Ever since I began this writing journey some 30 years ago I’ve sometimes wondered about its psychological effects on the writer, but I’ve been thinking about it more lately during the latest round of rewriting for my novel Redwood Summer. I came to the most difficult part to write, the chapter in which the two main characters have a blow up that ruptures their friendship, and I felt the same despair that mirrored the emotional rawness of their conflict. I was stymied by the sensitivity of the content and the exactness of the language needed to convey the honest feelings of the two characters.
Normally I like to have objectivity for the subjects of my writing, but sometimes I come across material so personally affecting that I have to make an extra effort to achieve the needed detachment. Though based on real people, my fictional characters are nothing more than figments of my imagination, but occasionally they become three dimensional people with tangible desires, fears, motivations, and flaws that need to be respected even though they’re not real. This subliminal irony is at the heart of my writing and once in a while it breaks through into my conscious thinking.
The other day I finally got through chapter 13 but its after effects linger, a testament to the transformational power of fictional writing. I feel changed, and hopefully for the better.
“Someday, everything is gonna sound like a rhapsody, when I paint my masterpiece.” – Bob Dylan
©2023 Robert Kirkendall