As we thaw out this week and deal with the aftermath of the snowpocalypse here in Texas, there were some nice moments. No guilt sitting in front of a fire reading. So many books this week. Not so much writing as I would have liked, but the reading I did is going to lay a nice foundation. Over the years, one criticism that critique groups have told me over and over again is that they are reading for an emotional experience and my characters need to let the reader know, somehow, what they are feeling. As someone raised by silent generation parents, my response was, huh? Just because the character has feelings, it doesn’t mean they have to feel them all over my book, right? Well, apparently that is what is expected. But like the old saw, no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader, I apparently need to be able to express my own emotions to write characters that do that.
So on a whim I took a Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN) on-line quiz (Dr. Google recommendation) and out of the 20 or so questions, I said yes to all but one. Hmm, that could be a problem. So I spent a good part of the snow week reading up on CEN and Emotional Agility. And that seems to be my thing. One book has a bunch of exercises so I am kind of exploring it in my morning pages, but to be honest, I am more doing them as my characters than myself, so not sure how helpful that will be for my life, but I feel like it is really helping my writing. I guess I will see how it comes out in the short stories in the next few weeks. Spoiler alert: lots of characters trying to figure out emotions in the next few stories.
Even in college, I fell into a group of people who thought that emotions were like the caboose of a train. (The engine was facts, the coal car was faith and there on the end, pretty useless, were the feelings.) And now, after a week of research, it seems to me the analogy sucks. And that emotions are the internal guidance/alert system. The check engine light, if you will. So I have some unlearning to do here, or at least my characters do. Or, maybe more like an airplane’s cockpit full of dials and lights, because I am feeling a bit complex after a year of pandemic, and a week of snowpocalypse.