A mentor once told me to go about in my world and consider the people I interact with—loved ones, strangers, whomever—as characters in a book.
Which, as a writer and book editor, I’ve done my whole life.
In high school, every time I’d hear someone say something, I would mentally add “she said, raising her voice,” or, “he said, smoke escaping the side of his mouth,” as if I were reading my life unfold on the page.
That’s fun as an observer. But it’s sobering when you’re the one in the midst of conflict.
“I can’t stand it anymore,” she told the dark, cool mountain night. “I want to check out. Delete myself from existence. There’s no point in living.”
I sat next to her but miles away, looking into the blotchy afterimage of the abyss before me. Somewhere there beyond my feet was grass, ground to stand on, but I couldn’t see it. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t do anything. I froze. Between a rock and a hard place. A cliché.
Life as we knew it came to an end.
Not that night. Not even that year.
We writers must be self-actualized enough to understand what our characters are going through even if they are not actualized themselves. (A challenge in memoir!)
She was fighting to save a marriage he never wanted to be in.
The writer must fight for both of them.
#amediting #amwriting #blackandwhitephotography #ashevillenc