R.V. Doon

Instant Tears

Instant Tears is a guest post I did for The War Nurse Book Tour and it was featured on the blog What is that Book About. Hope you enjoy!

Instant Tears

Choosing a book to read is a personal experience. There are numerous reasons which guide our choices and one of them is mood. For the majority of us, the primary goal is to enter book world and escape. Some of us stage our reading areas: warm blanket, soft pillow, comfy slippers, and hot chocolate.

Entering book world is like going on a vacation with a map. Sometimes we gripe out loud when a character doesn’t react as we want. We even scream at them out of concern (unless we’re in public). The point is readers interact with their book, but how many of us expect to break down in “instant tears”?

I’m tough. Critical care nurses learn to train their emotions for obvious reasons. While working with acutely ill patients I might be a wreck on the inside, but on the outside there is no sign of my inner turmoil. So when a book strips away years of training and makes me sob, I’m more than impressed; I’m grateful.

Let me be clear. I’m not talking about misty vision, sniffles, or the escape of a lone tear or two. I’m talking ‘sobbing’ as in noisy choking sounds. Not sure what I’m talking about?

One minute I’m calm and then this happens. The story hasn’t grabbed me by the throat; it’s got one hand on my heart and the other inside my brain. Knots tighten in my stomach and then they squeeze my gut like a python would. I’m clutched in a vise of chemical hormones, racing through my bloodstream. And when the tension is gripping, my breathing changes because I’m overwhelmed by an emotional tide. And then low and behold a river of tears exits. This is a golden stellar moment for a reader and proof positive they’re immersed in book world. Best of all, the author has won me over as a lifetime fan.

And as disgusting as instant tears makes me look, red-nosed, swollen eyes, and a bit embarrassed, I’m happy. When the tears end and I reread the scene, I find myself savoring each word. Suffice to say, instant tears are rare, so treasure them.

As an author, I know not every book can generate instant tears. Authors can’t schedule them to show up on demand. It’s a reader’s personal experience to a story and its characters, or so I thought until I wrote a certain scene in The War Nurse. I was overwhelmed, broken by a wave of similar emotions, but I’ll never know if that scene gifts a reader with instant tears. I can only hope.

Some books surprise us, don’t they?

My husband got the book, Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes as a gift. I’d picked it up several times because of its page count, but I didn’t want to upset him by reading it first. I wasn’t its target audience, because Matterhorn is about a platoon of Marines in Vietnam. I read it in what can only be described as a ‘gorge fest.’ I mean I felt sick from lack of sleep, but man was it worth the slog.

Matterhorn nearly drowned me in instant tears. I honestly didn’t see them coming. Nor did I expect any when I picked up the book. My emotional tempest came out of the blue, like a rainbow after a killer thunderstorm. I curled up on the sofa and cried like a baby.

Have you experienced instant tears? Please share your moments in the comment section about the scenes that were so powerful they took your breath away, and left you with a sense of gratitude.

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