I wasn’t surprised to discover fear is a pattern that repeats itself throughout my book. A twin of anger, the series I wrote about last week, fear controlled much of my childhood and teen years.
Although, for the most part, I learned to fear because of the anger of others, fear invaded all aspects of my life. In this rough passage that takes place when I am in first grade, I am almost “paralyzed” with fear of the dog that lived across the street from my house:
The chow wasn’t giving up, and my stomach began to clench as if it were pressed in my father’s metal vise. I sank onto my knees on the dirt drive, small stones digging into my skin, wedging between the lips of the cuts and scrapes I’d gotten riding my bike too fast. Dear God, make the lady call him inside. I bit the inside of my cheek and was soon sucking on iron, as the taste of blood flooded my mouth. Eventually time collapsed on itself, and I ceased recording it in my head. I sat and sat, alert to the barking.
Fear is something I know. As an adult, fear became anxiety, which comes with specific symptoms like tingling limbs. I know what makes me afraid. What makes me anxious is more mysterious.
Have fear or anxiety ever controlled your life? Do you find fear tied to anger or is it unrelated? Or are you a particularly fearless person? What made you so?
In my post A Baker’s Dozen, I listed my book’s series, or repeating patterns. Last week I talked about the motif of Scrap. Today the subject is Anger.
The thread of anger that is sewn through my story is often my father’s anger, but anger tends to spark anger, so I have had plenty of my own.
A famous quote by William Blake about anger goes like this:
I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
What I take from these lines is that if we express our negative emotions, they can’t grow inside of us.
Writing has that same effect. I find that when I write about something difficult or emotional, once I finish the piece I am writing, I am relieved of the burden of the negativity.
When you’re angry, do you find that writing or expressing yourself artistically helps? Or do you confront the person you’re angry with?
No point in photoshopping Tiger’s angry eyes
Last week, in A Baker’s Dozen, I listed my books’ series, or repeating patterns. I plan to take a brief look at one pattern each week. Today is one of my non-emotion patterns: SCRAP, which happens to be the title of my book. The motif of scrap(s), trash, theft, salvaging, and re-use runs through many scenes. Scrap represents destruction and chaos until scraps can be salvaged and re-used.
On the more positive side of trash and scrap, when I was a kid, my father sold teepee burners to dumps and then started his own garbage business. I wrote about the teepee burners here. When he had his own business, he used to find all kinds of usable trash. He brought me boxes of books and costume trunk clothes that had been thrown into dumpsters.
When my grandmother entered the nursing home, she left behind with my parents a Victorian crazy quilt, made of irregular scraps. I think of it as a guiding image for my book. I wrote about it on Anneli’s blog here.
Like most crazy quilts, the scraps are velvet and satin and embroidered with designs. Many of the designs are floral.
My father uses scrap metal to make art:
The metal flowers are my favorites.
I use scraps to make scrapbooks, and I used to make stained glass out of glass shards, but I had to quit when I moved years ago. You have to have a designated work area because the tiny glass fragments get all over and can be dangerous. Now that I have the room to work on my stained glass I no longer have the skill to break the glass.
The project I was in the middle of when I quit stained glass: a Mizrah which is hung on an eastern wall to point in the direction of Jerusalem
Does the image of scrap as I’ve described it above show up in your writing or your daily life?