Writing Through the Fear

Graphic: Tonya Rice

Abduction pieces in the news rip me apart. Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard, a major bestseller, was about just that. I couldn’t read in when it came out back in 1996, in spite of the fact it was the first book of Oprah’s Book Club. I remember, too, being marveled by a writer’s first novel hitting such a feat and having hope that maybe one day…

However, seeing the book discussed on TV, seeing the author on TV, passing by its ever-present displays in various bookstores (especially in the malls back then) unsettled the shit out of me. I was a single mom. Raising my then four-year old son alone. Just the mere thought of something like that happening paralyzed me.

Lately, one story in that light has been pulling at me in my head begging to be written. “Write hard and clear about what hurts,” said Ernest Hemingway. Burying the Bitter, my short, was a hard write. It was so dark, so raw, and with all that, surprisingly one of the easiest to write.

There are many dark stories in my head that are always scratching to get out, but I


try so hard to ignore them because I can’t entertain the thought of exercising the discomfort long enough to write them.

I may do it.

Hell, I’m feeling claustrophobic already just thinking about it.

Maybe that’s why I need to write it. It may free me and, even better, help someone else.

Have you read Deep End of the Ocean? Your thoughts on it, too? Please share in the comments.

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2 thoughts on “Writing Through the Fear

  1. I never got around to reading Deep End of the Ocean. I’ve never been a fan of dark novels. I’m more open to them now than I was when that book came out. I loved following Oprah’s Book Club and dreamed she’d pick one of my books one day. Oh well! Since I haven’t gotten one published yet, that’s really wishful thinking! I can see how it would be hard to stay in the pit a story that’s in your head long enough to write it, edit it, and see it through to publication. Maybe you will someday, though.


    1. Thanks, Janet! (And, it’s not too late for either one of us!) True, such stories to have around are not exactly a picnic, but it’s like an exorcism to write it out. I’ve been wanting to read Bel Canto for years, but the hostage situation in spite of everything overcome still keeps me away from it. Glancing right at it on my shelf now… Have you read that?


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