Last week was not the first time, and it probably won’t be the last, where situations beyond my control (oh how I love control of situations) wreaked havoc with my writing. I’m not “write to cope” person. I don’t pontificate the awful or ponder the horrid. I don’t write an essay or a story about agony or sadness. Those are not things I enjoy and I enjoy writing.
During the tragic situation in Boston, I stopped writing because I thought it was the least I could do. I figured that the people who were hurt and dead and in the midst of the mess (and I have a number of friends in Boston) deserved my full attention. I didn’t FB or Tweet or do it on behalf of others. But then, when my basement flooded and it took five days to dry it out, leaving thousands of dollars of damage and an icky smell, I tried my darnedest to keep it all in perspective. No one was hurt, there was food on the table, and at some point in the next month or so, all repairs would be made. It was my own mini-tragedy, okay, more just a pain in the ass, but still. I kept it in perspective, staved off the headache and the woe-is-me. For the most part.
But last week, aside from an interview or blog post or four, I didn’t write. But I try to keep that in perspective as well. Because the feeling and act of putting things in their proper place and order (a basement flood does not equate to a bombing in Boston, even though it’s my feet that are wet, my walls that are damaged) is something I can come back to another time, and use for my writing. Will my character have a flooded basement? Probably not. But will she perhaps realize that what could be seen as awful, truly isn’t? Might she encounter a situation where she has to remind herself that it could be worse and maybe talk herself out of a headache? Will she have to deal with people who forget that she’s having a hard time because they’re busy with their own schtick? Probably.
That’s what I call the blessing in the bull$hit. Stepping away from something awful and bringing it back in a way that works for me, for writing a story.
And the fact that I write stories is a blessing all its own.
3 Replies to “Deb Amy Looks For The Blessings In The Bull”
Isn’t it always a good thing when we can put our own tragedies in perspective. If it helps you with your characters and stories its that much better!!
Hope things dry up soon. In your basement that is!
Thanks, Anita. It’s not easy to keep things in perspective, because that usually means someone’s got it worse. But from someone who has often been the one who allowed others to keep things in their place, sometimes I’m grateful for the change-up.
I can completely understand the need to put the writing aside and give the tragedy your attention – it’s the flip side of my coping mechanism (to put the tragedy aside – after prayer and consideration – and write until I can cope with the situation again). One lovely thing about both is that we do emerge stronger and more capable of using even the negative experiences to fuel realism in the writing – which, itself, may help other people (readers) who need strength to cope with what they’re going through.
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