Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Mares in the Night Author's Notes: "Massive Blood Loss"
Massive Blood Loss
It's a strange and morbid thing to say, but suicide has followed me around for much of my life. Which is not to say that I've ever had suicidal thoughts--as low as I've felt at times, the thought has never once entered my own head, thankfully. But several of my friends and family suffer from mental illness, and have been plagued by such thoughts at one time or another. A few have even made the attempt. In 2011, one succeeded.
This isn't the only to story to deal with the theme, but it is the only one to deal with it head on, which is why it comes at the very end. My handling of the topic here could be read as disrespectful in some way, but that wasn't the intention. Suicide prevention is a very important topic to me, but I didn't want this to be a simple morality play. I wanted to deal with it through the lens of genre, which so often allows me to be more honest about things that happen in the real world, by mere virtue of its unreal nature. Somehow, it frees me up to write more truthfully than if I were to do straight-up autobiography. The fantasy world/hallucination that the main character encounters upon slashing his wrists draws on many elements: classic Moorcock, medieval psychology, the Four Humors, etc., and the more experimental nature of the story allowed me to play around a little bit with style (side note: while it's fun writing in first-person present-tense, it can get tricky if you're not careful. I thought it fit with the immediacy I was trying to achieve in this story, but who knows).
Of course, all of that is secondary to the entire reason I sat down to write this one in the first place. I suppose it's only human nature to wonder, "What if?", but I could never shake the idea of getting the chance to talk to my friend the moment before he took his own life. I don't know what I would say. It's not like my life is perfect and I have all the answers. But what I eventually arrived at was the best I could come up with, the very last line of this story and the entire collection, and if I could, I'd go back and tell my friend the same:
"This is not the end."
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