The plot is starting to ramp up here, getting to the good/scary/cringey parts where you realize you’ve been running straight toward a wall and it’s not about to move . . .
When I wrote, and now read, these chapters I fluctuated between wishing I were so brave, and wincing because I knew what was coming. As a teacher, I point out “dramatic irony” to my students: when the audience knows something the characters don’t. It creates tension for the audience, but I hadn’t realized how much anxiety it could create for the writer!
A few times I had yelled at the laptop, “Don’t do it! You don’t know what’s coming!”
Then I thought, “Well, if it doesn’t happen, the plot goes nowhere. It HAS to happen. Write it!”
And then I thought, “Maybe it’s time to call a therapist. I’m yelling at my laptop far too often.”
And then I threw in some “reverse dramatic irony” (yeah, it’s a thing because I say it is) where my characters know something the audience doesn’t, so I feel it balances it out. (I never did call a therapist. I rather enjoy my psychosis.)
“Mal noticed it frequently took Administrators some time to realize that taxes—their income—actually came from real, everyday people. As senseless and bothersome as they usually were, the government really did need its citizenry.”
There will come a time when all will be corrected. But before that we’ve got a lot of insanity to wade through first. We’ll make it.
It’ll be ok . . . eventually.
“I can handle anything temporarily. And it’s all temporary.”
Sorry, I kind of neglected to update here, as you can tell.
My favorite lines from all these chapters are one that grow more true every day:
“Remember this moment when you first realized that the government can’t properly take care of people. In fact, that’s never been their responsibility. They’re supposed to keep our borders safe so that we can live as we wish. It’s our responsibility—yours and mine and Zenos’s and everyone else’s—to take care of each other.”
I’m sorry–I sometimes forget to post here that I’ve finished recording.
After I spend up to an hour for each chapter in my closet, sometimes even yelling at my clothes (a few of my pants are showing signs of being traumatized), then up to another hour editing each chapter to erase my mistakes (hopefully I don’t miss any–someday I need to make a bloopers video so you can hear me apologizing to my future editing self for my inability to say the word “bafflingly”), then upload each one to Youtube, I forget that I have one more step: to put them here as well!
This chapter was one of the hardest, yet most important ones I’ve ever written.
Perrin has to decide if he’s going to give up his life or fight for it. He’s stuck in a debate where the rational thing to do is the most irrational. Someone once asked me how I wrote it, and I said, “Easy. I write what I know.” Especially when I was pregnant with my girls, my mind was in a terrifying, dark place for months at a time.
I caught some flak for that blog, too, from some who said I shouldn’t have written it, or shouldn’t express such ideas. I still don’t understand why not. It’s a debate many depressed people are trapped in, and it’s important to know.
Last year I taught at a residential treatment center for teenagers, many of whom had attempted suicide. The “rationality of suicide” was a common feeling, and therapy was geared to helping students discover the irrationality of it, especially suicide’s potential affects on those who are left behind.
That’s where the internal debate gets sticky. Depressed people often feel they are a burden on their loved ones, and if they removed themselves, the burden on their families would be removed.
Their death is a self-sacrifice for those they leave behind, so believes the irrational mind.
However, I personally know that’s not what happens. Survivors don’t move on. My grandfather killed himself when his first and only child–my mother–wasn’t yet a year old. She had no memory of him, but the weight of his untimely death at just age 28 dragged on her for her entire 87 years.
If you don’t choose to stay for yourself, consider staying for those you leave behind. Your death doesn’t fix anything, no matter what the rational-irrational argument in your head believes.
Moving right along to the next book. I love this book, but the first few chapters are painful.
Warning for anyone who has dealt with PTSD. The first few chapters deal a lot with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My mother suffered from PTSD because of what she endured as a teenager during WWII in Germany. She lost her home, most of her family: some kidnapped to Russia and killed there (one a teenage cousin), then others interred in work camps in Poland and starving before they were rescued (another young teenaged cousin). Then she was a refugee and starving when she was 18, and was never able to go home to her family again. Naturally, her mental health suffered for the rest of her life. She didn’t trust therapy and also refused to believe she needed it. Denial and paranoia were her constant companions.
I studied PTSD as an adult, trying to understand some of what she was going through (and what I went through as a child because of her distress).
I was startled to discover this suddenly affecting Perrin, but I shouldn’t have been. Writing these chapters was surprisingly painful, then cathartic, and ultimately healing. I only wish my mom could have experienced this before she passed away.
But I believe God has a way of healing all wounds. Time isn’t a hindrance to Him.