Sunday, February 25, 2007
Are You Living?
If a biblical plague had struck my house this week, I would not have been surprised. To say it has been a rough one is an understatement, but I've learned a lot in the process.
Last weekend, my family lost our beloved grandfather. I've spent the week trying to offer support and a helping hand. Grieving for the man who wasn't related to me by blood, but treated me as a granddaughter, nonetheless. Trying to guide Drama Queen through her first real exposure to death. And just generally slogging through the daily grind despite no get-up-and-go.
Currently, I'm at home with two small, sick children. My husband is out-of-town. And I still feel like I'm living in a brain fog. Get the picture?
This afternoon, I once again fell into the stinkin' thinkin' that I was a lousy writer because I hadn't accomplished my goals this week. (I know, totally unreasonable, but there it is...) Then I remembered something that one of our wonderful Mavens said: "If you don't live, then the creative well will run dry."
What did I really do this week? Live. Deal. Find solutions, both practical and emotional. And each day those experiences were dumped into my creative well to feed the stories and characters in my mind.
How will I be able to portray a grieving woman if I don't know that we all react differently to grief? I tend to shut down, perform competently while feeling like I could sleep for 20 out of 24 hours. But I've seen other women in the family cope by moving constantly throughout the day, distracting themselves with meaningful and meaningless activity. How can I draw a picture of a woman who wants more than anything to make the hurt disappear for her child? A woman seeking to support the man she loves through his own grief and journey toward healing?
Writing, creating comes through living. The ups. The downs. The craziness life throws at us sometimes. We experience it by getting out from behind the computer and interacting with others, supporting others, arguing with others, and watching the world around us.
One day there will be a loveable grandfather in one of my stories. One who wears suspenders, quits smoking cold turkey after 50 years, insists on wearing old, ratty tennis shoes despite his wife's gripes, and teaches two daughters, four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren how a man of integrity really lives.