Earnest Hemingway said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
When I write, I truly write. There’s not only an investment in the characters and storylines. It is pouring heart and soul. It is knocking down the barriers of the everyday, exposing and vulnerable and naked on a blank page.
It is said that if there is no tears in the writer there will be no tears in the reader. From what I know of books like Chip Davis’s Angel’s Song in The Playlist Anthology and Barbara Lieberman’s To Miss The Stars (which comes packaged with tissues, by the way), there is truth in that saying.
Each week I revisit my manuscripts to participate in the local twitter event, 1lineWed, where writers share lines from their work based on a weekly theme. This week’s theme is Chaos and in Society's Foundlings, which was published two years ago, I came across this one line, “There’s a comfort in what you’re accustomed to. Chaos becomes its own sort of peace.” It amazed me how a simple line could still stir those same feelings in me as when I first picked up the pencil to write them.
2015 was a chaotic year, if not for external reasons, then for internal. In the years following the outward became its own sort of chaos. Now, I am in a much better place in both ways.
We have terms we use in my family for PTSD moments. Those little triggers that send you back to moments your body can’t seem to forget no matter how much your mind wants to. Those responses so ingrained in the brain, your breath catches, your heart seizes, the pain from that moment mere months or years ago is just as fresh and present now as it was then. But, revisiting this honest and sometimes brutal text that I created is different.
It’s as bittersweet as the story itself. I’m better. My world is better. The characters will forever remain frozen in that moment, in those conflicts, though. I have moved on and in a way, while there is hope on that final page, it is a final page. It is a scar, that indelible reminder, but it’s the scars that let the light shine through.
A couple days ago was National Popcorn Day. So, of course, what came to mind for some of my readers as well as myself was Society's Foundlings, since the main item of food consumed within the 90 pages is overly buttered, stale, movie theater popcorn. While this is but a simple detail, it got me thinking about what that popcorn represented to each of the characters.
The popcorn is a very minor detail. It is used to illustrate the lack of food, finances, and resources offered to the character. Yet, despite this simple view of food, it has a larger meaning to Sampson, Carver, and Math in particular,
Sampson sees it as a divide between himself and others, such as Nicole Brennerman. He wonders how she could possibly understand comparing past cheap food that created a regular diet (plain spaghetti and minute rice) to the assumption of richer, more expensive foods she grew up eating (lobster). This is not only used as a dividing line, but to illustrate and represent the feeling of being an outsider.
For Carver, it remains solely a representation of things he cannot have. Lack of resources, lack of security, lack of the 'more' he's constantly searching for. It remains a barrier in not only what he can provide for himself, but what he can provide for the people he cares about, seen when he questions what else the three other main characters had to eat that day.
Math views popcorn as the complete opposite. For him, it is belonging and security. He includes it in his descriptions of Sampson and Carver's place, which in and of itself is a sanctuary. It is a sure and constant thing for him in a world that is slowly falling apart around him.
Each of these representations become even deeper when the reader recognizes nobody else would necessarily think of or even know they eat mostly popcorn. It illustrates an internal struggle, and how they view themselves and their situations.
Gathering dust in the depths of my mind, random thoughts dusted off and put out there for the world to see...