This last week my foot has not been far from my mind (okay, it almost never really is – unless you consider the distance of five feet as far) and as such my writing has been difficult. I sit at the computer, the blood flowing down into my foot where it insistently throbs daring me to forget it. It usually wins. Stubborn ego-centric foot. This means I usually get about a sentence or two done to my satisfaction on my wip before I inevitably walk away from my computer, head to the couch and watch “New Moon”. [Don’t judge me!] Today, however, in my most optimistic state I began to wonder at how I might use this in my writing.
Not so much that I will give one of my characters a broken foot, although if they deserve it I won’t hesitate, but the physicality of it as well as the emotional issues that arise from such trauma that are worthy of analyzing and possibly applying. As artists we know how necessary it is to confront our humanity, the veritable toils and troubles it encompasses, as well as how it can be used to greatest effect in our works. Life without struggle is seldom something worth telling and so the choosing of a struggle becomes paramount. In my case it isn’t so much the foot that now looks to feature in a zombie movie that needs talking about, but the helplessness it has forced me to acknowledge (or not – denial and limitations are both firmly entrenched in my personality) is worthy of exploration.
In the context of my dystopic work in progress this has gotten my mind thinking of what I might need to do in cases of emergency that require me to run. What would I do with my two year old who only sometimes listens to me? Is there anything I could do if a confrontation is forced onto me right now? This feeling of being trapped, a sitting duck if you will, leaves me at the tender mercies of the mighty forces that be on many levels and it’s not comfortable. Truth is that kind of fear can pervade some of the deepest walls of stoicism I have while also forcing me into a realm of faith that such bad things simply won’t happen right now. These two emotions are what drives and sustains my heroine. The world she lives in is prohibitive of the notion of safety as those in power are in complete control over the abusers in society as well as the victims. She remains safe only so long as those who have preferential standing with the bureaucratic hierarchy have no interest in inflicting injury upon her; should they decide to do so she has no other way in life but to accept it and move on. Justice the way we see it does not exist for her. So, trapped is what she is with only her tenuous faith allowing her to sleep.
Admittedly I am looking forward to describing some bruises in the work at some point (heck, my h/h are both in the medical field), but overwhelmingly the hope and optimism that can often times go with necessitated faith are also present in the work. Despite its darkness hope is what will pull the story along to a satisfactory ending – to the triumph of life, freedom and love over the cynical drive of fear and the hopelessness that comes with legalized victimization. A quote that is continuing to inspire me is one from Thomas Jefferson:
Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.