When I first began writing Detached, it fulfilled a therapeutic need for me. In fact, weaving this story together through its many worthwhile drafts, which, I believe, strengthened the overall story, helped me cope with my own sense of powerlessness. At that time, I’d just endured the most traumatic chapter of my life. It involved a continual, unescapable circumstance that routinely terrified me in a place where I should’ve enjoyed safety. I doubt the individuals involved knew or even cared about the damaging effects that they stirred. But because of this terrible experience, I felt emotionally alone.
Although I’m quite fortunate to be married to a very loving and patient husband, he couldn’t help me overcome my anguish, by no fault of his own. While he tried his best, suggesting every possible avenue to determine an effective solution, the suffering that gripped me then remained a relentless force. Since I can be pretty obsessive, I’d share this torture with him most every evening, constantly repeating, reliving the same moments with no end in sight. Looking back at that difficult period, I feel grateful to my exceptional spouse for his tolerance. Thankfully, he continued to be understanding as I worked through this misery. It couldn’t have been easy for him either.
Writing about this torment, transforming the distress into a work that might meaningfully connect with readers, had become a mission for me. I felt that after withstanding such agony for so long, I needed to turn the uneasiness into a positive, enriching outcome that would live beyond my own memory. By purging this poison into a coherent structure, molding the contours into a relatable narrative that readers could, hopefully, value, I believed the wretchedness would evolve as a benefit in the end. Then I’d have a completed manuscript to inspire great pride, always outshining that dark period which had instigated its creation.
In the process of writing, though, the solitude, exacerbated by a persistent struggle to find the most compelling way to express this story, always loomed over me as an obstacle. Because writing is, by nature, an act one generally performs alone, isolation’s a reality. But since I began to write this novel with the experience still so fresh, while dealing with traumatic aftereffects that hadn’t yet faded, I still need to surpass the despondency somehow.
To overcome and understand that feeling, I focused on representing this perpetual fright and desolation in Detached, the upcoming murder mystery derived from my struggle. For the most part, that anguished sensibility is channeled through the Wanda Lindstrom character. All three of the women protagonists who progressively relay the plot’s violent homicide are certainly reflections of my outlook, fragmented portrayals of my personal feelings, thoughts, and experiences. But Wanda, as a whole, resembles me more than the other two heroines. She fully epitomizes the silent, slow-moving horror of being trapped within a hostile world, unequipped to secure reliable shelter from the dangers that hover in such close proximity.
The story that unfolds within Detached‘s pages is dramatically different from what I went through in real life. Indeed, it’s a complete exaggeration fashioned from an intricate network of reimagined facets, just as most fiction tends to embody in its final form. Yet Wanda’s hopelessness as she endures feeling emotionally alone exemplifies my distress without very much embellishment. That vulnerability operates, in part, to erase one’s voice, ensuring it cannot be heard. Even worse, this deliberate muffling simply underscores the lack of compassion that emanates from contemporary American culture in general.
The context for Detached mirrors today’s landscape, depicting the ethnic bigotry and scorn for diversity that has intensified over the last few, unfortunate years. This pervasive prejudice only heightens the emotional isolation that haunts Wanda as she witnesses hate’s steady advance. Defenseless, she recognizes that her safety is in peril, particularly as details of the neighborhood murder are revealed in upsetting increments.
That sense of endangerment only magnifies emotional isolation because fewer protections exist to deter menacing behavior. Our current environment promotes, even, at times, sadistically welcomes, fear because morality is not as much of a given any longer. The rule of law doesn’t automatically dissuade violence due to the elevation of convenient lies, conspiracy theories, and alternate facts couched in a desire to discriminate against marginalized groups.
For these quite unfortunate reasons, it’s logical that a terrified frame of mind, which further deepens painful solitude, can spur an inevitably out-of-control, downward spiral. Therefore, I’m grateful that writing (and a supportive husband) helped me through this darkness. By determining a creative outlet to reconfigure that angst, I didn’t feel as emotionally alone anymore.
Writing Detached most definitely provided a much-needed therapy, freeing me from an endless depression. I’ll continue to use this enriching tool to connect, to reach beyond my own unarticulated sentiments so, when concretely expressed, they may achieve some sort of useful purpose. In the midst of my journey to be a better, more productive person, I only hope that our world also makes an effort to improve. Then we can anticipate a willing embrace of acceptance in an essential move toward a culture directed by morality instead of hate.