Ana and Emma are written in the first person. I wanted their stories to be told in their voice, filtered and exposed in the way in which they view the world around them. Perception is reality and so their stories are not meant to be the ultimate truth, but rather the honest retelling of a life, as it was lived. Inside the River is about two women reclaiming their voice in order to heal and love; third person narration would have diluted their words.
How to write a story in the “I” without it sounding like a reporter’s account of a life…I woke up, I went to the bathroom, I felt sad. Here I can give a shout out to my masterful Renaissance man of an editor, Jacob Miller, http://www.jacobs-studio.org, who taught me the tricks of internal reflection, dialogue, and action to move things along at a pace that is kind to the reader.
I also have to give blog gratitude to my yoga practice. For me, there is a constant discipline on the mat between effort and surrender, between suppression and indulgence, between the discomfort and the release. In order to allow my mind to quiet, I must first be able to align and balance my body and oftentimes I come to the mat with all my emotions stuck in my hips, my pelvis, my jaw. I could stay in the past and dwell on how the tension grew in those places or I could throw my mind forward into the future and heap obsessive fear thoughts onto the tension until, like the sciatic nerve, the pain permeates throughout my body. Or I can choose to accept the hard invitation of staying in the present moment, feeling my sensations as they present themselves and work from there. I have to stay really “I feel” on my mat for the yoga magic to unfold itself. I can’t let external opinions of myself (including my ego) guide my practice. It’s just me and my breath, weaving in and out of poses, transitioning with an intention of grace and compassion.
It’s the same for my book–the constant struggle to portray a life through moments of pain, joy, magic, shame, revelation, and hope without letting it dissolve into the narration of it. So I let Ana and Emma be on their “mats.”