Dealing with Darkness

I had a long (4 hour) layover on my way home from a recent trip. Fortunately, I have an airline club membership, so I spent the time in pleasant surroundings with access to food, drink, clean bathrooms, and plenty of electrical outlets. I took advantage of the time to do some research for a future book.

This future book will deal with some dark, difficult topics, like racism. The research took me to some dark, difficult places. I dipped into corners of the internet that reminded me that dreadful people exist and they spew their poison across the web. So much of what I read made me feel icky, I had to stop and turn to what one of my favorite podcasts (True Crime Obsessed) calls a “palate cleanser”. I scrolled through pretty pictures on Instagram for a while then began reading a novel I’d pulled from my TBR pile to take along on the trip (Hiroshima Boy by Naomi Hirahara).

I know I’ll have to wade back into the darkness soon. After all, I’m writing crime fiction, a genre not known for sweetness and light. I’ll tackle the ickiness in small doses and have plenty of palate cleansers on hand.

How do you deal with ugliness you uncover in your reading? How do you avoid being overwhelmed by darkness?


  1. Alexia, thanks for your transparent sharing. There’s so much darkness in the world. A good book can bring light and expose the evil–so needed because when light shines, evil flees. I look forward to hearing more about your new project.

  2. I happened to have a brush with an evil person this week, so your post was a reminder that none of us is immune from evil and that we all have to deal with darkness. An odd sense of community, but still it helps to know we aren’t alone.

  3. I was just watching an episode of New Amsterdam, a show that is about a real hospital here in NYC. And one subplot was about a man suffering with PTSD. He was convinced the world was evil and dangerous and he couldn’t sleep, could barely function at all. One of the doctors said a line I’ll never forget, “PTSD is a thief. It robs us of the ability to see the light. When was the last time you saw the light?” For me, I Google positive stories of real human beings, and I make sure I follow some excellent positive sources on all my social media, so I get the good stuff mixed in regularly. Also, things of beauty really make my heart swell. So I love to take a few minutes at a local art gallery like the Met or the Guggenheim, take a walk along the East River, walk through Central Park… All of that helps me see the light and get a healthier perspective.

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