The blog of author Harper Alexander

The Sharks Made Me Stop

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Today I got to a scene in Lifebreath that revolves around sharks.

The dreaded ‘s’ word. (My dreaded ‘s’ word, anyway).

And I’m having a lot of trouble going through with it. I think I may have just discovered how scared of sharks I really am.

I’ve always been sort of generally scared of sharks, as any rational person would be (I mean, just look at them; and you would never see them coming… (Unless you had the luxury of seeing that dreaded shark fin approaching, but that would probably be worse than not seeing them coming at all)). But it’s really only been in recent years that I go out in the water and actually start to think about them, and obsess over whether or not they’re down there, and it sometimes gets a little hard to breathe and stay calm.

Especially if you look down, and of course you can’t really see anything, but sometimes you can see shadows of things, and that just about does me in. (And let me tell you, there is no high-tailing it back to shore when you’re out a ways and have to get back through all those layers of different kinds of waves. They tend to have other ideas, like pulling you  back in, or churning you into a pulp, or spewing you every direction except the one you want to go).

But anyway, back to the part about being out there and trying to stay calm. This horrible panicky tightness forms in your chest, and you realize how alone you are out there – except, of course, the whole reason you’re scared is that you think you actually very much might not be.

It’s an inconvenient fear to have when you love everything else about the beach and the water so much. But I never thought it would inconvenience my writing.

I have to write this scene, and it’s not as if anyone gets chomped by sharks, but there are sharks in it, and it’s kind of intense, and it was going to be awesome until I actually sat down to write it, and now I can’t do it. There’s this weird blockade keeping me from feeling okay with immersing myself in the scene.

How ridiculous is that? I’m in complete control here.

Clearly not.

Obviously I’m just going to sit down and write it, at some point (most likely tomorrow), but I may never be the same again. Or at least, I might not go to the beach again this summer. But that was probably going to be the case anyway (unfortunately).

Hopefully I don’t have nightmares. Who knew writing a book could be so traumatic? (Oh wait – I did.).


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