A Physical Manifestation Of Pain
Posted on November 2, 2020
Is it me, or do things hurt worse and cut much deeper as an adult than they did when we were children? I wonder if it has to do with our years of experience. The longer we’re alive, the more change messes with us, and we therefore feel losses so much more than if we only had a short time in which to gain experience. Does that make any sense? The really weird thing is how we deal and cope with it all. Nobody seems to do it the same exact way, though there are similar patterns. Take loss, for instance. I don’t know how other people deal with loss, but after 7 years of dealing with nonstop loss, I finally figured out how I’m dealing with it.
It took me 5 years to fully understand that my writing Falling Awake was my way of coming to terms with the impending death of my father, and the passing of three other people prior to him in a two-year span. They knocked me for a loop. My brain acted like a clogged drain, only letting me deal with a tiny amount at a time, which would have been find had it only been one death. But three, and then a fourth? There was no Drano for my head. And a short, 60 page novella didn’t come close to capturing everything I felt, let alone everything I hadn’t processed yet.
The next year came and went, as did another passing. I wrote Falling Awake II: Revenant. It was a considerably longer book, a longer journey the main character of the story undertook, and turned out to be my first unintentional foray into horror. It spelled out the horror the future would have to figure out how to endure or, if anyone turned out to be fortuitous enough, survive. The character of Andrew knows he’s headed for something quite awful, yet never succumbs to it. He never thinks of giving up. He does accept at one point that his future is heading to its culmination point, yet believes that while his end is set, how he gets there might still count for something more than he’s been led to believe.
He never gives up hope.
And that realization is what made me realize I, too, searched for hope. I’d lost it. I don’t even know when it happened, but I lost it. Another two years came and went, and more losses mounted. A friend of the family, the dog next door, my grandmother, my mother… Still no Liquid Plumber for my brain. I continued to write. I wrote my heart out, and let the story the first two books set out to tell end as organically as I could. There was just so much to find meaning in, to bring forward and connect, and to bring it all together. I’ve never had that much patience, yet this wouldn’t be rushed. The journey needed to be taken as much for me as the characters. After all, they came from me, didn’t they? Did they perhaps represent some part of me, some fragment that demanded to be let into the light?
Falling Awake: Requiem is the longest book I’ve ever written. It’s a freakin’ doorstop. I’d even call it “massive” when taking my other books into consideration. There’s loss. There’s hope. There’s family. There’s love. There’s even a little bit of humor. It’s a journey. It’s the journey I took in my head as an author to lead me to where I am today. My grief…my loss…my hopelessness… I can physically pick those books up, heft them in my hands, and know I’ve taken my first tentative steps through the other side of things. There’s still much to do, and much to explore in this life, and while I may do it on unsteady legs, I am still standing.
I’m also writing. And as long as I can write, I can breathe. As long as I can breathe, I will try to stand.
I’m still here. For better or worse or for whatever it means, I’m still here.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.