Have you ever read a book so good that it transports you to a different place? Science fiction will do that - historical fiction, too. Generally, any well-written fiction can sweep me away. This can be a great escape, a kind of therapy. Take me away from this place, you lovely collection of chapters, paragraphs, sentences, words.
If the book's setting happens in the midst of a blizzard, I may look out the window and feel such surprise to see that it's June where I live. Not a snowflake in sight. The author paints a world so different from the one I am in that I close the book and feel like I'm waking from a dream.
This is happening to me as I write this book: each page transports me to another time.
The scenes unfold across a broad spectrum:
joyful, happy memories;
sunshine in the darkness;
the days when he was alive, here, with us;
the day he died;
the thick fog of depression.
To put myself there is to revisit the trauma.
This writing calls for a kind of immersion; as I finish for the day, I swim to the surface. It's dark and cold, down there so deep. I swim toward the sun, trying not to run out of breath before I resurface.
I may not feel the emotional toll while I'm writing: such is the immersion. I'm fully there. I just write it as I see it, recall it, remember it to be. As I close my laptop, I wake from the dream. And I start to feel, feel, feel.
One day, before I learned this need for detox, I finished writing and headed to the grocery store. My emotions caught up with me in the produce section. I left my lemons in the cart. I drove home in a tremored daze.
I must allow myself a wide, gracious emotional margin.
I have to stop writing just before lunchtime so I can be a mom when the boys come home at 4:00.