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The article I'd planned to run for December seems inappropriate in light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut. I'll follow up in a few days with that content and today share some thoughts about our internal process instead.
December stresses a lot of people out. I noticed it right after Thanksgiving, when the overall tenor of people at stores got edgy. I was out with a friend and she remarked on it, too. People were actually driving differently--overly assertive, and frankly, nastily.
The thing about stress is that it's a subjective thing, an internal experience. Most of us aren't accustomed to thinking about stress that way. Someone does something upsetting and we feel our adrenaline surge. Maybe someone says or does something so awful it ruins our whole day.
Or does it? For those of us not in the habit of questioning how much control we have over our emotions (me included) it doesn't feel natural to ask ourselves, "How am I choosing to feel about this?" in the face of the unwanted situation.
But what if we tried? Just as an experiment.
We do usually have options. We may like some less than others, but we still always have the option of walking away, or saying, "I'm not doing this right now," and turning our attention elsewhere.
Even though I get into other people's mindsets to write stories, I can't even begin to inhabit the head of a gunman who shows up in a public place and begins blowing people away. I imagine they must feel entirely powerless. Whatever their internal experience is, it's so subjectively terrible that they're resorting to mass murder. So there's no other option? What if they pack a bag, get on a bus and go somewhere for a fresh start. Or handle their problems by talking them out, or getting therapy, or wailing on a punching bag, or any other of the dozens of solutions we could all imagine?
My point is, there are always choices.
Writing is a series of choices. Authors choose plots, characters and genres. We choose story lengths and style. We choose just the right words to convey our meaning.
Life is like that, too. A long line of choices.
The next time you're stressed out, see if you can remember there are always choices. Instead of choosing to dwell on the current point of frustration, remind yourself of a thing or two in your life that's going well.
From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all a safe, happy and harmonious end to 2012.
In the Dark
A PsyCop Short
Halloween is fun...at least, it's supposed to be. Costumes, candy, trick-or-treat, even jaded Victor Bayne can get behind those sorts of antics. Too bad this year's Halloween is a grownup event. Not only must Vic don a suit and endure a disco-obsessed DJ, he has to mingle with friends of Jacob's he would much rather ignore.
Vic thinks he has the party's host all figured out--but as he so often realizes, once he looks beneath the surface, things are seldom what they seem.
(In the Dark is PsyCop 6.1 - it's a companion piece to Stroke of Midnight, the New Year's short. It contains series spoilers through GhosTV.)
Available now in PDF, Mobi and ePub at JCP Books.
At B&N for the Nook
At Amazon for the Kindle
Also check out the flash fiction Jock Straps On Sale.
The following reader won a JCP ebook of their choice just for opening their newsletter! YAY!
(I have contacted them directly and let them know.)
Kapony2 for the November newsletter