I almost feel as if this should be “Captain’s Log, Day One.”
It’s November 1, a day of Saints in the Catholic Church, the day after Halloween, and the day my Aunt Lois died a number of years ago. She went peacefully, in her home, surrounded by her family. She and Mom’s other sisters gave me a look into their lives growing up in a very poor, working class part of Omaha. The house is no longer there, taken years ago by the Interstate construction in Nebraska. There are a lot of stories, in those conversations I was blessed to have with them.
That said, I use important parts of those stories about people and their strengths and weaknesses, to propel my characters into the places they’ll go in my novel. It helps to have some skin in the game, as they say.
I was reminded of some of the darkness I’ve written about by a comment made by Ian McEwan on Sunday Morning, on CBS. He said he didn’t know where some of the darkness came from that he wrote about. Some of the things I wrote a couple years ago while going through a hard time with a family member were so dark it scared me. I had no idea the depth of my anger at this person. The bottled up resentment. It actually frightened me, and I put it away. That was two years ago, when I made it through NaNoWriMo.
I haven’t read it again, but I have thought of the feelings I had after that. My anger and resentment was lessened considerably. I came to realize I was not a person with an evil heart, because I am a good person, a fair person with a lot of love in my heart. I realized it was a recognition on my part of the evil in the world. And it’s good to be aware of it. And learn how to deal with it.
The writing and release of the feelings I experienced is useful to me right now. In the Intentional Peer Support class I’m taking. Journaling has come up as a method used to help people get things on paper that weighs heavy on their minds. This was a perfect example of what we need to encourage people to do. I intend to use it as an example since I’ve experienced it. Things I had no idea were there, weighing on my mind, have been dumped, dealt with, and dismissed.
I feel if this first attempt of over 50K words were edited and enhanced, it could still be a book. The timeline is fluid, it has flashbacks, but they’re relevant. I’ve noted many books I’ve read since then have had timelines that jumped around. It’s how life happens, isn’t it? You are present somewhere, yet memories come up. Some chapters deal with those memories while something else is happening in the present. I’ve read many books that do that.
Triggers? I have written things about verbal abuse of children. The examples I used triggered some people I asked to Beta read. They had to stop. I didn’t pursue any others, as I was just unsure what to do next. It might be good writing, to trigger something. I felt terrible about that. Another person said if they had read it, they’d throw the book across the room. What good might that do? Are your triggers my responsibility? No. I’m not responsible for them. You are. You need to learn to work through them. You can learn to do that, with Intentional Peer Support.
The other question I have regarding triggers, is it necessary for an author to note trigger warnings? I’d love to hear what professionals may have to say about that. I know there are many, many books about abuse, and I’m not sure they print warnings. I should ask a bookstore owner. I find the topic interesting. Let you know what I find out.
I may write a second blog later tonight for tomorrow. It’ll help me get ahead of the game, have time to devote to the novel, the kids book, and other projects. It’s time. Hope you have a beautiful evening, and a great day tomorrow. See you then!