One of the many perks of being a writer is that you are forced to do things you would never in a million years want to do. While that sounds bad, it isn’t. I mean it in the best way possible. Let me spin ye a story, traveler.

The scene: Friday of midterms. The air is thick with the scent of stale sadness and coffee. No birds are in the sky, no children play on the streets.

The protagonist: Me, a plucky young ne’er-do-well with a heart of gold, face down on the floor, broken yet alive.

The set up: It all begins when I receive an email alerting me that I am the lucky participant of a VIP pass to the Idaho Horror Film Festival. The marketing department wanted a few of us bloggers to cover the event, free of charge. Now here’s where we hit our dilemma: I hate horror movies. I am easily frightened and cry a lot, why would I ever enjoy horror movies? But, I also love movies and  (more specifically) free movies. So I got up off the floor, put on a dress, grabbed a faithful sidekick (fellow blogger and literal fire Goddess, Haley Ganatos), and off we went for what would turn out to be one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.

The only event that night was a showing of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. But, what made this event even cooler (besides my presence there) was the soundtrack. The movie, in case you live in this century and haven’t seen it, is silent. So CofI alum Sean Dahlman decided to fix that. He’s an extremely talented composer who wrote an entirely original score for the movie, which was performed live during the showing of the movie. But wait! There’s more! He was accompanied by a host a CofI faces, both in the orchestra and in the audience. The movie itself is creepy as all holy hell, but with the addition of the music, it became interactively creepy, which is a whole new level to process. It didn’t help that this is all taking place at Boise’s Egyptian theatre, reportedly one of the most haunted places in all of Idaho. The story goes that a projectionist had a heart attack as he walked up the stairs to the projection booth and now stalks the building, turning off lights and laughing. The perfect setting for a horror film festival.

The next day of the festival was decidedly more lighthearted. Haley and I attended a screening of Hocus Pocus. I am, and always will be, a huge fan of Hocus Pocus. Well, everyone is. They have to be, that movie is gold. I think it’s probably safe to say that my first crush growing up was Max Dennison. So we got up early just so we didn’t miss anything and it was just as awesome as we anticipated, though Max is a lot less hotter than 8 year old me thought. She also thought that Beanie Babies were going to be cool forever, so her opinion doesn’t really matter.

After that, we stuck around for a short film contest and I’ll have you know that I only cried through the majority of it. The films were beautiful, but I just can’t handle double bass playing in the background of anything. It just gets me. If you are unfamiliar with what double bass sounds like, let me enlighten you. Do you know the sound that your brain makes when you look at a math problem? Or the sound your dawning realization makes when you see your mom is handing the phone to you so that you can talk to you 87 year old grandmother? Yeah. That.

In between events, we went to Saturday market and saw like 8 dogs and ate our weight in pizza at Pie Hole, the gastric pride of Boise’s downtown district.

The point of this story, besides to rub it in how much cooler and exciting my life is compared to yours, is to show you the importance of doing the unexpected. Notice that I didn’t say to do things “outside of your comfort  zone.” I said the unexpected. I live for the comfort zone. I highly recommend staying inside your comfort zone. Just explore it a little bit. I would never have voluntarily gone to a horror film festival until this week, when I was presented with the opportunity. I redefined my understanding of my comfort zone . And that, I absolutely recommend doing.

Until next week,



Ashley is a senior Creative Writing major from Payette, Idaho