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Thursday, August 27, 2009
9:00 PM | Posted by Re-posted by Jolly Roger | | Edit Post
I held the barrel of the gun to his temple.
“Tell me where Cortez is hiding.” I demanded.
A bead of sweat trickled down the side of his face and over the pulse point beating out of control in his neck. I wanted to pull the trigger and make the world a better place, but he was the only connection to my mark.
“Go ahead, my days are numbered, I’m going to die either way.”
“Is he still in Mexico?” I asked.
“Last I heard he was heading for the states.” He said.
“He has a shipment leaving in two days why would he be in the states?”
“Trying to flush you out.”
“He can’t shake you, but you’re like smoke, he’s after your woman.”
I increased the pressure on the barrel of the gun and he winced as he stared at me out of the corner of his eye.
“When did he leave?”
I looked through the open window at the darkness settling over the town.
I was 200 miles from a government contact; Cortez would find her, use her as a pawn, and kill her while I watched.
I flipped the safety back on the gun and slipped it in my waistband. I frisked his pockets and found a map.
“A map of the Cortez’s base camp.”
“Where’s it located?”
“30 miles south.”
“How many men are in residence?” I asked.
“What are you doing in town?”
“Waiting for the buyer to arrive, so I can escort him to the compound.”
I slid my arm around the front of his neck and positioned my hand on the other side of his head.
“I think he might be waiting a while for that escort.” I said.
I jerked his head to the side until I heard his neck pop, then I released him, letting him slide to the floor. I stepped over his body and walked into the darkness of the town.
We all experience stress, just like the characters we create. Maybe not at the epic proportions of the character in the snippet of my story, but I’m sure we all have felt as if we were working under the gun from time to time. In my past writing life, I have usually dealt with stress in my personal life by tapping away the frustration on the computer keyboard. I’ve written some of my best scenes after experiencing a stressful day. Emotion, anger, and heartache give me the right frame of mind to slip under my character’s skin. As we’ve often discussed on the ship, writing can be a cheap form of therapy.
My father passed away 9 years ago. As a form of therapy, I chose to express my grief through a pen on paper. I couldn't verbally express the raw pain of emotion clawing at my heart. The verbilizations never seemed sufficient to describe the turmoil in my life. I wrote pages upon pages of words, attempting to extinguish the pain the only way I knew how. I wrote everything I felt, and everything I missed about him. In the end when I finished pouring out my soul, I wrote a letter to him. I told him everything I wanted to say that I didn't find the opportunity to say before I said goodbye. Most of what I said he already knew, but visulizing it on paper made all the difference in the world. I documented my feelings of loss, followed by a celebration of his life. Through my journey I discovered a love for writing that I left behind in an American Literature class. It took the darkest moment of my life to discover something that would become one of the biggest anchors in my life.
In recent months, I have experienced an extreme amount of stress in the workplace. The stress has carried over into my writing life. Before, I dealt with stress through writing, now I’m stressed because the stress is not allowing me to write. My workdays are long and exhausting; they leave me both mentally and physically tired. When I find time to sit in front of the keyboard my brain is mush. I have fleeting ideas for storylines, and thoughts for scenes to add to my current WIP, but they all filter away because I don’t have the advantage of stopping a surgical procedure and writing them in my trusty notebook. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to have a fellow coworker dictate notes for me from the surgical field. I get some weird looks, but I’m sure you understand how important those fleeting thoughts are to a current WIP.
I’m not writing this blog to illicit cyber hugs, because I’m no different from anyone else who has a stressful job environment. I empathize with those who do, but I know I’m not alone. Even if you don’t have a stressful job, most writers experience stress in their personal life. We all have families, friends, pets, households, and deadlines. At any given time, unexpected crap hits the fan. The car breaks down, grandma falls and breaks a hip, the cat gets a hairball, or the air conditioner ceases to function on the hottest day of the summer. Life is good, but it can be a never-ending snag of complications. Have you ever heard the quote “If life gives you lemons make lemonade?” My life is giving me lemons, but I'm too tired to squeeze.
How does stress affect your writing life? Has stress in your writing life ever affected your personal life?