Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Weird things happen to people who don’t experience fear in a normal way. One of those things is that they develop a nearly constant ache for some kind of adrenaline rush. When I was sixteen-seventeen, I was obsessed with jumping off cliffs. I made my friends drive to outlandish locations far and wide in upstate New York and dragged them on endless hikes miles into the wilderness to feed my need for freefall. (My parents would not sign a consent for skydiving or bungee jumping, so I had to improvise). Now, a million years later, I am restless and desperate for that sensation again (and again and again).

There is a moment, a split second really, that happens between the safety of the ground and the plunge downward. Maybe other people don’t feel it because they are too filled with fear. But in the blip, my mind gives up, goes completely blank, my emotions are numbed beyond numb as I surrender to fate. As soon as I register that I am falling, reality rushes in to kill that peace, but an echo of it returns deep under the cold water where everything is silent and slow.

As a writer there are moments when I experience this too. There are rare and sublime moments where my ego is so obliterated by a character, a scene, or an interaction that I can let everything else go. In these moments my writing is more than good. I had one of those moments this week and I want to share it here so badly, but then again I don’t. What I really want is to pass it on to the other writers in and should-be-writers in my life, especially Cathy and Jeremy. I want to take them to the edge of the cliff and like Elena heal them of every vestige of fear and self-criticism. I want to show them how to fall, ugly and ungraceful, but most of all uncaring, through the air. I want to pull them down deep into the muck at the bottom of the river where light cannot filter in. I want them to fly.

Postscript: This post comes with a warning. There is a distinct downside to flight. Once you take to the sky, walking and even running seems so ordinary, slow, and pedestrian. The higher you go, the further you fall. Gravity is inevitable and unalterable.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mirrors and Love

My friend and fellow author, Jen Hritz, did the coolest thing last week. She put up a quiz that tells you which character you would be from her novels. If you haven't read her books you need to (not just so you can take the quiz) because you will fall in love. I fell in love with Joel and coincidentally Joel is the character I would be based on Jen's quiz. Here comes the point of my blog today. There is a saying that opposites attract; I say not so. We fall in love with our mirror. It is always about the mirror.

Think about your friends, the ones you love so much that you would go out and rescue in a driving snowstorm in the middle of the night an hour away. The ones you call when you need to cry or talk about an impossible crush that can never really be anything, but who tell you anything is possible (trust me anything is NEVER possible, but it is so nice to hear that it is). These are the people who inform your identity. And in a sense I am in love with those friends (like Jen) because I see something of me in them. It works with those crushes and the ones who become lovers too, but for me (like Joel) we always end up mirroring some dysfunction rather than something positive as with my friends.

In a book I fall in love with the character who is most like me. In my books I don't need a quiz to tell me I'm Sage. That's why she told the first story. Now to extend this idea to the characters in my books I have to be honest about who each character really is. Elena and Sage could not be more different, and Elena's love for Sage is really more of hero worship; she wants to be like Sage, but Sage is not her mirror. Finn and Sage are definitely mirrors though. And many of my readers are rooting for them to be together. That leaves Ethan. Ethan. Ethan. Ethan. My sweet and powerful enigma. I will not give you any spoilers today.

The closer I get to writing in Ethan's voice the more nervous I am. In my mind I am nothing like him, but I love Ethan the most, so if my hypothesis is to prove out, he must be my mirror in some way. I have a feeling that when I figure out how, not only will his voice and story come easily and powerfully, but I will learn something very valuable about myself through the journey.

So go read Jen's books, I Too Have Suffered in the Garden and The Crossing.  Take her quiz and fall in love with your mirror.  http://jenniferhritz.com/