I always want to write in an authentic voice. So to do that, I dig around my subconscious for an experience, sometimes using a pick to break through my protective crust in search of that golden something. And when I strike that gold, it can literally explode inside of me and expose me to a rawness that makes me feel as nauseous as an athlete pushing personal limits.
I dig for emotions, good, bad and indifferent, and can churn up so much up that I’m suddenly re-living sensations that linger and affect my mood for days. Some can open me up and I live in an internal battle of dreams and realities.
It happened when I had to write a funeral scene for a novel I’m working on, and I unearthed sorrow from my father’s funeral of many years ago and my dear aunt’s funeral of last year. Details flowed easily to sweep onto my screen and tears streamed down my cheeks as I wrote.
It happened again when I wrote about a man in psychosis in that same novel. I went back to my brother’s psychotic episode and subsequent battle with mental illness and lived over the events, illness and fear from that time. And when I wrote of a father and child building a cubby (playhouse) in the backyard as a children’s picture book and the dad becoming mentally unwell, I had to prise open my crust again to relive my husband’s psychotic episode and the impact on our young boys. I cried each time I read a particular point in that story and in the end, didn’t know if the emotion was coming from me or the story. At that point, I knew it was time to call in a few favours and ask for some outside feedback.
The wonderful thing about mining my treasures is that I don’t need to dig very deep when it comes to my boys. My experiences and emotions are a rich supply of treasures when it comes to them, treasures that sit on the surface as a field of jewels waiting to be harvested. I smile as I write that!
This week, I was challenged to write about a romance beginning between a man and woman in the novel I’m working on. My editor suggested I write an element of sexual tension in a particular part of the story. I’ve never written anything romantic or sexual before, not that I’m averse to writing that, it’s just that I write mainly for children and don’t write in that way for them.
So I go fossicking into my subconscious lode to re-live those romantic butterfly flutters and feelings of sexual edge. I find my stockpile willingly erupts into my consciousness. It’s raw and real with desires and wants that explode like dynamite and do my head in to affect me for days, where I live in a mixed world of past, present and future again.
It’s wonderful to be able to re-live emotions and experiences, sad and overwhelming too. It can trouble me though when I have to relive certain things and I question why I had to dig so deep in the first place. But without that prospecting, my writing wouldn’t be so evocative and rich.
Thankfully today, the dust from my mixed up past, present and future worlds from yesterday’s writing, is settling. However now, it’s time to get back to my story with sexual zest and I brace myself for more digging into me.
Que sera, sera.