Monday, June 5, 2017

Trauma and Writing: the Dark Side of Being an Author

I have three blogs. On one of them, I posted about Hidden Trauma and opened up about a deeply emotional situation that had recently come up.

Oh, you say. That's all well and good, but what's that to do with writing? (You may have a British accent in my head... 😜)

One of the things I try to do with my writing is to describe pain and emotions in a very real and visceral way. I don't just say "her face turned red with anger". I say "rage crawled up her neck and over her ears, narrowing her vision and tightening the muscles in her neck and scalp".

Same emotion, but if you've ever been really pissed, you recognize the physical "symptoms" I've described in the second quote. I want people to be able to see what I write in terms of emotions and not just say "yeah, I've been mad". I want "OMG, that's just how it feels!"

But the thing is, in order to do that, I have to not just feel things, I have to NOTICE what I'm feeling. I have to remember what muscles clench when I'm afraid, what temperature my hands are when I'm scared. I have to remember the full physical sensations of getting the breath knocked out of me. I have to pull back the sharp feeling of a cut.

Because of this, and other reasons, and despite my natural tendencies to hide or suppress my emotions from others, I force myself to be open about what I experience. I push myself to share, in part so others will share similar experiences. I make myself write down the sensations instead of pushing the discomfort away.

I analyze my own traumas... for you, my readers. (Cue guilt-trip music and fade to black... lol)