DL Fowler's Blog

Lincoln’s Blackouts

Lincoln’s law partner, Herndon, described episodes when he’d find Lincoln sitting in a catatonic state from which he couldn’t be aroused. Often there’d be a book of poetry in his lap.

No one has any idea of what went on in Lincoln’s head during those episodes. He never talked about them.

One possibility is that were flashbacks of an earlier trauma that his body was defending himself against. That happens to people who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Lincoln suffered several traumatic moments early on. At 7 he almost drowned, at 9 he suffered a life-threatening head injury, and months later helped bury his mother, at 10 his father left him and his sister to weather a brutal winter unattended and on the brink of starvation, as a teenager his father beat him often and when he was just past 20 his first love died. Lincoln’s emotional responses to these and other events are explored in Lincoln Raw-a biographical novel.

Maybe his psyche just went into overload from processing flashbacks of too many traumas at once.

Would we let someone with that much emotional baggage be President today?

Lincoln suffered from PTSD?

Abe Lincoln was anything but normal in many ways, including behavior that demonstrated hyper-vigilance, suicidal thoughts, exposing himself to mortal dangers, extreme emotional swings, unexpected eruptions, etc.

After almost drowning in a creek at 7 years old, his mother died when he was 9. He sat on her grave during a storm to be sure her body didn’t float up out of the ground. He had a similar reaction a dozen years later when Ann Hathaway, his first (maybe only) true love died.

During the Civil War he sometimes ventured to the front lines and was nearly wounded. Once he stood on the ramparts of a fort, wearing a top hat, giving Rebel soldiers a 7 foot target to shoot at. He even talked about suicide during Cabinet meetings.

Twice as a young man he was on suicide watch. Once he subjected himself to torturous medical treatments that were the equivalent of self mutilation.

All of these behaviors could be symptomatic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Lincoln Raw-a biographical novel explores the possibility. Read it and decide for yourself.

Exploring Lincoln’s Psychology

Posted in Lincoln, Lincoln Raw, Lincoln's Diary, Lincoln's Psychology, Psychopaths, PTSD, Themes by DLFowler on July 23, 2014

Was Lincoln the most successful white-collar psychopath in American history? His psychology suggests he suffered from personality “disorders” that are common to red-collar psychopaths (violent criminals.) But in his case, those same traits likely enabled his greatest contributions to American society.
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SYWS – Death Has it’s Upside

Posted in Inside a Writer's Head, Lincoln, Lincoln's Diary, Lincoln's Psychology, SYWS by DLFowler on October 16, 2011

You know you want to. But you just eat your words and let the moment pass. Maybe that’s because you don’t know how to say it, or you think showing self-restraint is polite. In either case, I’ll be devoting my Sunday morning blog post to Stuff You Want to Say (SYWS). Feel free to use my words. You can memorize them and play them back to end your weekend on a powerful note, or you can print them out and slip them onto a co-worker’s desk to show him/her you’re locked and loaded to survive the work week.

So here’s my next offering.

If you have any takes on this subject, feel free to share with a comment.

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Why Couldn’t McGyver Be a Girl?

Posted in Characters, Kindle, Lincoln's Diary, Nook, Sarah Sue Morgan by DLFowler on August 2, 2011

Female protagonists often take on one of three equally unsatisfying personalities – WonderWoman, Nerd or Clueless. Why don’t we see more girl McGyvers?

McGyver wasn’t an action hero – he was an overcomer. But he wasn’t a geek, just resourceful. And he was neither a fool, nor a brainiac. Aren’t there girls who fit the same mold?

Making a female McGyver – that’s what I tried to achieve with Sarah Sue Morgan, the protagonist in LINCOLN’S DIARY – a novel. If you’ve read it, let me know if I came close.

More Reader Feedback

Posted in Characters, Dialog, Lincoln's Diary, Lincoln's Psychology, PTSD, Reading, Writing by DLFowler on May 12, 2011

Is it shameless self-promotion when you repeat what readers say?

Here’s what one reader said:

What a bold theme ! It takes nerve to write something like this and make readers swear it is the truth. The pace is right as is the structure. The prose is tight and the dialogues realistic.

And if that’s not enough, watch Emily’s reaction.

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Reader Reviews #1

Posted in Characters, Lincoln's Diary, Reading by DLFowler on May 11, 2011

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be on the road doing book signings and talking to readers about Lincoln’s Diary – a novel by DL Fowler. Today I’m posting videos of reviews by two readers, Richard Heller, an author, and Charity who sees herself in the story’s heroine, Sarah Sue Morgan.

Look for me as I make stops in Newberg, OR and in Folsom, Lincoln, Stockton, Fontana, Redlands, Pasadena and Bakersfield CA.  Details of the tour are on my website.

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Book Trailer

Posted in Assassination, Kindle, Lincoln, Lincoln's Diary, Lincoln's Psychology, My Books, Nook, Plots by DLFowler on May 5, 2011

I’ve added video to the blog. Here’s a book trailer I created on my iPhone.  You’ll see more, including interviews with readers while I’m on my book signing tour later this month. I may even read excerpts from the book and post them here. What do you think?

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What’s Special About Female Protagonists?

I was recently asked the following question in an interview on PaperBackSwap’s blog.  You can read the entire interview here.

In your new novel, Lincoln’s Diary, the protagonist is a female. Was it difficult for you as a man to write a book from a woman’s perspective?

Not really.

As a writer I like to show my characters’ emotions by describing how their feelings play out on their faces, in their gestures and through their actions. Women make my job easy because they tend to be quite aware of their emotions and telegraph their feelings through facial expressions, body language and movement.

Men aren’t nearly as versed as women when it comes to understanding their own emotions. As a result, they find it harder to express themselves not just verbally, but through their bodies, generally.  And when they do understand what they’re feeling, their instinct is to mask it. That makes it hard to follow the writers’ rule, “Show, don’t tell.”

That said, a main character in my next novel is a man who has focused his whole life on keeping his emotions a closely guarded secret.

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Author Interview at PaperBackSwap.com

The folks at PaperBackSwap.com were kind enough to interview me on their blog. Here’s a link to our conversation. We talked about being how is it was for me, a man, to write from a female character’s POV, Lincoln’s psychology, my biggest influences and a few other things.  Hope you’ll take time to check it out.

And PaperBackSwap.com is a well done platform. Only, whenever my book goes up, it’s snatched up in a matter of minutes. So either you have to be fast , or more people need to share Lincoln’s Diary – a novel.