I’ve heard plenty of writers say they do their best work when they’re going through loss and hardship. There’s something cathartic, after all, in getting it all out there. Putting pain on paper seems to distance us from it, at least a little. Writing can put things in perspective and let us see our thoughts more clearly.
And then there is 2016. A year of upheaval at levels many of us have never experienced. Yet one might say that most of what has happened isn’t quite personal enough. Things like the deaths of so many beloved celebrities, and a 70-year-old toddler getting closer by the day to running the White House, affect us but they don’t. I realize there are many out there who have experienced the rise of Trump as a personal change in their lives, however I can only speak from the sidelines in Canada on this. Despite the distance, I’m still quivering in fear.
Will the upheaval end with the new year? Probably not. It feels somewhat delusional to believe the number 2017 is mystical enough to somehow make the aging celebrities we all love and cherish immortal.
All this up-in-the-air-ness makes it hard for me to write. I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to figure out why, and all I can come up with is that I have no idea what I’m looking forward to. When I’m grieving, I have an idea. Though depressing, I at least know the person or thing I’m grieving for is gone. Would I trade this uncertainty for the absoluteness of grief? No way. But I still have to find a way to proceed with things as they are.
So, I look back on what made me begin writing in the first place. Just as reading is an escape for so many millions of people, writing is mine. When I’m in a world of my own creation, I’m not here. True, I’m not always certain where my characters are going, but I can live with that. Their adventures, even if disastrous, will not change my life for the worse.
I also feel I must write for all those millions (I should be so lucky to have that many people read me, so let’s say a few of those millions) who need the escape I provide. And lastly, I need to write to know that I’m not alone. And to let others who feel the way I do that they’re not alone.
I need to get back to writing daily. Writing on this blog, that is. I’ve never really stopped; I’m three days away from writing a post for every day of this year on my fiction blog. It’s all that has kept me sane at times.
My new beginning will be Just Jot It January. If I can keep up with that, at least I’ll have the first 31 days of the new year covered. Even if I can’t put my own head-salad into perspective, maybe I can help other people escape theirs for a few minutes a day.
Who’s with me?