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Emotional Milestones

Like many of you, I wear my heart on my sleeve, unable to disguise my moments of joy or sorrow. I weep my way equally through births, deaths, weddings, graduations, pretty sunsets, rainbows, and Hallmark movies. You name the occasion, I’ve cried during it. And if I’m in a room with you and you are laughing, I share your laughter. If you are crying, I share your tears. 

Each life carries all sorts of milestones infused with overlapping, even conflicting emotions. Somehow, I can’t keep myself from examining–or wallowing in–each passing moment for the emotional content. Typical behavior for most authors, I’m sure; essential for romance authors, in particular. 
 
For instance, I recently returned to my hometown for the funeral of a beloved uncle. On its own, a funeral is fraught with memories and emotion; a revisit of family history, heartache, and trauma. A loss is always hard, but along with the tears of the mourners, there were also joyous reunions with family and friends, reminiscences and reflections of happier days.
 
Last week, my daughter celebrated her wedding anniversary. I clearly remember her wedding day as one of joy and celebration for my entire family. But a few years later, my father passed away on the same date. His passing now casts a shadow over the anniversary, giving some of those glorious wedding memories a bittersweet twist.
 
In my work in progress, the second book in my small town series, my heroine’s father has died, and she returns to her hometown after an absence of many years. That’s a treasure trove of emotional baggage in the first few pages. I went through half a box of tissues as I wrote it. And then, of course, she is reunited with old friends and adversaries from her past, including an old boyfriend who once left her heartbroken. All of this just in time for the town to celebrate the three major year-ending holidays, adding their own emotional weight. My poor eyes will be red and swollen all month! 
 
 
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Jacie Floyd writes contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and emotionally-rich stories about strong women and bold men. A six-time Golden Heart Finalist and two-time Golden Heart winner, she has self-published eight novels  and a novella. Her next book, SUNNYSIDE CHRISTMAS, is scheduled for a fall release. 
 
Follow Jacie on social media and sign up for her newsletter at
www. Jacie floyd.com
 

20 responses to “Emotional Milestones”

  1. Jackie, First I’m so sorry for your loss. (((HUGS))) Second, Congrats on the new release!

    Digging deep into our memories and using those raw emotions really connects with readers, and isn’t that our job?

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    • Jacie Floyd says:

      Thanks, Autumn. No matter the inevitability, death of a family member is the hardest milestone to endure. So many memories, possibly regrets. Nobody gets through life unscathed, do they?

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      I still remember Eloisa James’s speech at RWA a few years ago about how she channels her own real-life traumas and losses and fears into what happens to the characters in her books…and it really does create powerful emotional experiences for readers as well.

      We all have these profoundly human things in common, and I believe very deeply that literature plays an important role in helping us make sense of and process our tumultuous feelings.

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  2. Hope Ramsay says:

    I always feel that if I can make myself cry while I’m writing a scene then I have totally NAILED IT. So congratulations on the tears and tissues and the new series.

    Without question my favorite authors are the ones who make me cry. I love the ones who make me laugh too, but the ones who bring the tears. . . they are always keepers.

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    • Jacie Floyd says:

      Excellent point, Hope. If you can make yourself cry, that means you’ve tapped into honest emotions that a reader will relate to. And after the pain, I always try to bring then back with something to laugh or smile about. You’re really skillful at both.

      Thanks for commenting!m

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  3. jbrayweber says:

    I’m just like you. The right commercial will make me cry. LOL! But, yeah, overlapping and conflicting emotions can be really hard. One of my more challenging memories is the birth of my first daughter. She was born September 12th, 2001. It was the happiest moment in the midst of the darkest hour.

    Like Autumn said, using our memories and raw emotions within our stories can connect with readers.

    Good luck with your WIP, Jacie!

    Jenn!

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    • Jacie Floyd says:

      Oh, my gosh, Jenn! Your daughter’s birth the day after 9/11 Is the perfect example of joy mixed with sorrow. A beacon of hope, too, in the midst of darkness. And a memory that will always stay with you. It’s crazy how emotions mix and mingle and get all tangled up, isn’t it? There were so many touching and heartrending moments from that day.

      Thanks for sharing that with us. I’m tearing up, just thinking about it!

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  4. Darynda Jones says:

    My main goal in life for many years was to make readers laugh and cry at the same time. To me, that is quite an accomplishment. I’ve had several readers tell me they did that very thing, so goal complete, but I still strive for that kind of deep, intense emotion.

    So sorry for your loss, Jacie. Those types of reunions are so bittersweet.

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    • Jacie Floyd says:

      Thank you, Darynda. My uncle had been ill for the last few years, and I moved away from home many years ago. So most of memories of him were from my childhood, but the loss leaves a hole.

      Yes, the best writers can bring a reader to simultaneous tears and laughter. You are definitely a member of that club!

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  5. Elisa Beatty says:

    Oh, Jacie, I’m so sorry for your loss!!

    I’m being slammed by a few too many emotional milestones right now. My uncle (my late mother’s only sibling) and my beloved dad both passed away this summer within three weeks of each other. And my eldest child leaves for college on the other coast in just five days, and I don’t know how we’re going to adjust to life without her daily presence.

    Time and mortality. I’m feeling their power right now.

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  6. Jacie Floyd says:

    The loss of an uncle within a few weeks must have you reeling. I can only imagine how you must feel. You have my sympathy.

    And now to have your daughter going off to college is a serious twanging of the heartstrings. That’s definitely one of the milestones that generates a storm of emotions. It’s hard to handle so much at once and one experience colors the other, doesn’t it? I missed my daughter desperately when she went off to college a long way away, but we got through it, it was necessary, and it was the best thing that ever happened to her. Small consolation for you to think of that now.

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  7. I love books that make me laugh and cry. And to do them well I think we have to expose our souls. Good luck with your wip, Jacie, and thanks for the post.

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    • Jacie Floyd says:

      I agree, Bev. For me, the emotions are what it’s all about. As Authors, we have to understand and identify those emotions to provoke them in our readers.

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  8. It’s rare that a book or movie can bring me to tears, but when it does… Whoo, that’s powerful stuff.

    Wishing you luck as you continue your powerful book, Jacie! Make ’em laugh, make ’em cry. 🙂

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  9. Addison Fox says:

    What a beautiful post, Jacie!!

    I love how our writing gives language and a sort of tangible-ness to our emotions.

    Big hugs, xoxo

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  10. Cynthia Huscroft says:

    I enjoyed this post and have taken a bit of time to think about it. I’ve always known that many writers incorporate slices of real life. I think that ability is intrinsic to many genres. In my first writing endeavor, two of my chars are different facets of myself.

    On another note, I used to try to be so stoic and let very little get to me emotionally. Some years back, I somehow turned a corner…I think it was a Folgers Christmas morning commercial and I could not be with my family that year…it was uphill from there. I still don’t wear my heart on my sleeve all of the time but tear up on oh so many occasions…tears of joy, sadness and many other emotions in between. Writing helps me sort through some of those emotions and not sublimate them but instead embrace them.

    I noted that Jenn mentioned her child’s birthday was the day after 9/11…my sister and brother-in-law were married (intentionally) on 9/11 of 2004. Each time I send them a card, it is with a mixture of happiness for them and the sadness of 2001.

    Thank you for the post and your openness:)

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