I write to exercise my demons. Not exorcise—tried that once and my demons went on strike for six weeks, leaving me with no material. So exercise it is, every day like you would walk the dog. I stick ‘em on leashes and take them out for a stroll, letting them sniff fire hydrants and bark at brown rabbits. Not until they’re exhausted and panting do I lead them back inside the yard and let my fingers rest. A cooped up demon whines and scratches at the door, making it impossible to sleep, but a tuckered out fiend has no reason to keep you up at night.
Sometimes, I go too long without taking the demons out. Neglected and resentful, they plot a mutiny against me, waiting for a strong autumn wind to blow the gate open to escape without leash or master. My monsters were out on one such unauthorized havoc-wreaking spree when I was first diagnosed with Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (PTSD) as a result of surviving physical, emotional, and sexual abuse (I think PTSD also stands for Prisoner-To-Sadistic-Demons). I then began to understand writing as a form of self-care, a tool for recovery, and a necessary part of my daily regimen. Writing tames my demons. It gives them just enough of a workout that my trauma doesn’t consume me.
So if you see me strolling leisurely around the neighborhood with six hellhounds in a tangle of leashes, you’ll know it’s just part of my process. It keeps both those beasts and myself snoring sweetly ‘til dawn.