Hell’s Handbag | How Savannah Came Into Existence

“What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love…” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

One of the questions that I’m asked about Forever and One Day is how it came to be. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post (Why I Wrote My Book) some of the back story. This time, I’d like to expand a bit on my mental state as mental health is something that is extremely important, but often overlooked in this country.

I’d been in a deep depression for years. Writing was the only thing that helped me to process all my emotions as I’ve always been a highly sensitive person (HSP). I still am but have much better coping skills these days. At almost 40 years old, I’d say it was about time. Back then, in my late twenties and early thirties when so many events were happening in my life, I began leaning on writing again.

I was unhappy. It’s that simple. I hated my life. I was in my own personal section of hell with no air conditioning or an ice-cold pitcher of margaritas in sight. If it wasn’t for that friend that had me writing even while my grandmother was at home in a hospital bed on oxygen, I would’ve been more focused on the whirr of the oxygen machine and approaching death rather than the clicks of the keys on my laptop. Not that I wasn’t aware, but it wasn’t as consuming as it would’ve been without my ability to write and find ways to laugh and somewhat relax.

Savannah actually came from what I had intended to be short story. Her role was the storytelling best friend to the main character in an erotica story requested by my friend. Savannah was born out of a need in the erotica story to tell a dirty story as a distraction. She also is a combination of this storyteller and another character from a short story I’d written while at Arcadia University named Deniece aka “Niecy”.

Niecy was a character that was the love ‘em and leave ‘em type. She never let anyone close to her and was up for adventure in every way. So, when Savannah tells her story about a foursome at a party in the erotica story, she’s talking about Niecy. In Forever and One Day, when Savannah recounts hooking up with Trevor in chapter four, she has taken on the characteristics of Niecy, which is why this is her middle name and childhood nickname as mentioned in the text.

Savannah, which means “tree in a desert or plain”, is lacking love in her life. It all starts with her lack of self-love. Because of the lack of love and empowerment around her from societal beliefs, she doesn’t know how to love anyone properly. This is why I picked her name and the cover art. She’s managed to grow in what is essentially a desert. A dry place. Notice her true thoughts and feelings and sense of relief only come in the text anytime there’s mention of water, whether it’s rain or taking a shower. She thirsts for the nourishment of love. She ends up blowing about like a tumbleweed throughout situations in the novel because of this.

Savannah is a reflection of my feelings during a turbulent time in my life. I wanted to collapse under the weight of pain and becoming a huddled mess. Honestly, there were times where I didn’t want to be here anymore. Therefore, I used Savannah as a vehicle to express my pain, grief, loss, sadness, and search for self-love to regain my own voice and advocate for those who have felt the same. I’d rather kill a fictional character than myself.

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