Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Writing Through Adversity

As writers we live in parallel universes. We exist in half-worlds—a piece of our minds always in our fiction, while a part of us—albeit maybe just a toe—remains in reality. I don't know about you, but I'm not a huge fan of reality. It kinda sucks. Maybe that's why I love being a writer so much, why I feel the need to push through when the Powers That Be in publishing tell me I'm not quite right for their click yet.

Whatever that bug is inside me to press on, I've realized through many trials of real life, that I don't want to put aside the battle just yet. 

Most of you know about my three year journey with cancer. That wasn't a super fun time. And it put a serious dent in my writing progress (it's tough to type while throwing up ginger cookies). But it shaped me and changed me and taught me things about life—and death—that I wouldn't have learned otherwise. And on the other side, it's only made me a better artist, a better writer, and more importantly, a better person. The struggle strengthens us and hones us, like the caterpillar trying to emerge from its cocoon.

Recently I've had another bout with reality when my father spent two weeks in ICU. My dad is my best friend—he's always been my comforter and my partner in crime. And to see him so weak and helpless, the man who's my hero and can fix anything, it's sent me spinning. I thought my own bout with death was difficult… this is a million times harder. He's been ill for a quite a while and the cause of his illness still remains a mystery. I've tried to ignore what's coming down the road for all of us, with my dad so sick, but I'm realizing I can't pretend anymore. 

This all comes at a pivotal time in my writing life. A time when there's a lot of work to be done and my creative energy feels muddy and full of holes. For a time I've had to live fully in reality—not just a toe—and it's very painful. But isn't LIFE what we want to mimic? 

How can we paint stories that impact or reveal the beauty and pain of life if we never experience it ourselves? 

Adversity shapes us. It molds us and teaches us. We learn truth and we experience The Spark. 

And we can know that when we finally emerge from the cocoon we'll be able to say we've lived. 

1 comment:

  1. So much love for you now, little sister. I completely agree about the reality thing. So. Hard.

    When my first book, Afterlife, was releasing, someone in my immediate family was (and still is) struggling with a serious illness. It made everything harder--all the promotion and book tours and book signings. There's a fine line between the public you and the private you, or between reality and make-believe.

    I would much rather deal with make-believe and wish I got to be in that world more often. I think that's why we love to write and paint--that ethereal world is a lovely place to be.

    You are in my heart and my prayers. xxoo