Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Kick in the Pants

by Teresa Burrell, Author of Legal/Suspense Murder Mysteries

When I read a novel and I can feel the emotions that the characters are feeling I just know that the author has felt that at one time or another. Likely, in a very different setting, but I expect with the same heartache or pleasure, depending, of course, on the emotion. Sometimes you can feel the passion through the page, or the pain.

The venue for my novels is juvenile court. The subject matter is often child abuse. When I get into a part of the book where I’m dealing with a situation where a child has been abused, it’s easy for me to write from a “place of pain” because I’ve worked with so many of these cases. I have felt their pain.

But I go to a happier place to clear my head and think of evil plots. And sometimes to get past my “fear” as Drew Kaufman so eloquently described it in his last blog. Here is where I go. I took this photo yesterday on my daily walk. This inspires me, relaxes me, clears my head for more great ideas to come, and for just a brief moment in times washes away the fear.

I’m so fortunate to live in paradise and I try to go here every afternoon and rejuvenate after sitting at the computer for hours plotting and planning murder (for my books, of course).

Do you have a special place to go to deal with life’s problems, get a good kick in the pants to get you rolling again, to alleviate your fears, or just to feel? This place does all of that and more for me.

Now, if I could just get this view from my home...


  1. I'm so jealous! For me, exercise clears the sludge and negativity. But I was just commenting about how winter, even though it could/should be an ideal time to write, is not. Without my daily doses of sunshine, warmth, and outdoor joy, my brain gets bunched up, and I struggle to be creative. But I persevere. And every winter, I swear I'm going to go stay with you for a few months. :)

    1. I'm so lucky to have this wonderful place to live.

      One of these winters, LJ...

  2. We had a couple inches of snow overnight. It'll be gone tomorrow, but today a blanket of white covers everything.

    There's a state park across the road from us, and when I drop down into it I'm suddenly in a quiet wilderness with wetlands and wildlife. When it's snowing there, the peacefulness is especially calming. Even the deer are more apt to share the paths and not startle.

    1. That sounds wonderful, Peg, and for me would be perfect, except for the cold air. I'm a Minnesota-born-California-girl through and through.

  3. It's routinely my back yard. Private and peaceful there. But when I need a recharge or a kick in the creative pants the ocean does it for me. I'm energized by the relentlessness of Pacific waves crashing against the jetty at Point Brown and that's where I love to go - especially during the final revision and edit when madness is afoot.

  4. I'm with you, Rod. There's just something special about the smell and sound of the ocean that can't be beat.

  5. I walk around Audubon Park in New Orleans. Usually AFTER i write.

    For writing space, I go to the ocean in my mind. (Too far from a real one, but this one works.)

    Now, Teresa, I have to ruminate on a conjunction you made: the passion on the page and the place - physical, not emotional - from which it comes. I want to think beyond the "passion on the page comes from the place of pain," for a few reasons. First, the passion may not be one from or of pain, but joy or discovery, etc. Second, the physical space figures into the passion - the emotion comes not just from the mental state, but the actual place of the event - revisiting the source helps processing, provided one has guidance. (After Katrina, I can tell stories about what revisiting can do - positively or negatively.)



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