Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Weird Twist of Fate

Remember how I got the book just right the other day? Well, that copy is in the compost pile now. If anyone reads this blog and is thinking of writing, that's pretty much how it goes. You think you have just the right voice, the setting, the whole gestalt of it comes together, then --

Something happens and you know what you wrote lacks something.

Usually what it lacks is an authentic feel. I didn't know this until about ten days ago when, through some pretty strange circumstances, I ended up talking to kids who self harm in a hospital.

They were all in therapy and really open in the group. I realized that my little field and school and girl in the story were all pretty mild. The Disney version of the self harming crowd, and if you have read my stuff, you know it's far, far away from Disney anything.

I think I was being too tepid. After talking to the kids, this girl looked at me and said, "None of the books get it right." I nodded. I didn't tell them I wrote, but I asked them if they had read any of the books out there and that was her response.

So, home and the next morning up early and the decision to hit delete, compost the pages and start yet again.

I wrote five pages in about twenty minutes. A lot of it was dialog so it went faster than a narrative would. I think I finally got it right, or close.

Once the beginning is right, the rest falls into place -- at least the rest gets easier. But I think this version is a take.


Anonymous said...

hello there...
I am from Croatia and I found your post about cutting...and I was touched...I am 19 years old..and I agree on everything in your post..
it is true...cutting does make you feel better...but it is only temporary and after that you feel even more miserable...

it is true...some kids do it for fun or just because other kids do it...and it is so sad..

I don't know the point of leaving comment but I just wanted to let you know that your post was really something and that I think that people should pay atention to those stuff more...


Mary Witzl said...

I know, or know of, half a dozen girls who cut or self harm. I feel so much at a loss with them: there is so much I would like to do for them, but each one is so individual and cutting satisfies each one in a different way. One of my students wears a bracelet with very sharp spikes on it. She has obvious keloids up and down her beautiful arms and told me she likes to walk by windows so she can imagine jumping out. I don't know where to start. I wonder if I'd been her mom, whether I could have done anything to make her any different.

How cool that you've got an anonymous post from someone in Croatia on this same subject. It's good that you have addressed the issue.

Anne Spollen said...

I just saw these posts -- it IS cool that someone from Croatia commented. Only goes to show that the behavior is universal.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing -

Nora MacFarlane said...

I have a student who is a cutter. She told me her therapist explained that cutting releases endorphins, and that's why it feels good. He also told her to run cold water over her her wrists when she feels like cutting. That also releases endorphins - but she said it's not as satisfying. I never know how to respond to her revelations, so I listen a lot... At least I know she's seeking help.