Monday, October 19, 2009

Emotion Study #1

"The hate keeps me warm," she said.


She shrugged.

"That's a pretty expensive fuel, isn't it?"

"I have it in abundant supply."

"But think about the pollution," he said. "What it doesn't consume, it destroys."

"I'd be destroyed without it."


"Yeah. Wow."

"But really. Is life so cold that you need something like hate to keep you warm? What would happen if you didn't have the hate?"

"Maybe 'keeping me warm' isn't the best way to put it. It keeps me strong. It pushes away people who completely fail me. It protects me when nothing else will." She smiled. "It'll probably protect me from you, eventually."

"But what if you let it go?" he said.

"I've thought about that. A lot."

"So? What would happen?"

"What if you woke up, and your house was on fire? You only had a minute and half before the flames swept in and burned you alive. What if you woke up with those 90 seconds to live, and you realized that you were paralyzed from the waist down? How would that feel?"

He contemplated. "Total panic. Terror and confusion. Probably utter madness. You would go insane."

"You wouldn't make it out paralyzed, right? You wouldn't make it out without your legs."


"The hate is my legs. It gets me out."

He sat back.

She looked down at her hands. She felt his eyes. He didn't speak.

"But I don't want it anymore," she said. "It only makes it worse." She sighed a shaky sigh. "I wish I knew how to let it go."


SzélsőFa said...

I used* not to rely on negative emotions as fuels.
I still don't think this is a healthy approach - in a spiritual sense.
Yet this phenomenon does exists for many. This is well captured here.

*now with Z this is something I came to experience recently. or rather, there's a mixture of emotions and I am a bit disturbed about my stance.

Shadow said...

hate being paralysed legs... that is such a powerful picture. most outstanding jason!

Mona said...

Indeed, hate would hold to you strongly enough to paralyze you. Such diseases do have their cures though...

not easy, but not impossible either.

Amias (ljm and liquidplastic) said...

My dear Jason, this was a very insightful dialogue, and I found it quite refreshing -- the honesty.

Without hate one would never know love .. without opposites there would be no possibilities --- there are things I hate, but never people ... nothing wrong with hate, because it hides within it .. "heat", but too much of anything will burn one up....

... still this is very thought provoking, and I must meditate some more on it.

DILLIGAF said...

I hate brussel sprouts....but I'm not sure that's entirely relevent here...;-)

Aine said...

Perhaps the fire wouldn't burn her as she fears. But it would take an awful lot of courage and blind faith to find out.

I am often suspicious of anger. I believe it is usually fear in disguise. So, (you know me) I did a quick search this morning, and here is what I found.

True anger is a release of norepinephrine. It can only last for 15 minutes because we are physically unable to continue producing the hormone. And, norepinephrine feels good-- it is a pleasant experience. So, anger is a useful response for survival that feels good, but it can only last 15 minutes, max.

What most people get confused about is that the experience they are calling anger is actually the adrenaline released by fear. Often, both hormones (norepinephrine and adrenaline) are released at the same time. The anger hormone stops after 15 minutes, but fear can go on and on. And it feels unpleasant. It is something that one would want to stop. But fear/adrenaline is cumulative.

Perhaps she's afraid to experience life without the adrenaline. It's her strength because it's all she knows.

(Sorry for the essay...) :P

Stacey J. Warner said...

This was first I thought it was a Jungian exercise of writing from an archetypical POV. For example you write with your voice and then you write from another archetype inside you, they converse...I've done it, it is fascinating...

Great work. very interesting...perhaps if she loses her legs she'll get a pair of strong ones..

Karen said...

The comparison with paralysis is apt, although she says it's her legs; I think hatred is the thing that stops the legs and the heart, as well.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

She wants to let hate go, but she is afraid if she does, she won't be strong and determined anymore - so she keeps on hating. She is hiding behind hate - covering up jealousy or insecurity, perhaps. Hate is a very strong emotion - and she is using it as a crutch. She believes that is she hates someone or something, then she doesn't have to be responsible for it in anyway. I really feel sorry for the character. She is being so honest. I don't know...these are the vibes I get.

Very dramatic piece - artfully rendered. It almost seems like a one act play.

Nevine Sultan said...

I'm always intrigued by the dialogue you create between your characters. Somehow, no matter who they are, their dialogue tells them something about themselves, and about one another. And somehow, the dialogue is operating on a high level - it's almost intellectual. Interesting study, and it says a lot about hate - what I consider to be the most destructive emotion of all!


PixieDust said...

She has to have been running on hate a long time - she's far too comfortable describing it (no longer confused about her need to keep it around her neck), and she actually admitted its dangers to another. She couldn't have verbalized it if hate hadn't been her companion a long time.

Such a sad dialogue... as always, very well captured.


Stephanie said...

Hi Jason-
Thank you for stopping by my blog and for your honest feedback. I really appreciated your candor.
I just went to a conference on couple's counseling and the presenter spoke about those emotional tools we use as barriers to intimacy. This post is a perfect example.
Loved it!

Anonymous said...

Szelsofa, no, it's not a healthy approach. She knows it to. I have hope for her, in the sense that she wants to learn to let it go. As for Z, I trust the storm of emotions will pass.

Shadow, she believes the hate gives her legs strength.

Mona, I believe she'll cure it.

Amias, that is true about passions. The dark must come with the light. Equally strong. Thank you for these thoughts.

Four Dinners, I've never minded brussel sprouts. :)

Aine, I can see the biological underpinnings of this effect. Yes, I do think the chemical response feels good. It blots out the unpleasantness. As you've said though, it's a short-acting drug. You have to keep going back to it. It's a poor cover in the end.

Stacey, I really like your final words. Yes, she'll have stronger ones in the end. Thanks for your kind words about my dialogue.

Karen, in the end, I think you're right.

Kaye, a one-act play. I like that. :) He's a good confessor, I think. An anchor that will lead her out.

Nevine, I'm grateful that the intensity and depth of these human tangles come alive and are worthy of being read. When I was younger, I don't think I would have ever predicted it, but these kinds of questions and (hopefully) lessons are one important facet of what I want to bring to my novels.

PixieDust, yes, I think she's lived with it very long. But he gets the sense, I think, that its hold is about to break.

Stephanie, thank you for the return visit! And reminding us that these dynamics strain many people and relationships. I look forward to visiting your blog again!

Vesper said...

She sighed a shaky sigh. "I wish I knew how to let it go."

This is a wonderful line... It comes as such a relief after this strong dialogue.

Thank you, Aine, for the very interesting essay. :-)

the walking man said...

*shrug* I will hate what I hate and love what I love and find the legs to carry me through the fire to be made of stronger material than human born emotion.

You sir are a master of dialog, succinct and without flourish beyond the necessary.

Angie Ledbetter said...

POW! If your WIP's anything like this post, you won't have any problem getting an agent and publication. Kudos!

Angie Ledbetter said...

PS Adding you to my Rockin' Blog List.

Anonymous said...

Vesper, the darkness does break in that line. Something else pours in.

Walking Man, thank you for the high praise! I admire your comfort with both emotions.

Angie, thanks so much! You gave me a smile on a hard day. I hope to see you around, both here and over on your blog.

Jean said...

Many people express hate when the underlying emotion is fear.
For her... fear of being hurt again?
The conversation sounds like one between a patient and a therapist.

Meghana Naidu said...

just right, everything about that conversation is so wrong, yet just right.
yet another one that stole the thoughts right out of my head

SarahA said...

I am liking the closing of her curtains, that final thought. It sums the whole.
"I wish I knew how to let it go." Yes, if only we knew how to.