Thursday, September 2, 2010
People wonder how I can write angst so convincingly.
How can I put myself in the place of someone who has experienced loss or sadness or pain, when, although turbulent and not without struggle, my life has had such a happy ending. (And let's face it. Even if a wandering satellite had its orbit disturbed by an epileptic butterfly in Japan and crashed down through my roof as I sleep tonight, pinning me to the bed in a larger-than-cookable amy-cake, my life has still been pretty goddamned good.)
The answer is, that although I've never really considered myself an imaginative person (don't laugh!) I think of the unimaginable every day.
A case in point.
Thing 3, the great, inimitable Zoomboy.
He is THE fey-est child I could possibly produce from my sturdy, peasant body. His arms and legs are thin, and his hands and feet are large and flipper-like, as though to make it easier for him to surf through the opaque airs of the mortal world. He is puckish (look at that pre-tooth-loss smile) and gamine, and the length from his shoulders to the bottom of his razor-boned ass is approximately 2/3 longer than on a regularly proportioned, non-fairy child.
He is one of the few people I've ever met with a wandering brown eye. I know plenty of blue-eyed people who have a non-obedient eye, but that is blue--those people are gazing half skyward as it is. A child with a brown eye that wanders--he's looking toward the nooks and crannies of the earth, expecting his brethren to emerge in shy and skittered ways. He tells jokes better now than his older brother does at seventeen--and he laughs like every picture of puck that I looked up on the web and couldn't manage to upload to the damned blog: with his hands over his mouth and his merry, wandering eyes dancing with an only slightly malicious glitter. He LOVES to find something to laugh at--even me. Especially you.
When he is sick, he scares the hell out of me.
He is the feyest child I could imagine-- so fey that he does not seem altogether from this world. He is THE original 'different drum' boy--and I worry sometimes (often) that this drum is simply going to call to him, and because he is fey, he will follow, and leave only a changeling boy in his place to waste away and wither, and break his mother's heart.
Squishy, on the other hand, does not scare me so much. Sometimes.
She is NOT fey. She is solid and chunky and real. She's got this vital gait--watch her run, really run, and you know that this child is going places. Her whole body is in on the conspiracy. She walks with a clatter and a thump, and when she smiles, she commands your attention. Now. With your eyes and your head, and your clever verbal response, or she will call you to task for not being clever, and that's just embarrassing from a four year old.
When she is sick, she refuses to bow to the pain. She will ask for an ice cream or a trip to the park, even though she's sweating and miserable, and covered in a blanket when it's one-hundred-and four outside, when usually she's kicking them off when it's fifty degrees in the bedroom. She has a PLAN for what will make it all better, and heaven help anyone who deviates from the Mini-Goddess' master-minded perfection. "I'm going to sit in your lap now. No--you can't move." And so she falls asleep, and doesn't move when you get up and dump her sideways into the chair, and is very happy when she wakes up from her nap in her time on her terms.
I can't imagine her being felled or hurt by the Chicken Pox or by a flu. But I CAN imagine her striding where angels fear to tread and being brought down by some sort of master paranormal weapon designed to decimate mankind but that she stumbled upon with her keen mind and terrible focus, and now the hero of the story needs to avenge her...
See... I can't even finish these sentences. it's absolute terror and madness to do so. I won't even try.
What I will do is pull up my newest WIP, and watch Tate sit by Brian's bedside, and wonder how many layers of his heart he has to rip open to make sure no one ever tries to hurt his lover again. I can sit by Cory on Adrian's bench, and wonder how much you would bleed to show your lover your tummy, swollen with babies he will never hold. I can be Jack, stroking Teague's hair from his forehead, and wonder what I'd have to do to keep my damaged lover here on the mortal coil when his heart has needed the healing of the angels his whole life.
So, there you have it. There are some things I can not imagine-- it's madness to try. But there's plenty I can wonder at, because I refuse to imagine.
And that, folks, is how you write angst.