For as long as I can remember, writing has been very therapeutic for me, which can be seen clearly with my poetry. My poetry is emotional, raw and honest, and that is what appeals to a lot of people reading it. I always have a lot going on in my head, and pouring some of that onto paper or into a document can help to make sense of some of my world. A lot of my work has elements of myself in it, and it's part of who I am as a writer. Not to say that my work is auto-biographical; I'm a writer, so at lot of what I write about is purely from my imagination. But I do pour a lot of emotion and life experience into a lot of my work; which isn't usually a problem for me. However, as I've stated already this week, for #campnanowrimo I am working on something that I haven't looked at since #nanowrimo 2015. This week has involved mostly reading over what I had written back in 2015, polishing it up, removing anything that I inadvertently duplicated and so on. As previously stated, I have been surprised at the quality of the work for an early draft. But today, as I read through more chapters, it was an incredibly confronting experience. To see such raw emotion in black and white was not something that I was prepared for. Yes, it's my writing, but I hadn't remembered how much emotion I had actually poured onto those pages, and reading through every word brought up a lot of personal, and emotional, issues for me that I haven't finished dealing with. This is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of "This is NOT a Fairy Tale".
*** Content warning - domestic violence - trigger warning.***
Turning the key in the lock, Amy paused, took a deep breath and steeled her nerves. Which version of her husband would great her inside the house? Would she be greeted by her sweet and charming Prince, or would she be greeted by his nastier alter-ego? Amy listened carefully, but she could not hear any sounds coming from the house. That wasn’t necessarily a good sign either. She took another deep breath, steadied her hands, grabbed the knob and gave it a cautious turn. Once Amy was through the door, she looked around for some clue as to whether Eric was home, and what his mood was like. It was better to be prepared, before she came face-to-face with him. Those extra few seconds could sometimes be enough to prepare herself for which version she would be facing. It was exhausting to live this way, but she did not have many other options at this stage.
Whump! Amy screamed as Eric’s fist met with the right side of her face. Her head snapped back with an almighty crack, her legs buckling under the force of the impact, and an indescribable pain seared through her face. “You fucking skank!” Eric spat on her face, grabbing her hair and yanking up hard back on to her feet. Blood was trickling from her nose into her open mouth, and she gasped for air. He pulled her roughly through to the lounge room, and threw her down on the floor. She was in shock. He had never punched her in the face before. Before she had a chance to run with that thought his foot thumped into her ribs, hard. She screamed again. The crack that her ribs made, combined with the immense pain informed her that her ribs were most likely broken. She began to panic. She needed to get out of here until Eric calmed down, or at least distract him.
She tried to roll away from him as his foot swung back again, gathering momentum to kick her again. She pleaded with him, “Eric, no! Please stop it”, but from the murderous look on his face, he was too far gone to hear her. She took as deep a breath as her ribs would allow and screamed for help as loudly as she could; preying, hoping, that the neighbours would hear her screams. But that only enraged him further. His foot made contact with her ribs in the exact spot as before, and she almost passed out with the blinding heat of pain that racked her torso.
Would he kill her? He’d never hurt her this much before; he had hit her before but not like this. This was savage. This was brutal. This was hell. She tried to see her sweet prince but Eric was not to be seen – in his place was a monster, something from a nightmare. An ogre. Who would save her? Who would come to the rescue?
I have never experienced anything quite like this scene that I have described; I have been attacked over the years, in different situations, but not like this. However, I was able to channel some very powerful emotions that I have experienced over a lot of years, from some really screwed up traumatic experiences, and pour it into the scene. Which, for someone with an encyclopedia of issues, is a way of dealing with the mess as much as possible. But, it is also my hope that my words resonate with others; i.e they can see the world from a different perspective, or they can recognise themselves in my characters and realise that they are NOT alone in their experiences.
"This is NOT a Fairy Tale" was a book that kicking around in my head through some really fucking horrible years; I wrote several scenes in my head as I struggled to make sense of what I was living. Emotional and verbal abuse, neglect and isolation. The professionals that should have been listening to me weren't, and I didn't want to burden others, but I often felt as if I was on the verge of insanity. During #nanowrimo 2015 I was finally able to deal a little with the past, and as I opened up emotional scars I poured what I was feeling, what I was reliving, into this manuscript. I had only just been diagnosed with C.P.T.S.D and I wasn't just remembering events; I was reliving them through a series of non-stop flashbacks. So to re-read these chapters today, when I have been having flashbacks for much of this year, it was a shock that I wasn't expecting to deal with. Perhaps it won't have the same impact on others that will be reading this book. I guess only time will tell.