Feelings may be the key to writing. I am writing historical fiction, set 50 years ago. I have been doing a lot of research but I came across a line in a new book I have by Dwight Swain, Techniques of the Selling Writer. He points out the most important thing in writing is feeling.
Then I realized I have been having trouble getting into the mind of the Weathermen I am writing about. But I realized, also, having read Swain, that they were angry about the military-industrial complex, and the U.S. War machine. These days I am angry at Donald Trump and many of his supporters . The anger is useful and I can get into the heads of the Weather people because our anger is not far apart. And 50 years ago, I shared their anger at the War in Vietnam, the US war machine and the death machinery of the US corporate structure.
Similarly I know what it is to abhor violence. I grew up in a violent family. My mother broke my nose twenty-five times, my brother raped me, I was thrown down stairs. My mother was a drug addict/ alcoholic and my older brother followed suit. It was a miserable family and moods often got expressed by violent behavior. So I absolutely dread and hate violence. I even avoid some stories in the newspaper.
So I find it easy to identify with the FBI man who is determined to stop the bombing. He was determined to stop the violence. I can pour my feelings into him and understand his motivation.
By associating my feelings with both sides, I do get to reconcile by own feelings and heal, to a certain extent. These feelings are just below the surface in me, and cause me some grief. I know the integration of them in this novel should help me heal.