Healing Waters

Yesterday evening, I reached 50,000 words in my novel, Fascination. It’s a dystopian book about mental illness and how society will handle mental illness in the future. If you’re interested in finding out more about the book, please be sure to read my original post here.

“Healing Waters” is a poem that I wrote last year while researching hydrotherapy, which was given to patients up until 1945 and will be featured in my novel. Patients could be left in tubs of scalding or freezing water, depending on their symptoms, for up to 72 hours at a time, sometimes in pitch darkness. These tubs are still around in many of the mental hospitals today.

50,000 words feels like quite a task. I think writers should get coins, sort of like the sobriety ones that people get when they stop drinking, but instead for their word counts. It is a battle writing a full-length novel, but I have the higher ground advantage now. I’m set to finish the first draft of the book by August.

Lines from the blinds create black bars
Can we open these, please? No, privacy.

Shield the world from laceless shoes
Can I thread those, please? No, safety.

Nude finger twirls a phantom ring
Can I wear mine, please? No, thieves.

Locks on doors seek clanking keys
Can we go outdoors, please? No, escapees.

Sterile fluorescent afternoon
A paper and pen? No, safety, again.

Rainbows in cups, shapes without names
Can you please explain? No, don’t complain.

All punishments for disease.
Sickness like an afflicted sentence.

Grow suffering like bacteria
petri-dish people under the ‘scope.

Unwanted underwater hammock ride
straight-jacketed tub that’s burning inside.

Basic humanity blanches away
in the scalding waters of several days.

© khartless 2021, All Rights Reserved


  1. Well done – how many more words do you feel your book will need? 50,000 words is quite an achievement.
    I’ve only managed short stories to-date.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much. This is my first project of this length. In an ideal world, I’d like my draft to be complete with 80,000 words. It may fall a bit short, but I think standard adult novels hit between 60,00-100,000 words. Love short story writing and miss it a bit right now. Still squeaking out a few stories now and again.


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