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.