Sunday, August 2, 2009

Writing's Wounds

They say write what you know, and I've found that when I do, it is easier. When something's buggin' me or truly eating me up, writing is therapeutic. That's no secret. And when I write about the girls, it makes the experience that much sweeter. I chew it, taste it, swallow it. I want those moments to last, to linger. In reliving them, the moments are lengthened. I once again experience the humor or the connection or the words or the giggles. It's not only permanently in my brain; it's immortal now 'cause it's in writing.

When I write about something that hurts, it is as though the act of writing bleeds the pain from me. That doesn't mean I'm painfree when I'm done, but writing does relieve the pressure of the pain.

I went back this morning to the chapter about Mom's funeral for my memoir about the girls. It flows better, but I'm just not sure about it yet. It may be too matter of fact. But I don't want it to be mushy either. I don't usually have this problem; I can judge pretty well. But with this - I'm too close to it, though it has been nearly six months that she died. It's still raw in many ways. So, I need to let the chapter sit for a bit.


  1. Amen! The process of writing can be beneficial in many ways. As you noted, gestation and judgement can be beneficial to the quality of the finished text. Do you refine as you go? Search for the right words for a while or just try to get it down first and edit it during a second phase?

  2. I do both. I try to choose my words carefully as I go. Then I also go back and revise. Aram Saroyan, one of my instructors at 'SC, said you can never say no during the first draft. Just get it down, as you said, John. And that helps a lot. Then, I go back and fix and fiddle until it feels right.