Psyched out

You know what's hard to write about? Death. I can't write convincingly without first finding a connection from my own life. Meaning, I have to literally feel what I'm writing. I don't know, maybe this is a crippling limitation. But it's my art, right? I've gotta find what works for me, and the climax I've written doesn't yet.

The thing is, I've never lost anyone that close to me. I'm grateful for that. I don't want to. But I still have to find some way to feel like I have, some time in my life where maybe I thought I had, and then let my imagination take it from there.

One of those times was recently, when my youngest daughter kept vomiting for no apparent reason. The doctor ordered a CT scan of her brain—just in case. Wait a minute. Just in case what? She has a tumor that's increasing her intracranial pressure?

Faced with that possibility, it was easy to imagine how it would feel to lose her. I was in tears just rolling through possibilities in my mind. (Turns out it was cyclic vomiting syndrome. Relatively harmless. Like hiccups of the digestive tract.)

So that's a start. And there are other scares I've had. Drawing on those, I need to connect with Ash, somehow. The fact that he's not sure who's died makes uncertainty the biggest player. I've certainly experienced that. Uncertainty that burns and climbs to your fingers, stretches, grasps at time itself but only slides and falls.

I have a good imagination, but I can't conjure up feelings from nowhere. I have to psych myself into them—without psyching myself out.


  1. I have to be in the moment, too. I'll even put off scenes because I know I'll be all depressed for a day or two while I'm working on them.
    It feels like I'll be cheating my readers somehow if I'm not connected to what I'm writing.


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