Not everybody does that?

UnknownIt can be a shock to think yourself pretty normal in X behavior and discover, well, maybe not. Or maybe it’s a writer thing. Here’s what happened.

There I am having wine with a good friend who is also a therapist. To specify: I know her only as a friend, although I know she is excellent and highly respected at her therapy work. Anyway, we’re having wine and Therapist Friend asked how I go about visualizing scenes for a novel. I was explaining how the revision process keeps presenting new sensory elements.

Apparently my “how” wasn’t that clear and I had the inspiration to connect the fictional scene-creation process with what I assumed to be typical, even universal behavior, To wit: driving down the road whilst inventing scenes from alternative past or future events in one’s own life. Dramatic, even melodramatic scenes, so vividly imagined, so wrought with emotion, that one ends up crying.

“Crying? About something you imagined? Not a real event. Real tears?”

“Well sure. Sometimes they’re very sad scenes. Or they’re funny and I’m  laughing,” I hasten to add. “Or scared. Depends on the scene of course. But they seem very real.”

“Of course.” Therapist Friend’s face takes on such a pleasant, non-judging, active listening aspect that I become a tad uneasy. “And this is mostly when you’re driving?” she asks mildly.

“Sure. Not in traffic, but you know, highway driving. Is the driving part important?”

“Well . . . maybe.”

And then it hits me. We are talking about a Behavior, and apparently a Behavior that is not universal. Something about the solitude and monotony of highway driving triggers this Behavior. Surely my friend, my good therapist friend does this. I ask her. No she does not. The fact that I do does not indicate a Problem, she adds quickly. It’s just not that . . .universal. Ah.

It is helpful in exercising scene-creating skills, or maybe it’s just a parallel expression of a quirk of the mind. But am I alone? Are there others who do this? . . . I’m hoping. Let me know.

Pamela Schoenewaldt, historical novels of immigration and the search for self in new worlds: WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS, SWIMMING IN THE MOON, and UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY (all HarperCollins).

Posted in Writing

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Workshop on Point of View for the Knoxville Writers Guild, Sat. Feb. 18, 2017, 10am to noon

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Recent Review
“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

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