Friday, 13 September 2013

Writing - Recovery

A lot is in print regarding the stress involved around holidaying. The increase in divorce and heart problems etc are linked but there is also the recovery period. 

Then of course there is jet lag. 

I am on the blue line. At the moment I'm pleased to be retired. There is little logic in the timing of the bouts of tiredness, suffice it to say that they happen. I almost fell asleep at the wheel of the car yesterday just driving for 10 minutes! Sat down to have a snooze when I got home and slept for three hours. The timing was odd in that if I reflected back to when I was on the west coast of North America it would have been 6am and I should have been just beginning to wake. Never mind!
What about my hero Patrick Steele? For that matter every other central character adorning the pages of the wide variety of publications involving travelling heroes. How do they cope? Well the answer is that they don't consider such things. Writers don't like to over-complicate their tales but they could benefit from recalling the experiences that have promoted the need for recovery in their leaves. I'm always banging on about writing from experience but it promotes realism.

Have you ever been hurt or injured? What were the sensations you experienced?

No this is not my finger but I did clip off the pad at the end of my 4th finger left hand while pruning roses, with a pair of secateurs. At the time I remember feeling nothing initially and the blood was my main concern. I pressed the pad, which was hanging by a flap of skin, back in place and scooted off to casualty. The most painful process was when the nurse removed the pad to re-position it correctly. It can only have been an hour between the incident and the lifting of the pad but the pain was intense. There was the sensation of temperature and I say that because I thought of heat to begin with but it could equally have been freezer burn. Another sensation was of something needle sharp searing into the back of my finger nail. All this was caused by the fact that my body had begun the healing process which the male nurse warned me about. Afterwards, when steri strips had been applied, the sensations alternated between a dull ache and a perspiration inducing sharpness. 
None of those sensations lasted a great length of time and the minor injury was soon forgotten as the recovery was quite rapid. The important thing is that I have those sensations imprinted on my memory and can use the knowledge in writing about injury to my characters. There is a section in one of the Steele novels where Patrick is fortunate not to be killed when run down by a villain in the story. The description of his reaction to being injured needs to be realistic. You know yourselves what pain can be induced by twisting a joint or tearing a muscle and it takes weeks to recover but then  our superheroes wouldn't deserve that description if they didn't recover somewhat more rapidly!

What has this to do with returning from holiday? Well irrespective of whether you've been away for two weeks to Blackpool or the Bahamas, psychologically you return different from when you left home. In analysing how your mind and body are operating on return, you are absorbing more experiences. Having spent almost three weeks between 8 and 10 hours behind my usual time, I have found the jet lag to be more difficult to adjust to than when I was away for only two weeks about 17 years ago. There is also a feeling that you just have to wait and in there is the fact that you are not in control which can be a scary sensation.
Will the above stop me from travelling? No way!

God Bless