Interesting Saturday…if copious weeping qualifies under the definition of interesting.

You can’t write about what you don’t feel. At least I can’t. Which means that to write about very emotional situations, you need to find them first. In yourself. Even if they are tough to face. Even if they are tragic. Even if they are impossible.

I conjured a lot of old ghosts on Saturday. So I could write authentically about them. I sought out places of fathomless loss…like what it feels like to come home at Christmastime to discover an empty house–empty because your man-friend of 13 years has moved out in your absence without a word of warning. I hunted down emotional truths, the longings held in secret, told to no one, including myself. I listened to silences and made them cavernous. I revisited an empty loneliness that I haven’t felt in quite some time. I felt these things. And I felt them with everything I had.

That was the day: Emotions primed by music (an especially evocative cuts from the me-created John Adams soundtrack I’ve been using to cue entire scenes.) Wrenching explorations of impossible inner terrain. Bouts of weeping and lamentation. Writing it all down. Chapters ended not on paper but with a quick doctor’s nap to clear a headspace amidst the devastation. Then walking the same path to the same destination all over again.

Was it masochistic? Possibly. Was it cathartic? Probably. Was it productive? Unquestionably. Was it creatively successful? Stay tuned; very few things are beloved of my creative conscience first time out. But was it genuine? No question about it. And beyond that, no other reason is required.

If you’re thinking that this is a tough way to grasp for something that is, after all, totally imaginary–you’re right. Does it make the work better? Dunno. Fortunately for my stretched-thin version of sanity, I feel no necessity to work this way for every emotion or every scene. Not sure I could stand it, if it did.

Method acting. On paper. It’s tough. And it’s fascinating. Maybe next time I’d better write about skipping through fields of flowers.

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