I ask myself and my characters of late — can you make it on the edge? Are you, perhaps, always on the edge — in search of change or reinvention all the time? I was for a long time certain that I needed to improve myself. My skin my health my diet my hair color. After living to the age of 43 I’m pretty satisfied, but as a young person, it was always in my mind that I could get better. I should get better. I wouldn’t receive notice until I did.
That put me on the perch a lot. In fact, it probably drove me to being a little unhinged. Though the idea of the edge is often thrilling it’s also the kind of adrenalin jolt that can turn to recklessness. For that reason, I love The Edge as a phenomenon in my fiction.
Do you love the edge? Where and for how long and to what intensity? Do you go to the edge on purpose? At the urging of someone else? And once there, is it comfortable, terrifying, desirable?
I’d love to hear what readers think. It may help me develop motivation in a speculative piece I’m working on. So, in advance: thanks!
Mariella Mehr — Poet, Memoirist, Acivisit, Survivor Not many Roma divulge their experience of the Holocaust. Unlike the many Jewish organizations which provide documentary evidence, . . .
Standing on this ledge wouldn’t bother me at all. Jumping would be another story, however. I always used to be the bravest one of my friends and family, but it is lessening as I get older. I think I always tried to be the most brave because I knew I wasn’t as physically strong the people around me so I had to make up for it by being fearless.
I approach the ledge in a similar way. I go near it, but not right up to it, and I love someone else to go right to the brink and tell me about it afterward. I love hiking up mountains but I stand well back from the precipice as I do so. But I greatly admire rock climbers and sky divers, knowing I won’t be able to stomach that level of risk.
I am not afraid of heights necessarily, but I am very afraid of edges. Edges and inclines make me queasy. I think it stems from a childhood fear of riding in a car driving up the cobblestone ramps on River Street in Savannah. I was always concerned that the car would slide backwards and we would careen into the river. Anxiety is a weird animal!
I know that cobblestone ramp. It’s steep! No wonder you worried about sliding into the River. I still worry there – about turning my ankle, mainly. I’m hoping to engage in my literary character a similar fear of edges, and with it an inexorable curiosity — what will happen if I’m one step closer? And another? If I push the limits this much more? To the place where reason blurs and fantasy comes alive. I haven’t had such a brush with my own limits, yet, but I feel sure some people do — tightrope walkers, extreme runners and such.
I am not scared of climbing up. I just can’t look down. I feel I am going to fall any second…. I think it starts happening when you get old (I am serious!)