I am a grown up. In public I make eye contact, I square my shoulders, I walk confidently, and I smile. Like every sensible adult I am not afraid. Like every sensible adult I am a liar. I agreed to read Trigger Warning heeding the author’s word to “enter at your own risk” and so I entered. I agreed to be vulnerable. The mask I wear of reasoning woman will need to be removed. This may be why Neil Gaiman concludes the introduction with the lines:
Enjoy the things that never happened. Secure your own mask again after you read these stories, but do not forget to help others.
In the coming stories a reader will have to brave the dark (most assuredly), things and people that abandon our narrators (or refuse to), madness, dreams, fairy tales, even a tentacle!
By all means “secure your mask after reading these stories” because these tales may have the power to effect something inside that isn’t safe without a mask. So when something in the stories and poems pulls you deep into them, connects with fears and imaginings of a small child, please, above all, do not let others see. Those emotions aren’t very sensible dear. After all, there’s no such thing as….
I’d like my mask back.