Sitting in my writing spot at Starbucks, it is time to work through developmental edit suggestions my editor provided on my manuscript. I silently read his suggestion from the hallway scene in chapter two:
“First of all, thank you for sharing this story. It takes a lot of bravery and emotional strength to write about this kind of story, let alone share it. I know it’s difficult to think back on this time, but could the narrator provide a more specific description of how she felt after this? This would help readers who have experienced similar situations to recognize their own experience through the narrator’s story.”
I took a deep breath in through my heart, put my earbuds in my ears, and clicked on Barry Goldstein’s Secret Language of the Heart Ultimate Playlist album. I selected play on the heart-connecting song titled “Relaxation Cosmic Consciousness.”
Then I closed my eyes to take myself back in my mind to age fourteen to the hallway scene where I was groped by three guys at once.
I dug in to feel the myriad of emotions and sensations I felt in my body after they stopped touching me. As if it were happening now, I could feel my cheeks redden from both the anger and stupidity I felt for being tricked by Dan. I followed him into the hallway where he and two of his buddies groped my body. Then I felt total embarrassment for the moment when Tom Fletcher, who I had a secret crush on, forced his fingers inside of me and announced he felt something sticky.
Unbeknown to me, I just got my period.
Back in my writing spot at Starbucks, I added those and other descriptive details of how I felt during that experience into the paragraph. Then I exhaled a big sigh of relief and I paused a brief moment. Next, my eyes scanned a couple of pages of my manuscript and found my editor’s next comment. He said:
“Build off this paragraph by showing how this belief had affected the narrator’s marriage. This is a good place to explain how the narrator’s behavior toward her husband may have contributed to creating space between them. That way, as the narrator is exploring these memories, they are also revealed to the reader.”
Staring at his comment in bold type on my paper, I shifted in my seat as if it would help me get comfortable writing about that topic. I took a deep breath in.
Oh God, I know have to write about this, too, I thought. But, I don’t wanna, I whined to myself.
I felt a slight burn in my shoulders. I’ve learned that is my cue to walk outside to the ocean to further let go for more relief.
To my delight, the sun, still below the horizon, is slowly making her way and starting to brighten the sky. I fix my gaze on a cute birdie that is dancing with the water rolling on and off the sand. He is looking for his breakfast.
Slowly, I crouched down low making sure to not touch my knees or butt on the wet sand. I clicked the camera app on my phone, looked through the lens and zoomed in to see the little birdie. Then I stayed still so he would not fly away.
While focusing my attention in the present moment watching the little birdie, I tapped on the sides of my fingertips. I also took many deep breaths in. Both of those techniques helped me to let go of my past. They also helped my body know that I am safe now.
20 minutes and 142 shots later, I got the one with the sunrise reflecting on the sand. You can see the waves splashing up in the background and the little birdie is in focus.
I felt accomplished. The tension released in my shoulders and I received confirmation of a job well done from the sweet birdie. He paused an extra second by the light reflection so I could snap this shot. My reward for doing my personal work.
I turned with a smile and headed back to Starbucks to take my seat and resume writing.
Even if no one buys a single book, this journey is so worth it, I thought, surprising myself. I am letting go of emotions that have been stuck deep down inside of me. For over 30 years. I feel freer. Thank you, God.
Then I closed my eyes to take myself back in my mind to my twenties when I was married. It was time to feel those feelings to convey them to the reader in descriptive details.
Stay tuned, in the next couple of blogs I will share where I am at with the editing phase as well as info about the book cover design.
Read book update #10 . . . where I share an interview about going from survival mode to freedom.