The fantasy novel I’m writing (still can’t come up with a good title yet, so I’m just calling it “Velaria”) began as basically “Communism/dictatorships/etc. are bad.” The idea was simple and the story was simple. It was kind of like a project you would write for a high school short story assignment. But the more I write/scheme this story out, the more I’m realizing it’s much more than that. It’s about the power of the mind. If you can control your own mind, nothing anyone else does or says can limit you.
For example, there is a scene in the book in which Ardith learns how to turn herself invisible. Fairy magic thrives on positive feelings and does not work well under pressure. She’s about to cross the border of Velaria where guards are stationed so thickly that no one can get out. She’s petrified. She can fly, which is a plus, but if the guards see her they will shoot her in the wing so she’ll drop to the ground but can still sew for the king. She remembers a spell her mother taught her that turns an object invisible and silent, so she tries it, but it won’t work because she’s too stressed out. She can’t think of any other solution to her problem, so she has to figure out how to control her thoughts and emotions. Picturing a place that makes her happy and getting totally immersed in that memory eventually works for her, and she does turn herself invisible and passes the border…despite a brief moment of stupidity where she yells out “I did it!!” (the magic doesn’t silence her voice) and the soldiers shoot in all directions because they can’t figure out where the heck that voice came from.
I know this mind-control technique works, because I’ve used it myself. About 2-3 months ago I started having panic attacks. Everyone in my family was getting sick, including me, and the virus I got was one I had never experienced before. It scared me because I didn’t want to miss work, and it started some breathing problems too (which are continuing now that pollen season has struck in full force), so the breathing issues coupled with my fears started some terrible anxiety attacks and the situation spiraled out of control. Eventually they were coming every single day–interrupting my life and tearing me apart physically. I actually called the doctor more than once thinking my life was in danger, but she told me I was doing the right things–breathing in a bag and calming myself as much as I could. It was after the second time I called the doctor (thinking I had a heart problem, but it was actually severe gas… whoops) that I realized I needed to learn some brain techniques to control myself or I really WAS going to end up with some problems.
One of the first things I did was remember a deep breathing technique that my aunt taught me. Five deep breaths, and on the exhale you shrink your mouth as if you’re breathing out through a straw. Not really a mind control technique, but it helped. After that, I wrote down a list of my favorite things and forced myself to visualize them whenever I got stressed out. Then I did the thing that I think really saved my life. I started telling myself, every time I felt that anxiety building up about something, “This isn’t worth a panic attack.”
Bam. Almost instant recovery.
Why? Because my smart logical side was controlling my stupid emotional side.
Now there are times when it’s okay to let your emotional side win out, I know that. But there is something to be said for assessing a situation and using your common sense to deal with it instead of freaking out. All of the techniques I mentioned above are good for dealing with stress, and some will work better for some people than they will for others. There are many other coping mechanisms as well–some developed by others, but some you can come up with yourself.
So next time you get stressed out or want to worry about something instead of taking the actions necessary to solve the problem, use your ever-loving brain. God gave us brains for a reason.
I hope this book will be good for more than just entertainment. I’ve put a LOT of thought and effort into it so far and if everyone just sees it as a good book to read on a lazy Saturday I’m going to be very disappointed. I’m thinking about calling this series “Royals of Benedaea” because this book is about the monarchs and Siranai is going to be about a monarch as well. And then I’ll eventually just name the books whatever the Spirit leads me.
Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Reply below. Pretty please 🙂
And by the way, CHILL. The weekend is almost here. Don’t worry, be happy!