The process of an author is fantasized. Just because they know what to write—the beginning, the middle, and the end—doesn’t mean the hardest part is over. It still has to be written. It still has to be discovered in detail.

Sometimes, in more detail than comfortable.

Stories come from nonfiction. The fictional is not purely fiction because they are grounded in real tragedies, real people, and real lives.

I earlier announced that I started writing my second book in August, and for those who have been inquiring about it, yes I did write much of it. About a solid quarter to halfway.

Turns out, however, that when you are an author that writes from such a personal fountain of sadness and joy, there is always a risk of it becoming too personal. Too real. Just like every human in the world, authors deal with emotions. Stories don’t stop that; we just hope it heals rather than inflame. My first book was a remedy to me, but I had had years first to process. This second story did not have much time to breathe at all.

I, too, deal with deep fear, the guilt of the innocent, and wishing I could forgive. Sometimes, though I have always said that the best art comes from the deepest pains, it’s just too soon. Someday, it will be written. But not right now.

Instead, I have started a different story to replace it. Just as heartfelt and painful, but with characters I feel at peace with. I am proud to someday share them; that is the difference between this story and my originally intended one.

What I truly want to say is: there are a lot of psychologies that have been switched and damaged in my mind because of the choices of others, and to anybody who is trying to forgive those and things that have wronged them deeply, you don’t owe anyone anything. But you do owe yourself. Forgive yourself—for being human, for choosing mercy or justice instead of what was deserved, for falling—then make a choice of how long you want to be a tragedy. Don’t hold on to it longer than it belongs.

Much love.


A.R. Hansen

Author of Battle of the Mind