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message 1: by Mary (new)

Mary Hogan | 122 comments Does anyone find that writing is the way they PROCESS difficult emotions? I wrote a whole novel in the aftermath of my sister's passing. Now, sadly, my brother died suddenly and I find myself turning to my computer keyboard to sort out my grief. Sometimes it seems like writing is how I FEEL things. Anyone else feel the same?


message 2: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) Mary wrote: "Does anyone find that writing is the way they PROCESS difficult emotions? I wrote a whole novel in the aftermath of my sister's passing. Now, sadly, my brother died suddenly and I find myself turni..."

I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. Please accept my condolences.

When my mother-in-law, and then my dad, died about two years ago (2014 wasn't a good year for our family), I wrote. A lot. It was the only way I could get the emotions out of my head. Otherwise they swirled around, making me unable to process them. I had to write every thought down, so it wouldn't be lost.

It took a while after those events, one in Jan. and the other in Aug., before I returned to fiction. But then the fiction - finishing my debut novel - did what it always does for me, and provided a safe place. I don't know how much specific landed in the novel because of the timing (I'm very much plotted out before I start writing), but I'm sure there is a lot there as there was a significant death in the book that came later that year in the writing.

If one is old enough, one has experienced an awful lot of life. It goes into the writing.


message 3: by Janeen (new)

Janeen Garner (booknerdneen) | 71 comments yes


message 4: by Mary (new)

Mary Hogan | 122 comments Sorry about your crummy hear, Alicia. I know what that's like. I often wonder if writing is my hiding place. Not a bad one, I guess. Better than a dark corner of the basement. :)


message 5: by Janeen (new)

Janeen Garner (booknerdneen) | 71 comments I did not write a novel but a journal of the pain I felt when my father died in 2011. I turned 50 the next Feb and I told my mom it was my first and wort birthday without my father. cancer is so cruel. I should have journaled our care of my grandmother while she began to fade into Alzheimer's. that was 10 years ago and how it pushed my grandfather to take his life. my mother is a cancer survivor and that is my light. she has no clue how much strength she has or has given me. sounds corny I know.


message 6: by Mary (new)

Mary Hogan | 122 comments Oh Janeen. Such loss. I'm so sorry. But I know exactly what you mean about finding strength in family. My family has dwindled down to a precious few, but we cling to one another more than we ever did before. Is there some reason why you don't want to tell your mom that she is your light?


message 7: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) Mary wrote: "Sorry about your crummy hear, Alicia. I know what that's like. I often wonder if writing is my hiding place. Not a bad one, I guess. Better than a dark corner of the basement. :)"

I guess I thought they were immortal.

My kids (and I had them late) had four living grandparents 90 and over - and then they had two. Living to 90+ is a gift, but we hadn't suffered the losses many have had to deal with, and somehow thought it wouldn't end yet.

I'm not so thrilled about being the sandwich generation, either!

'Life is what happens to you while you're making other plans.'

We use as much of that as possible in fiction - where we have the other dictum: 'Life doesn't have to make sense - but fiction does.'

So it's interesting to be a writer - you see both sides: problems with resolutions - and real problems without.


message 8: by Peggy (new)

Peggy A. | 38 comments Mary wrote: "Does anyone find that writing is the way they PROCESS difficult emotions? I wrote a whole novel in the aftermath of my sister's passing. Now, sadly, my brother died suddenly and I find myself turni..."

Yes. I do. I coauthored a pet loss book (Taking Care of Little Snoogie) so that I would not lose my mind from grief. I have also written other shorter pieces for the same reason. I am sorry for your losses. They are so hard to bear.


message 9: by Peggy (new)

Peggy A. | 38 comments Alicia wrote: "Mary wrote: "Does anyone find that writing is the way they PROCESS difficult emotions? I wrote a whole novel in the aftermath of my sister's passing. Now, sadly, my brother died suddenly and I find..."

Agreed. I am sorry for your losses.


message 10: by Peggy (new)

Peggy A. | 38 comments Janeen wrote: "I did not write a novel but a journal of the pain I felt when my father died in 2011. I turned 50 the next Feb and I told my mom it was my first and wort birthday without my father. cancer is so cr..."

It's not too late to write about your grandmother. You may have forgotten some of the details, but you could write about it from your current vantage point. I am sorry for your losses.


message 11: by Jim (last edited Feb 23, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Jim Vuksic | 1072 comments "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
Theodore Seuss Geisel aka Dr. Seuss (Psychologist/Children's books author) 1904 - 1991


message 12: by Janeen (new)

Janeen Garner (booknerdneen) | 71 comments thank you Peggy. I may do that.


message 13: by Janeen (new)

Janeen Garner (booknerdneen) | 71 comments good comment jim


message 14: by Peggy (new)

Peggy A. | 38 comments Janeen wrote: "thank you Peggy. I may do that."

People often say that when some time passes since the loss, it seems that no one understands or cares anymore. As you know, that's not true. Best wishes.


message 15: by Janeen (new)

Janeen Garner (booknerdneen) | 71 comments thank you


message 16: by Peggy (new)

Peggy A. | 38 comments Janeen wrote: "thank you"

You are quite welcome.


message 17: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) Peggy wrote: "Janeen wrote: "thank you Peggy. I may do that."

People often say that when some time passes since the loss, it seems that no one understands or cares anymore. As you know, that's not true. Best wi..."


Which is why I believe that it is important to write about things AS they happen - just don't try to analyze them in the moment. Record what you know you will want to remember later.

You may never read it again, but it is there.


message 18: by Peggy (new)

Peggy A. | 38 comments Alicia wrote: "Peggy wrote: "Janeen wrote: "thank you Peggy. I may do that."

People often say that when some time passes since the loss, it seems that no one understands or cares anymore. As you know, that's not..."


True. Agreed. After 9.11, I wrote about it almost everyday (I live close to NYC) for awhile. When I went back later and read what I had written, not only did I not remember it, but I didn't even remember having those thoughts. But what if one doesn't write about it at the time? I think that there is still something to be gained, such as what is going on at the current time, for example, in terms of dealing with loss.


message 19: by EXO (new)

EXO Books | 14 comments I wrote my first work, The Last Day of Captain Lincoln, as I was coping with my grandmother's long decline and eventual demise from pancreatic cancer. In my particular case, I somehow managed to channel a good part of my grief into a sweet little book about grappling with life and death, filled with all sorts of things--poetry and philosophy, music and religion--which helped me through this troubled time. So to answer Mary's question: yes, absolutely. Emotion is paramount to good writing, making the best reading.

I would like to offer a free copy of this novella to anyone here who wants it. As I said, it certainly helped me while I was coping with death. I think it can help others too. Please message if you want a copy.

EXO

The Last Day of Captain Lincoln


message 20: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) Writing has certainly helped me to put a lot of things in perspective, and some of my experiences do end up in my work in some form.


message 21: by V.W. (new)

V.W. Singer | 141 comments I do not experience grief. Sadness perhaps, but not grief, so it has no bearing on my writing.


message 22: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 2886 comments Yes, I do.

I wrote Kero Crosses The Rainbow Bridge after losing my dog, for example. He was very special to me, and writing that story helped me deal with losing him.


message 23: by Effie (new)

Effie Kammenou (effiekammenou) | 720 comments Mary,
I started writing because I needed an outlet for my grief. In interviews, when I'm asked what inspired my book, this is how I've responded:

About five years ago when I started to write my blog, I also occasionally contributed to a regional magazine, but it wasn’t until my mom died that I began to write Evanthia’s Gift. I started writing the novel as a way of working through my grief. My mother was an amazing woman of inner strength. She fought pancreatic cancer for two and a half years. Through her surgeries and chemo treatments, she spent time with everyone in the family, soaking up every last minute she had on earth. She was the inspiration for the character of Anastasia. When my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the memories of growing up with the foods from our Greek heritage became even more important to preserve, as well as the recipes she now entrusted in my hands.

I’d always had a story in my head. I would sometimes daydream, and being the actress that I was, create scenes in my head, and develop characters. I thought that someday I might write it all down, but I wasn’t sure where to start. Then my mother passed away. I started to write in order to work through my grief. I came up with a character that was inspired by her. It was a way for me to honor her, and the heritage she cherished. I combined the story that I’d developed over the years with the one I created inspired by my mother. The result was a beautiful love story and family saga.
I'm sorry for your losses. It is so difficult to lose anyone that you love.


message 24: by Lenita (new)

Lenita Sheridan | 1010 comments My father died in 2008. Before that, my brother had died from complications due to a bicycle accident (he was left a quadriplegic from the accident). After my father died, my husband asked for a divorce. He died later (we were best friends even after the divorce). Now it's just my mom, myself, and my dog. When they're gone I plan to keep a journal every day. Then it will be just me and God. Right now I write fiction (fantasy) and that is my outlet for now. It seems to work. Being left all alone by my ex-husband actually freed me up to write. Without his leaving me I would never have become a self-published author. Not that I wanted him to die. We were friends. I just wanted him out of my house. It's too stressful to live together when you're divorced. So, yes, I understand grief and writing through it.


message 25: by Mary (new)

Mary Hogan | 122 comments Peggy wrote: "Mary wrote: "Does anyone find that writing is the way they PROCESS difficult emotions? I wrote a whole novel in the aftermath of my sister's passing. Now, sadly, my brother died suddenly and I find..."

Peggy, I totally agree that the loss of a pet can be devastating. Our vet told us that the reason pet grief is so profound is because it's the only pure, uncomplicated love in our lives. I'm sorry you had to endure that.


message 26: by Mary (new)

Mary Hogan | 122 comments Effie wrote: "Mary,
I started writing because I needed an outlet for my grief. In interviews, when I'm asked what inspired my book, this is how I've responded:

About five years ago when I started to write my bl..."


I was so moved by your story, Effie. There is something about the process of feeling, thinking and writing that helps us makes sense of the unfairness of loss, don't you think? For me, it was as enlightening as it was healing.


message 27: by Dwayne (new)

Dwayne Fry | 349 comments Mary wrote: "Does anyone find that writing is the way they PROCESS difficult emotions?"

Perhaps not the way, but certainly a way. And I use writing as a way to process all emotions. I let it all fall into my stories.


message 28: by Effie (new)

Effie Kammenou (effiekammenou) | 720 comments best way to express myself. my one sister talks little about anything and lives like nothing happened. She tries to live through rose colored glasses. my other sister is the opposite. She is finding it hard to move on and seeks mediums and cries a lot. I am an optimist, but not to the extent of the one sister. Getting my feelings out on paper was so helpful. I won't say that I didn't sob through the writing at times, I did, but at least my emotions came out and I was able to resolve them and make peace with them.


message 29: by Peggy (new)

Peggy A. | 38 comments Mary wrote: "Peggy wrote: "Mary wrote: "Does anyone find that writing is the way they PROCESS difficult emotions? I wrote a whole novel in the aftermath of my sister's passing. Now, sadly, my brother died sudde..."

Agreed. Thank you. Writing our book, Taking Care of Little Snoogie, and connecting with people throughout the country who are working with animal rescues, charities, and causes has also been very helpful. As soon as I can figure out how to use Goodreads, I am hoping to connect with other people this way too.


message 30: by Marc (new)

Marc Nash (sulci) | 752 comments yes my father's attempted suicide when I was 18 years old is a subject I keep returning to in my fiction writing. But to work through it takes some unexpected forms (by which I mean it's not just a straight treatment of it down the line). Sometimes it's a small theme in a book, or other times the whole book is based around it. I'm unsure if I've fully worked through it now or not, as I've no plans for writing about it again, but you never know that may change. Also he died last year so that may also finally lay the issue to rest.


message 31: by Peggy (new)

Peggy A. | 38 comments The work of psychologist Dr. James Pennebaker and his students on the therapeutic, healing, aspects of writing is very interesting.


message 32: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Mary wrote: "Does anyone find that writing is the way they PROCESS difficult emotions? I wrote a whole novel in the aftermath of my sister's passing. Now, sadly, my brother died suddenly and I find myself turni..."

I am so very sorry for your loss ... and I completely understand. I have had six deaths in my family and circle of friends in the past six months.

The answer to your question, though, is "it depends." I find that just now I cannot focus well enough to work on either of my WIPs.


message 33: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie  | 20 comments Mary wrote: "Does anyone find that writing is the way they PROCESS difficult emotions? I wrote a whole novel in the aftermath of my sister's passing. Now, sadly, my brother died suddenly and I find myself turni..."

My heart breaks to hear of your losses. Please accept my condolences as well. It has to be incredibly difficult to lose siblings, I go into depression when my pets pass.

As far as the writing is concerned, I find that writing is my catharsis for everything- be it happy, sad, angry, whatever. It's why I keep a journal. It helped me survive adolescence and helps me cope with life.

For me, I find sadness tends to bring out the poetry in me. I am more inspired in my stories by everyday life (so all the emotions, I guess). I think if we write, we write no matter what (even if sometimes we feel stuck, the impetus to do it is there).

I hope the story you are writing helps you cope during this difficult time. Best of wishes!


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