Friday, July 15, 2011

Making Sense of Life

Nathan Bransford had a post that I knew I had to read just because of the title, Stories Are How We Make Sense of Life.   It’s true.  I think most of you as writers use your writing as a way to process what you see, think, or feel.  Am I the only one like that?

In one paragraph Nathan says   Life is too complicated to hold in your head and relationships are too immense and multi-faceted to easily comprehend. So we write and tell stories to make sense of our relationships and existence.

Not too long ago I used writing to get over my anger at someone who had hurt me.  These feelings had existed between me and the person for over a year and I was tired of being angry, guilty, hurt and sad.  I had tried to get over my feelings for some time but hadn’t been able to.  Until I sat down and wrote everything out, what I felt, why I felt that way, what I was sorry about, how she was a mean nasty person and how she was a wonderful caring person.  After about five pages I was able to close the notebook and start fresh in our relationship.  I’ve never gone back to read what I wrote.  I don’t remember most of it, but along with the ink I bled my emotions onto the paper.  They were too much to handle but getting them out helped me to move on.   

Some of you know that Truck Boy is adopted.  He came into our family after eight years of infertility treatments and three years trying to adopt.  I wrote out a lot of my sorrow during those years and I think that is the only reason I managed to stay so well adjusted.  I use that term loosely.  (we are trying to adopt again if anyone knows of a child who needs a home.  We’re nice people I promise.)

Anyway, my point is that I agree with Nathan, life is complicated and writing helps me deal with it. It is not the only thing that helps, but it is an important part. Not everything I write to make sense of life goes into stories.  Not all the stories I write are about what I personally am dealing with. But dealing with the emotions in my writing helps me focus and understand my own.   How about you?

FYI there are some pretty interesting discussions in the comments section of Nathan's post if you want some weekend reading or need some way to procrastinate writing.


  1. When I write like that - I call'em 'letter bombs' - and they've done their duty as conduits for releasing stuff, I take them out (sometimes years after the event) and ceremoniously burn them ... the ritual of fire is a wonderful transformative process.

    I no longer have them in my physical environment and the energy within them is released from its physical manifestation and returned from whence it came, as simply energy, unfettered from any purpose but its own ...

    Something to think about.

    Also, you may never read them again, but if the internet has taught us nothing else, it's that if it's written down (in whatever form) then sooner or later someone's bound to read it.

  2. That's a valid point. I may have to get out the matches. Thanks.

  3. Writing is such an emotional thing, in many, many ways.

    Love the new look:

  4. It's true - I think I first started writing fiction (I was in grade school) but it's been pretty much parallel; fiction writing and journal keeping. Writing is how I sort things, how I understand things, how I mark important things... You know [g]

  5. Yea, I know, it's great isn't it. Glad I'm not the only one who's like this.