By Michele Young-Stone, writer, mom, wife
Break on through to the other side—The Doors. When I was a teenager, I dropped LSD (more than once, I’m afraid…). I tried to find that “other side,” to walk through “the doors of perception”, to find some knowledge and insight as yet undiscovered, a new way of seeing the world. Now that I am a responsible parent, a wife and a novelist, writing and writing every day, I realize that here I am: I’ve done it! I’ve broken through. I’ve spent months revising my latest novel, The Saints of Los Vientos, which means I’ve spent years with the novel’s characters who presumably exist only in my mind. But that isn’t the case. I’ve broken through. I see the everyman in the characters I write. I love them. I cry when they cry. I feel their love, their lusts, their joy and their pain. When they squirm, I squirm. When they celebrate, I party down.
I never needed drugs to get to the other side, just time inside my head, realizing that I had something to say, that the mind has many caverns and if you spend enough time there, you’ll discover some amazing new stuff. There’s nothing like writing: the lone person in a room for hours at a time. The lone person never alone, imagining herself to be each character—experiencing that character’s emotions, picturing the scene (what’s hanging from the ceiling?), eating the food (what’s for dinner?) feeling the cold or the heat, digging in the dirt.
Maybe when people use drugs, they’re trying to avoid breaking through to the other side. Maybe it’s sometimes easier to cloud the mind than it is to find out what’s going on in there.
WhAt Do yOu ThInK?