or harm me in any way so… maybe I should just… pick it up.
Having lived with a mother who would scream and shout at a spider and many friends who would do the same, my natural instinct was to follow their lead, so this took quite a bit of courage. But once the little fella calmed down and chilled out on my hand, I fell in love with spiders.
(Beware, the photo coming up next might not be hugely pleasant for arachnophobes.)
This is the photo I took that evening. Goddamn I felt proud of myself.
I let this big fella go in the garden and my phobia was gone forever! It was this ease of overcoming this fear, the knowledge that too many spiders are squashed unnecessarily (they play such an important role in the ecosystem too…) and that handling British spiders really isn’t a huge threat to one’s health (WHOLE other story if I was living in Australia of course…) that lead me to want to communicate this to kids. Too many kids will follow their parents’ irrational fears of spiders, snakes, bats, and other wonderful critters which diminishes any hope of them trying to help these creatures in the future. Not enough people are enthusiastic about the conservation of spiders and frogs and other such beasts, and Spiders Aren’t Scary is just a tiny way to try to help aid this issue!
If this epic tale of spider rescue and overcoming phobias isn’t enough to convince you, here’s some of the illustrations you can find in the 44 page fully illustrated book!
So, if this book seems like something you, a friend, a kid, or a big kid might like then it’s currently available over on Lulu and soon to be listed on Amazon and sold through my own personal shops!