When I was a teenager, my two closest friends and I got it in our heads to do an unplanned road trip. We had a map, a full tank of gas, and a vague direction to head in.
Each morning, I had no clue where I would be by nightfall. For someone who, until then, had always plotted out my travels, this was a crazy idea. And it presented me with a freedom and an anxiety I had never felt before.
We found a lot of cool things on that trip that don’t need going into right now. The one experience I want to bring up is the hedge maze. It was attached to a gardening center and, while it didn’t run on for miles, it was far bigger than any other I had been in before. It was also the first time I hadn’t been able to see over the tops of the trees.
Even with the summer sun and the ever-present company of smiling tourists, my writer’s brain couldn’t help but file away a few key things I could use later. Like the little flicker of doubt that I’d ever find the exit, exhausted parents trudging along in search of their illusive kids, and that one person I passed repeatedly who kept insisting that the exit was ‘just around the next bend’.
But, most importantly, the discovery that my brain couldn’t handle being deprived of visual cues. The moment everything around me looked identical, I lost all sense of orientation. I could easily convince myself that I had already been down pathways I knew I hadn’t trodden.
When it came time to write Pocket of Posies, it was easy to give this a darker meaning. Additionally, I thought that the confusion, disorientation, and impatience experienced in a maze mirrored the mental side of being gravely ill. And, of course, it would hike up the stress for my Lee sisters.
Not to mention that I adore the idea of taking advantage of the weakness often given to ghosts but very rarely exploited. Confusion. Building a maze to keep them contained seemed like such a simple yet bizarre idea.
One loaded with creepy potential that I hopefully took advantage of.
See you in the shadows,