Crying in Metaphorical Beer


So, I’m about 2/3 of the way through OUT, and I’m getting to the good stuff, which is really the bad stuff. Last night I spent about 20 minutes crying, with my poor husband asking, “What’s wrong?” How to explain that I’m crying over something that doesn’t really exist?

I’m at the point in the story where my main character, Chris, is about to embark on a part of his journey that I know will lead him to pain and suffering. He is about to do something that will cause him guilt, but he has little choice (or at least that’s how it feels to him.)  So, why am I crying?

It’s bringing up a lot of memories for me, believe it or not. What’s weird about writing is that even when you don’t think you’re writing about yourself, you are. I have little in common with Chris, my character: he’s a teenager, I’m definitely not; he’s in love with a girl, and I’m definitely not; he is a Perpendicular in a Parallel world (straight versus gay) and he is a deviant outcast, while I’m a straight person in the majority while gay people are ostracized. But he is also the victim of a forced relationship, expected to be married off to a powerful man who will bring his family prestige, and will bring him freedom from financial worry, as well as a path to a prestigious college.

My parents never tried to marry me off to anybody. But I did have an issue with someone when I was younger, an issue of a forced relationship that has dogged me ever since. Just when you think those things are resolved and buried, here they come again, in the form of a stranger in a fiction. The mind is a marvelous and terrifying thing.

When I’m crying for Chris, I’m crying for me. I wish I could’ve been in his position, in some ways, knowing that at midnight, a certain crew of rebels would sweep in and take over and free me from what could be emotional imprisonment. But in real life, that doesn’t often happen. Instead, we endure what we must, come out of it, and use makeup to hide the bruises. (FYI: I know I’m being pretty obtuse here. This had nothing to do with any family members, so you can rest at ease on that score if you happen to be in my family.)

When real emotions and feelings are tied up in fiction, the way sometimes becomes murky and blurred. I am taking a break when I need to in order to stay clear on what is Chris’ story and what is mine. I think my own experience makes the writing stronger, but I also don’t want it to cloud the true path of the story as it reveals itself. I guess I have to be patient, take it one day at a time, and trust that it will all come together for the best, both for Chris Bryant and for me.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Skyler
    Apr 04, 2011 @ 02:24:23

    I know exactly what you mean. The characters I write about have actually changed my point of views on life. Taking characters which started off as just offsets of your own personalities with minor changes, then overtime having them evolve into beings very different from their original intention, and having them write the story, not you, is an amazing thing. They do things I find disgusting and I can’t believe sometimes, that I wrote it, or continue to write their stories turning from people to metaphorical monsters. Placing past experiences of my life and having them face the same difficulties with how I wanted them to, often changes to how they would deal with them and often times I don’t like it, but that’s what happens. I haven’t cried, but I’ve been kind of pissed at characters I have a created, and I godlike hold over, but still don’t change it.

    Reply

  2. lpreble
    Apr 04, 2011 @ 02:31:13

    Hey Skyler…you should check out Scribophile.com I’m blogging over there too every Monday, different blogs from my own. But it’s free, and you can post stuff and get feedback, and give feedback on other peoples’ stuff. You might like it. Or it might annoy you. Or both.

    Reply

  3. improvingwithoutcounting
    Jun 13, 2011 @ 12:11:28

    Thank you for sharing this. It moved me.

    Reply

  4. Ron Goetz
    Dec 14, 2011 @ 12:02:19

    Well Laura, I’m pretty sure that you identify with outcasts and scapegoats a lot, so I doubt that, at your core, you are all that dissimilar from Christ.

    Reply

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