The Scales Of Emotion
It is a perverse truth that when I feel worse, I write better.
Right now, I am doing terrible. I can feel the yoke of loneliness dragging my shoulders down, trying to bury me in the ground beneath my feet with its oppressive weight.
No, nothing awful happened to me. It’s just one of those days. The kind where you want to crawl into a small dark space and shut yourself off from the world.
It is on days like this that I tend to get my best writing done. At least in my current novel. If I’m happy or giddy all day, I’ll feel great, but the characters just won’t jump out of the page for me. Jason and Emily are people living lives that are not particularly happy, and as a result I tend to write both of them better when I share their feelings.
Today I felt full of desire, the drive for intimacy; envy, the perception that I am missing something that someone else possesses; and loneliness, the need to be near to a person, to feel a connection to them.
I would say those emotions sum up the character of Jason pretty well, the horny adolescent who desperately wants to feel loved but doesn’t know how to deal with his passions.
Today, I also felt bitter, wanting to lash out at the world, at someone for hurting me; anxious, wanting to run away from those of whom I am afraid; and detached, feeling strangely isolated from the world.
Those emotions match up with Emily, the tortured soul who lives with her demons everyday, ostracized from her peers and lonely beyond compare.
I pour a lot of myself into my characters. I would think most writers do.
My point is this: you noticed, no doubt, that all those emotions I listed above shared something in common: very few could be construed as positive.
So when I’m feeling happy, when I’m overcome with joy at how great things are going, it puts a dent in my writing. I can’t connect. I can’t feel what my characters feel.
But when I’ve had days like today, where I’ve just been miserable… well, on those days I’m right in their heads, sharing their lives with them, seeing through their eyes as I chronicle their struggles against this strange world I’ve created. It would almost be a euphoric experience, if it wasn’t laced with the baggage of my terrible emotional state.
Thus, the scales of emotion. The balancing act. I have to make sure I don’t spend so much time being depressed and angry, that I don’t let it take a real hold in my life and ruin me. At the same time, I want to finish this novel, a story and characters that I really fell in love with, and to do that I must endure certain turmoils.
Brendon “barely keeping his eyes open” Regier