Hello, I'm still here. Or, I'm back. Or something. Hi.
It's been awhile since a topic said "write about me on your blog." And I just can't write something that doesn't speak to me first, whether it wants to be here or there or wherever.
Do books ever make you cry? I can't remember the last time a book made me shed actual tears. I get that tight, choky feeling in my throat—sometimes. It happened with The Hunger Games. Curiously, it didn't happen for me with Thirteen Reasons Why, which is arguably more emotional and closer to home. And that got me wondering, what really makes people cry?
Yeah, there are the standard answers: the characters are well-developed, the pacing is right, the stakes are big, the reader actually cares what happens to said characters. (That last one is a symptom rather than a goal. Some people will care, and some won't. Some people like enchiladas; some don't.)
What really makes people cry? Is there an answer? Sad things probably stand a better chance, but the same could be said about happy events. Reading out loud makes me cry far more reliably than reading to myself, which as I've said, never makes me shed tears. Pictures help, too. Children's picture books that I'm reading to my kids.
Or stories about mowing lawns that I'm reading to a group of twelve and thirteen-year-old boys. Yikes.
But the big winner in the competition to choke me up is music. No particular type, genre, or topic, but it needs words and can't be overly familiar. Also, if I'm listening with someone else, say my daughter or wife, the chokiness is greatly enhanced. But I'll choke up at completely unexpected times during songs that it makes no sense to cry about. It happens all the time. I just sit quietly, keep it to myself, and hope the tears don't show.
Why? Why does music make me cry? Is that normal, or some seriously crossed wires in my brain?
p.s. Singing is twice as bad. I can't actually sing the last verse of The Star Spangled Banner because I start crying. I'm choking up just thinking about it. I'm such a crybaby.