So I'm writing a new book. It's called MANHOLE. It's about a girl who was raped by an undetermined number of guys at a party. There may or may not have been date rape drugs involved (she tests negative for them, but date rape drugs don't last in the body very long). She was drinking at the party. Several friends witnessed her kissing one of the guys and many people heard her announce that she was going to "get with" a bunch of guys before the night was over. She doesn't remember anything. But her perpetrators left a lighter inside of her. The girl begins to fall apart at school after the event, becoming increasingly promiscuous and withdrawn from the people who love her.
It is written from the point of view of her boyfriend. He tries to help her, fix her, make her how she was. It doesn't work, of course. The book begins and ends with the boyfriend watching from the window as his girl goes down on one of the male teachers at their school.
I know that this book is too dark ever to be published. And yet I keep writing it. I can't stop. Part of the reason is because it comes from a truth inherent in every rape victim I have ever counseled in hospital ERs. Part of it is because it's complicated and our girl isn't a "good rape victim." And part of it is because it doesn't end happily. It ends with a glimmer of hope, yes, but it is clear that it's a crap shoot whether this girl will ever be whole again. That is also true and real.
I think it is some of the best writing I've ever done. I have woken up at 5am for the last 10 days to write. And it will still never be published. Not because I wouldn't try, but because publishers wouldn't know how to market it. And who would buy it? It's not SPEAK. It's not easy to empathize with our girl and I don't want it to be.
This whole thing has made me look at the reason I write. I always knew it wasn't just about getting published. If it was, I'd be happily working on RADIO STATIONS right now, revising it and selling it because it works. Instead, I've put it on hold so that this one can get out of me. And no, it's not therapeutic to write this one. It's painful. It's like reading PUSH, not warm and fuzzy or cathartic.
But writing it has become a compulsion. I won't have my head completely back in the game of life until I'm done with it. I don't really know why it's happening this way, but it is.
Have you ever had something like this happen? What do you do about it?