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02 February 2010

"A kind of double living"

Monday got away from me, but that's why God made Tuesday, right?

"Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind." ~ Catherine Bowen, Atlantic, Dec. 1957

"A kind of double living."

It's true. The good, the bad, the crazy, we, as writers, always live it twice. (Sometimes more than twice if you edit like I do!) It's our way of coping, of explaining the deep thoughts that bombard all humans at any given time. We write vignettes and essays, explaining away our pain or joy in metaphors and terms of magic. We abuse our characters by killing their parents, pitting them against bullies and breaking their fragile hearts again, and again, and again. Why? Because it helps us deal with our own loss, our own pain, our own conflict.

Some people go to the gym to de-stress. Some eat, some sleep, some pray. And some write. We write to try and make sense of the senseless. We write to get revenge. We write to make things right. How would we have done that different if only we'd known what we know now? We can never go back. A lot we can never change. But on paper, we are the foragers of destinies. We can, in our own, puny ways, make amends. Even if the only person with whom we make things right is ourselves. Sometimes that's enough.

When you write, allow yourself to open to the ever expanding range of emotions. You will be assaulted, you will be bombarded. A lot of writers hold back for fear of having to face the pain all over again. Don't. Someone out there needs your pain. Why? Because it may lessen theirs. Or, and this is most humbling, it may just remind them that they are not alone.

Happy writing, even from the hard places,
Jen

26 comments:

Brian Miller said...

writing is great therapy....good thoughts here today. smiles.

Erin Kuhns said...

Your blog entry really spoke to me today. You have offered a pretty fantastic perspective that I needed to see.

Thank you.

arlee bird said...

I find that the difficult times are the easiest, though not the most pleasant, times to remember, relive, and recreate to more detail. In my good times I'm having so much fun that I often don't see details and focus on how I really feel. Whereas, bad times seem to last forever and every nuance of how I feel and what the world around me is like is something I dwell on at the time and can later remember in more detail. I don't let the past rule my present or hinder my future, it's just there if I need to dig up those emotions and I can look at them with greater objectivity.

Annette said...

I agree with Brian - writing is great therapy. Many snippets that I write are for therapy - the ugly, unkind, vengeful, cruel thoughts that sometimes assail my mind go here. Never to see the light of day again.

You are right, Jen. Some need to see the pain to realize they are not alone.

Elana Johnson said...

Twice? Maybe like ten times, at least. But this is so true. I love the quote.

Karen Walker said...

Wow, Jen, so eloquently put. It's so true.
karen

Kristi said...

Beautifully stated...loved this post...thank you!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I loved this. That quote is absolutely beautiful - and so true! This really hit me, Jen. It touches on my here and now and lifts my spirits. Thank you!

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Jen..you have a way with the written word, my friend


sending love
kary

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Me too, Friend. Me too. Love you!

Ratty said...

I love reading things like this from you. This is another one that has given me inspiration. I now have thoughts to write some things that I never considered before.

Kittie Howard said...

yes, writing is great therapy...writing grabs wispy clouds and makes them whole...writing allows the fingers and mind to dance to whatever music the imagination hears....

Betsy said...

double living...I love that! :)

Carla Gade said...

Oh, it's so true. And maybe many times over.

Tabitha Bird said...

Oh yes. a double kind of living. I love that. I think writing is also a double kind of seeing. Like we have 3D glasses and everyone else is watching 2D :)

thank you for the lovely paper that I won. It arrived yesterday and my son and I have been having a lovely time creating pictures and writing on it for his grandmother who is in hospital. I thought that was a fitting use for such beautiful paper. Thanks again :)

Helen Ginger said...

It is interesting that writers often experience the emotions of their lives and of lives they've never lived.

Helen
Straight From Hel

boniourkee said...

Necessity is the mother of invention..........................

Mary Aalgaard said...

YES! Absolutely. And, as we're writing it out and trying to make sense of the world, injustices, emotions, people, the readers are so grateful that we've put into words the very things that they experience. Amen!

deb said...

deep sigh,
This was perfectly timed my friend.

love to you for this.

Terresa said...

It's from the hard places that when we write, we learn and teach the most, I think.

Staying safe may be cozy, but is not a way to push, stretch, create.

A fine quote and post, girl.

Jennifer Shirk said...

That's a really great reminder. And isn't that why we all read to "feel" something or something different? great post. :)

Lin said...

I really like this, Jen. Writing has saved me. Saved me from all those emotions that I needed to process. All those thoughts that nobody else would understand. Ah, it just feels good to put it down in words and sometimes somebody actually reads them........and likes them.

:) It's good to write.

faerwillow said...

~your words powerful and true...when i started my blog i said to my husband if only it is one person who reads what i write or sees the pictures i take and can feel what i am expressing then i would be happy...i would have made a change...beautiful and thank you so for sharing...words live on forever...brightest blessings~

Tamika: said...

Sometimes writing does come from the hard places. It opens us and then it heals us.

Mmm said...

Ah, that's why I don;t write fiction--simply can;t abuse my characters enough. Nice write up here, Jen.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Hi Jen...thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and visit at Farmhouse....love having you over for some warm bread and tea, my friend....

sending love
kary