Of all the blogs I’ve posted, the most recent one – about coping with life when I became a widow – has drawn the most comments. As a reader wrote, “This isn’t just for widows, it’s for everyone who has had a loss. In my case, it was my best friend.” (Is there anyone who hasn’t known loss?)
I also had a few Emails from readers curious to know why I had ‘switched” from a theme of writing to the issues of loss. Actually, there was no “switch.” From the beginning, my blog has had two titles: A Writers’ Blog and Surviving Loss. Nor is there a canyon between them, but an overlap. As the wonderful author Richard Ford wrote,”If the disease is loneliness,the story is the cure.” He may have been referring to reading, but it’s even more apt for writing.
The problem for many of us is the same syndrome I’ve had for the past year. I constantly complained that I couldn’t write because of all the problems in my life, needed a clearer head.
But this week I suddenly had a different view, as if I were handed a new pair of glasses. For the first time it struck me that it doesn’t have to be a battle between my problems versus writing time. I don’t have to struggle to find a way to separate my life from what I want to write. I can include whatever is happening — not the facts, perhaps, but the tsunami of feelings: anger, frustration, grief. We can make use of them in disguised forms.
As a result of my altered view I’ve just written my first entirely new piece In over a year. Since I’ve been feeling somewhat lost at sea it fascinates me that the piece was inspired by a child lost in a sea battle. I didn’t plan to use my feelings , but they found their way into this story. It’s what’s known these days as Creative Non-Fiction. (As opposed to the Uncreative kind?) It may not be the best thing I’ve ever written, may or may not get published, but it’s new and it’s mine – in a mixture that not only blends in my turbulent feelings, but helps me to survive them. This gives me hope that’s been alien lately. And a sense of freedom.
We really don’t have to rent an ivory tower in order to write. As the late multi-talented Carrie Fisher said more succinctly:Take your broken heart and turn it into art.