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?