A funny thing happened on my way to teaching a Creative Writing class. I tripped and fell over you, the second-person pronoun. I was working on a nonfiction piece about something that had occurred when I was a teenager, when I lived through a prolonged period of stress fending off unwanted attention from a predator.
Anyone who has ever had to deal with that creepy awfulness knows the feeling: being caught in the sight-lines, being blamed for inspiring lust, being the desired object of an individual who lacks a moral compass.
You are marked. You are hunted. You begin taking the corners tight and hugging the shadows, trying to hide.
I lost sleep over this experience for years after it was over. To say the essay was difficult to write would be inaccurate. One day, twenty years later, the story had to come out. It had been percolating for some time. That's the pleasant way to describe it. In reality, it was festering, an open wound under the scar. I started writing "It's past midnight and you are sitting in a hotel room" and the rest poured out fast. (That was 7 years ago. The piece has been workshopped multiple times since then, perspective and tense changed so frequently, it has whiplash. So it goes.)
Imagine my happiness when I found out about this anthology! I ordered it right away, and I freaking love it. No, you can't borrow it.
Ultimately, my piece didn't work in the second-person, but the process was invaluable as a writer and an instructor. I developed a class on using YOU and encouraged all my students to try it, to take a waltz around the room with second-person. Especially if the story was one that needed emotional distance. Because let's be honest, pain is pain is pain and time passes. The idea that time heals all wounds has never held true for me. Time is time, and hurt is hurt. Life gets busy. You find ways to move on, get distracted, read more books, watch more movies - push it all away until you find your voice and you.fight.back.
With a soundtrack, of course. You need a Fight song.
Because you've still got a lot of fight left in you.