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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Writing for Release: IWSG March 2018

IWSG: Writers helping writers. The brainchild of our fearless ninja leader, Alex Cavanaugh, this month's co-hosts are: Mary Aalgaard, Bish Denham, Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner.  

I wrote a poem the other day. I’d been on social media, reading a post that shared texts between children trapped in school during the shooting in Florida and their parents, and when the tears started to dribble, I needed to get the raw pain out. That’s when I realized there are two kinds of writing for me.

The first, I’ll call release writing and it appeared inside the multiple diaries I kept from the age of 15 to 25. The journals were lined notebooks in which I spilled emotions from everyday life without worrying about being criticized or judged. My first poems appeared in those pages and for many years, the diaries and the poems were my go-to when it was time to let the air out of my feelings. For the longest time, all my writing was personal. The early posts from this blog came from a similar place.
But, then I started writing fiction. And while creating fictional is personal too, in a way, it’s not. Yes, they’re my stories, but they’re not stories about me. And yet, the time I take to think, edit, to rewrite in order to make something read “real” feels as authentic as when my heart is bleeding and I have to get it on to a page.

An acquaintance of mine, a talented pianist, recently suffered an unspeakable tragedy. I saw him today for the first time since, and he spoke of how his music has changed, has been enhanced by his loss. “Pain,” he said, “brings one to a deeper level.” After he left, I thought of the poem I’d written about Florida and how the pure ache that colored it helped me let go of something I may not have been able to, any other way. 

The same way my acquaintance turns to the piano, I write to purge the hurt or get to a truth, whether it’s one that lives inside me, or one that rests at the core of my story. And, after an unplanned poem, or an hour trying to formulate one perfect sentence in a novel, I’m wrung out, clean, and able to start again. 

Which is perhaps why I love writing so very much.

Why do you write?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A lot of creativity stems from pain. I sometimes wonder if that's why I'm not more creative when it comes to writing. I'm even-keeled.

Pat Garcia said...

I so agree. It is pain that bring us to a deeper level. I know that is what happens in my own life. For some reason, we awake and become aware of things that we had never seen.
Wishing you all the best.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's great that you can use your writing to release the pain. For me, after I lost my husband--the biggest heartbreak of life--I couldn't write or read for a long time. Now that I took a break and have endured the pain I find that I am better writer. And it's okay if I end up just writing for myself.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I no longer keep a regular diary/journal like I did when I was younger, but I still find the need now and then to reach for a notebook and write solely for release. It really does help.

Joanne said...

your post is very moving and made me think. I still don't know why or when I write. Here lately, it's more to just play with words. I enjoy that aspect. Otherwise, I'm adrift.

Bish Denham said...

When I was younger (so long ago) and writing songs and poetry, they all seemed to spring from my angst and heartache. There was lots of creativity in it. But I've always written prose from a different place, though I'm not sure where that place is or how to describe it.

Diane Burton said...

How wonderful you're able to release your emotions through your poetry. I write because the characters in my head won't shut up until I write their stories.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Wow. Good description on the healing power of the arts, as we produce them, and get our raw emotion out. I'm holding back on writing a letter to a boy whose brother died from suicide. I can barely even type that word here.

Blessings to you as you write, process, and share that with others. It will help them.

Mary at Play off the Page

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liza - it's great that you can express yourself that way ... something I don't want to do, or can't do ... but then I've never wanted to write - having been put down about things earlier on in life - and I was able to express myself in other ways. Now I blog ... and keep it simple there too - cheers Hilary

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I find I can't write when I'm suffering emotional pain or stress. There's lots of evidence that it helps, I just can't do it.

Connie said...

It's so true that most writing comes from the emotions we are feeling. For me it sometimes comes from pain, but it can just as easily come from joy for me as well and from every feeling in between. Nice post.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

It's good that writing provided a release valve for you. When I was young, it worked that way for me, too, but now, when I'm overwhelmed with emotions, my creativity dries up for a while. If I try writing during those periods, my work is way too dark. Not me at all. (Or at least, not the me I want to be.)

So why do I write? You might as well ask me why I breathe. It's part of me, and as necessary as food and drink.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

When I started writing, I discovered (after the fact) that it was hugely therapeutic. I hadn't realised what I was writing about until it became clear years later and I was like, "Ooooooh!" lol. In many ways it's still therapeutic.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I would like to see your poem about the Parkland shootings. I'm sure that it's very moving. I agree that writing does help us plow through the pain. Have a Happy Easter, Liza!