I've been obsessed with circuses for a while--possibly my entire life. I suppose you become obsessed with what scares you. At least that's the case with me and the circus. I'm intrigued by the oddities and the stunts and the bizarre performances.
I'm also stubborn and determined not to be pulled in by a charlatan, not to give myself away. I'd rather sneak a glimpse from the back of the tent than admit my curiosity and risk getting shammed.
In my current novel, and the world in which it lives there is a Carnival at the End of the World. I love the idea of a riotous carnival being at the end of everything. They're so vibrant with their bright lights and hypnotic music yet also morbid with their clowns and circus freaks and darkness beyond the lighted tents. There's such a dichotomy between what's real and what's a trick, between the garishly painted or tattooed faces and the people behind them.
Here's my current circus inspiration: The Bros. Grim Side Show. I wonder if it's still around. If so, I will plan a trip immediately.