A Writer and Her Armour

Crying in public is not something I like to do. I feel it’s giving other people power over my life as, inevitably, I must explain why I am crying and that, in turn, suggests I need advice. When that unasked for advice is given, I feel as if I am allowing another person to get closer to me than I feel comfortable with. Crying in private alleviates this problem. However, sometimes it is impossible to control emotions. This morning, on the train, was one of those times.

I was reading and editing Mirror Image. The scene was based on a real experience of mine and as tomorrow will be the anniversary of the real event, I guess the glorified scene and what happened in real life merged and affected me. Honestly, I couldn’t stop the tears! It was so embarrassing.

Luckily…I was in the carriage on my own, but we were quickly approaching a station where I knew passengers would enter the carriage and I’d be seen all tear stained, red eyed and pale. And I could only hope that my mascara was on my eye lashes and not spread across my face!

As predicted, other people joined me in the carriage as I sat staring out the window, blinking rapidly, and trying to stop the tears. I took several sips of my tea (I now have a traveller’s mug) and soon the emotions ebbed away, leaving me feeling a bit drained, but otherwise fine.

However, being a glutton for punishment, I wasn’t prepared to stop editing the scene because I still had an hour before I had to shutdown the computer and exit the train. I didn’t want to waste that time wallowing in self pity and wondering what a sight I made. So, being a true champion, I continued reading (and editing) the scene once I had regained my composure. The emotions were still there, but I now had better control of them. Also, the other travellers didn’t seem to realise that the girl in the corner had been a basket case when they settled themselves into their seats for the morning ride to work. To them it was just another day and I was just another person.

Crying in public is something I try to avoid because I don’t want to draw attention to myself. The scene I was reading will be a scene that will always make me cry, as the real life event it was based on was traumatic and will never leave my memory. Mirror Image is a manuscript that has a lot of me in it and if it ever gets published, I will be standing naked in front of a world of strangers. How will I feel about drawing attention to myself then? Honestly, I don’t know, but this story needs to be told and the urge to get it finished is stronger than ever so the occasional public crying session is inevitable.

Thankfully, I’ve finished that scene and have gone onto more sedate scenes…for now. But another scene, later in the manuscript, could well have the same effect on me. In fact, I know it will. Since I already know I’ll be on the same train when I edit the scene, I will try to use today’s embarrassing crying session to armour myself against a repeat of today’s performance. A thick wad of tissues won’t go astray either.

I am a writer. I must do what has to be done to get the manuscript finished and this includes polishing my armour. I didn’t realise this until today.

2 thoughts on “A Writer and Her Armour”

  1. I get embarrassed by things like that too. Men aren’t meant to cry, y’know.

    But this tells me that the scene will probably resonate with readers well if it’s come from a memory like that.


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