My dear friend was reading through a draft of a LuLo sequel and she said, and this is totally spoilery, so I’m going to stick it under the cut, (and there’s like a million billion spoilers in here for my writing, so don’t be all pissy about it should you enter and have something ruined)that I should stop trying to kill Talulah and Laszlo. I promised her I would.
When it comes to trauma, you could say I’ve had my share. I was in a mall shooting and I had some unpleasantness in my early dating life.
It rears its head in strange ways. Now, I wouldn’t say I have PTSD. I feel like I’ve managed it and I don’t have flashbacks or nightmares or uncontrollable stress or panic attacks or whatever.
That said, there are still times I’m at the grocery store and I have the, “Ok, now if there’s an active shooter, which way will I go and where is the nearest exit and what will I do with the Entropy Machine?” thought pop up from time to time. She’s always the hardest part to work through. If it’s just me, I am tough. I have been through the motherfucking wringer and I can deal. I will run. I will hide. I will fight. But with the kid…? Anyway, that’s a post for another day.
Anyway, I’ve put my characters through some traumatic shit. And when I really love them, when I really adore the shit out of them, it makes me so sad. Killing people and making the people who love them deal with it. And I keep my little cemetery of my darlings to remember them. Especially because none of these poor souls have been published yet and I am the only one who mourns them. 😂/😭
Helping them cope with their trauma and work through it and understand it and how it affects them is so helpful to me in a roundabout way. I get so much out by writing. I can test drive things and see how they work and I can work through whatever. I guess it’s like journaling (which I am total shit at doing, incidentally).
In any case, I’m not doing terrible things to my characters just for the sake of doing them. It’s moving the story forward. In the case of Arthur Fitzhugh up there, it was what drove Aoife to try and kill Grendel and to meet Hrafn. Ian Woon, well, the first time I killed him it was an accident and I sobbed. And the second time was also an accident. Again, I cried. Then I decided anytime he showed up, he was gonna die. I cried great gobby tears of sadness when he dies in Cop Drama. But since I knew he was going to die, it was necessary to move things forward in the story. In the case of Aoife and Hrafn up there, it was the second part of my Beowulf story and they had to die in the end. Maybe they weren’t supposed to have babies, but hey, whatever, they did. Gimme a little artistic leeway!
The Entropy Machine has been on an In the Night Kitchen kick. It’s my favorite to read to the kid, truth to tell. Excellent rhythm, fun to read, weird as fuck. The Hitler bakers are putting a little kid into the oven. He bursts free from the oven and the bakers are all angry about it. I’m not the milk and the milk’s not me! Anyway. “In an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, Sendak said that his depiction of the cooks in In the Night Kitchen (with their Hitler-esque mustaches) and the fact that they tried to cook the boy in their ovens were references to the Holocaust, a subject high in his thoughts especially due to his Jewish heritage.” from Wikipedia. Like, oh my god. Try to tell me that book is not dealing with trauma at some level! But there are all kinds of lovely things in a lot of kid books, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I think trauma is such a universal human experience that it needs to be visited. It needs to be explored. Not just for the sake of something interesting to read or write, but to see that we can overcome it. We can learn to live with wounds. Those wounds eventually become scars. We live with it and around it. It never goes away. It becomes a part of you and guides you. We need to know that our lives don’t end with the trauma. They will be different, yes, and it can be hard and awful and scary, but life goes on.
Heh, you can tell I grew up in the 90’s because this song just popped into my head.
Oh man. This song is totally chopping onions and blowing dust in my eyes. So here’s a palate cleanser:
So, how should trauma be used?