I admit I have slight claustrophobic tendencies. It came to light last night. Sitting in the commute from hell (which I don't mind because I only have to do it two days a week), I was singing happily along to Styx's Babe when the radio did that whole neener-neener-neener-I'm-interrupting-this-awesome-song-to-
tell-you-something-you-don't-want-to-hear thing. Mind you, I'm at a dead stop on a six lane highway with miles of brake lights stringing ahead of me. And the newscaster has the audacity to inform me that "there are tornadic conditions to the north with severe thunder and lightening expected for the next eight hours..." Well, gee, thanks for that but I'm stuck in traffic with no bridge in sight, no escape route, no nothing. Then drum roll please I hear sirens. Flock me! I had a brief stupid-moment and attempted to open my door. My car is very protective and automatically locks all doors the minute I turn the key. Of course, it does unlock the door when I turn the car off. But my brain didn't acknowledge that. And the claustrophobia kicked in causing me to really panicked -- for about 30 seconds -- which was long enough to break out into a sweat and make my hands shake.
The sirens stopped (I think they did it just to scare the shit out of me) and traffic began to move. I breathed, found another great 80's song on the radio and began my singing, brake-gas-brake-gas foot dance and continued my drive home. Now you wonder what this all has to do with writing? I will use every iota of emotion I experienced in that brief moment. I have a file called "Emotion" and write myself cryptic remembers. Last night's entry was: Stuck in traffic. Tornado. Panic. It's enough to remind me how I felt. Writers have that inane ability to recall specific moments in their lives with absolute clarity. A few other entries in my Emotions file that evoke very strong memories are: 9/11 - no planes. total silence. heartbreak. and Colony Square - the elevator from Hell (don't even get me started on that experience. You wanna talk fear? Holy Mother of Dog...I was petrified. My heart starts to race just thinking of that morning and it happened twelve years ago!).
I am now off to scare the beejesus out of one of my characters....