Monday, 30 May 2011

Something Every Writer Needs (Other Than Chocolate)

Writers have a really, really bad track record. You know what I mean, look at the patterns.
Drugs
Drinking
Depression
Heavy medication
Adultery
Suicide.

And, horror it is to say, you just know chocolate isn't enough. Writers - all artists - have these patterns. Yet why do we never hear about it? The blogging world is filled with writers from all stages of life, all genres of writing. What is it that keeps us from actually talking about these things?

Look to your left, look to your right. Someone in our circle is suffering.

This is such a tight community, it really is. One of the most beautiful, encouraging circles of writers. So why is it none of us can find the words when it comes to depression? Is it because we're all so close to it?

Authors, by the job description, drink up human sorrow. Without it, we have no story. We have to forcibly lower our defenses to feel that hurt, to look at it march toward us. We have to be defenseless, and that's something humans are not good at.

So what is it, exactly that every writer needs?

Writers need to hurt. They need to be allowed to hurt. We need to look at self-sacrifice of soldiers, at piercingly genuine teenage heartache, at the loneliness of solitude (which is often very close to home), and be able to bear it, without holding up defenses. Without saying, "It's just a story." Without hearing, "Man up."

So today, let yourself hurt. It's Memorial Day, there are many soldiers who deserve to be properly mourned - let yourself cry for them. Put away the drugs, the alcohol, and let the tragedy pour over you. But don't forget this: we're here. When it becomes too much, remember that you aren't alone. Someone is hurting just like you. Someone is hurting more. Together, we're stronger than any high. So let's cry today, but let's not cry alone.

Bethany

9 comments:

L.G.Smith said...

I think about the families of the soldiers who've died, and it breaks my heart. Especially when I hear about a kid barely out of high school getting killed by a roadside bomb. Such a sad thing. I feel so terrible for the mothers.

Lisa Gail Green said...

OMG Bethany, that was beautiful! We are artists, and we are sensitive, and we do ride the emotional rollercoaster like possibly no one else. AND we ARE there for each other, which is what is so amazing about this community. :D

Jennifer Hillier said...

Beautifully said. Emotions are part of the process - we just have to be brave enough to let ourselves feel them.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

What an awesome post. That's why I run. It helps me deal with those emotions. I get depressed if I go too long without exercising.

Creepy Query Girl said...

writing is such a solitary past time- I do find myself feeling a little down now and then and I think its important that every book reflect a range of emotions- not just one. So its equally important to feel and experience a little bit of everything around us.

Jessica Bell said...

I guess I don't talk about it much in public because it is actually a very prominent theme in my work. It's true though, we should all be a bit more aware of who is feeling what so that we can be there for each other in more ways than offering writing help.

Talli Roland said...

Well said, Bethany. We're all here to support each other and no subject should be taboo!

Christina Farley said...

You brought up a lot of interesting things. I think that's why I love blogging so much because it really is such a great support system. Writing isn't an easy profession and the rejections can send people into addictions that aren't healthy.

Susan Fields said...

What a beautiful post. I'm so grateful for this supportive blogging community.