Diaries

I love the concept of keeping a diary. I don’t love the reality.

My mom kept a diary in her later years, during the time when she was suffering from the effects of menopause, a stressful life, and a difficult past. She’d been given antidepressants and other medications which, I think, contributed to her deep unhappiness. The result of that was when she passed away, we found that diary. There were so many cruel things written in there. So many lies that were, for her, truths. Or at least how she perceived her world in those moments of medicated depression.

Mom and Lisa

In the emotional moment, I burned that diary. And then, full of horror that some day my child might read my diaries and be hurt by my words, I threw all of mine on that same fire. I’ve had regrets occasionally. I think that my son would have laughed to read all the drama of my young teenage years. And there were the diaries from my travels. All gone now. But for the most part, I don’t regret burning them.

There have been a few times over the years when I’ve tried to start one again, but it never goes anywhere. I keep a journal of canning recipes. One for gardening. One that has writing tips and quotes. All of those have pieces of me in them as commentary, but they’re not a ‘diary’.

Last weekend I hiked with my sister a couple miles into the Alpine Wilderness area. We talked about that diary I burned, and her regret that I burned it. We talked about the diary she keeps. She writes in third person, (‘she sat down’ rather than ‘I sat down’) as if creating a story, and doing a diary in that manner has allowed her to write in ways that give her insight.

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That intrigued me because it felt like writing a story. As if in third person allows a degree of separation between the writer and the words. For a few brief moments, on that path, I thought that maybe I could write a diary in the same way.

Then she gave me a binder that belonged to the sister who passed away in February. In it were affirmations, poems, thoughts, and happy little stickers. Her handwriting was always rounded, almost juvenile, and I could see the pen in her hand. And in her words I could hear her laugh. I am so, so beyond grateful she kept a diary. That we have her voice to rest our hands on and hold to our hearts.

So, will I keep a diary? Doubtful. I’ll just continue with this blog, which, I guess, fulfills the same thing.

 

Swimming

She goes into the river, swimming, where no one sees the flow of tears in the rush of mountain water. She swims with the salmon, returning, and returning yet again.

She seeks pools and eddies and wild current to sweep her away.

And through it all, her tears soak into the river, flowing, slowing, returning.

I go into the trees, tears soaking into forest floor, seeping between roots and returning, rising up through moss and roots and heartwood.

Rising through leaves to air, to clouds, to rain.

Rain to fall like tears into the river.

She goes into the river, swimming, when sun seeps into the depths, when snow falls, when turning leaves twist in currents. And in the water, in all our tears, she sheds her skin, sheds her grief, and for a moment, is borne away.

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Book Trailer Lessons

Sam Nuttmann (THE Sam Nuttmann) is considering doing a book trailer for This Deep Panic. If he reads this post, the parenthesis will make him laugh. But still, I’m having an excited fan moment.

Sam Nuttmann: MoVI Operator

I’ve learned a few things about book trailers in just the couple weeks we’ve been chatting. Initially I asked a friend who does amazing video recordings if she would be interested in taking this project on, without realizing that she doesn’t handle scary things well. I’m grateful she was honest with me because I wouldn’t have wanted the project to be upsetting for her. So then I remembered Sam and his film work and after contacting him, gave him the things that I thought were good visuals for the book. My list consisted of this.

  1. The Index Town Wall, with low clouds trailing down through the trees.
  2. Maybe a bit with the town itself, like a view of the town hall, store, museum.
  3. Whitewater.
  4. A raven or old woman.

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My husband then suggested I ask those friends who had read the book what their ideas for visuals would be. Wow. So different from mine. Their list went like this.

  1. Young people trying to cross a slide area.
  2. An old woman in black robes coming through the trees.
  3. An overturned school bus and young people trying to climb away from it.
  4. A middle-aged woman climbing boulders or sliding behind boulders while others try to stop her and a raven near her.
  5. Panicked shopping.
  6. Collapsed buildings and people staggering away.
  7. Rob McKibben heading for whitewater with his red kayak on his shoulder.
  8. A vague human-like shape with silhouette of antlers moving through shadowed trees, maybe following the high school kids.
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Taken from Lookout Point, partway up the Index Town Wall

One person said that for her, the book read like a movie so she pictured the visuals to be like an action movie trailer.

I learned from these two lists that I pulled out visuals that to me, from the writing standpoint, felt menacing. I realized that because I knew the story so intimately and in all its rough drafts, I assumed those visuals would mean something to others, when in fact, they give no context of story.

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Listening to the readers’ choices made me look at the idea of visuals completely different. Now they seem more complicated and harder to do, but that’s where the expertise of friends who know how to film will make a difference.

Right now we’re in the initial stage of figuring out the ideas of what a trailer would look like. From there I will get a quote, and if it’s something I can afford we’ll move forward on this project. I’m imagining a lot of involvement from locals running around in the woods, which is probably going to be an absolute blast.

I’ll keep you posted.

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In the meantime, I found it interesting how the writer ‘sees’ the story so differently from the ‘reader’. Or at least, how I did. Obviously my list fell far short because I didn’t think about how my list of visuals felt to me, and I didn’t think of actual scenes from the book. Looking at just my list itself, none of the emotions came through at all. No fear, nothing. Looking at the list from readers, I think tension and fear came through much better.

Now I need to find out if any locals have an overturned school bus lying around in their yard that we could use.