My friend is having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad month. To compound her personal problems, people around her are also going through some bad times.

Sitting on the outside, I can see all the positive possibilities that are often harder to see when you’re in the middle of the maelstrom. Namely, I see the writing potential. All those personal, first hand details and reactions! Very voyeuristic, very self-indulgent, very exciting. Ahem.

But, I also see writing as a sort of safety blanket. Even if I can’t come up with anything cohesive, just writing about what’s going on around me and in my head is cathartic.

In high school, I wrote a fantasy novel. There were many sword fighting scenes that I wrote in order to get out my aggression. I also killed off a character I liked. His death scene was the most edited scene of the whole book. If I was angry, mournful, vengeful, angst-y, whatever, I would tweak the wording of the sword play or rewrite how it felt to be felled by a sword or completely change the heart-felt final exchange between the characters. The book isn’t fit for human consumption, but it certainly served its purpose back then.

How do you deal with tough times? Writing? Drawing? Punching bag?

4 thoughts on “Catharsis

  1. Unfortunately for me, I’m one of those people who deal with tough situations with denial and escapism. I think writing about things is a lot healthier than trying to sleep until the storm blows over or reading books to distract from reality. 😛 But I have come up with a lot of story ideas due to difficult times I went through. Can’t wait to capture them in words. 🙂

  2. Great post!
    I seem to have gone through a couple of stages by now. When I was young, I would write something happy when I felt sad. Escapism, perhaps, but it helped me deal with my problems, gave me a breather. Then, for a period of a couple of years, I explored my problems through writing. Now I am in a third kind of stage where I think I do a little of each depending on the state of mind and the problems I am having.
    Well, however you choose to use it, I beleive that writing is a powerful ally.

  3. Linda, I have that desire to stick my head in the sand, too. Sadly, nothing good ever comes of that. Life would be so much easier if it did, though. But I’m glad you’ve got a well of good story ideas to draw from!

    M, how were you able to write something happy when you were sad?! What’s your secret? I can always write sad, but it’s so hard to write happy. Hmm, that probably deserves some analysis…

    • I’ve been told that one of the great classic composers (eludes me which one at the moment) wrote happy, little pieces when he was upset and powerful, dramatic music when he was happy.
      – But I don’t know the mechanics behind it. I think that when I write, I can either use writing to put distance between myself and the world around me (or inside certain areas of my mind) or to get closer to those things. I can get away for a while or examine what is going on. I think that’s the best way I can describe it.

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