Monday, August 19, 2013

Writing through Crises

People have lived through worse, but this has been a difficult period for me. After planning and organizing for a couple months to arrange for a new place to live, I spent four days in that place before having to move again. This time with no plan and no opportunity to organize. Not really like surviving a natural disaster, but there are similarities. Most of my possessions are inaccessible, being in storage. I'm living out of a suitcase with relatives. My resources are limited and I have no idea where I'll go from here. I'm in a daze, maybe it's shock, grieving for a lost sense of stability, fearful I may never find it again.

And yet -- this is also a reminder of how much more there is to life than my possessions or a single place I might call home. The friends and family who've stepped up to help are particularly dear. Participating in my communities reminds me of a whole other kind of stability that I still retain. I can still join members of my local chapter of RWA for a meeting. We still share our interests and goals. I can join friends for a board game party where the people and games have been a recurring part of my life for years and remain as an island of normalcy - though they might be surprised to hear themselves referred to as such. I can still work on a story manuscript that's been an ongoing project for the last few months.

Writing offers me the opportunity to create a whole alternate world I can carry around with me. Wherever I happen to be living, whatever my circumstances, the world of the story is part of me. It offers a stability that doesn't rely on fickle variables like landlords and employment or clement weather.

My personal crisis gives me plenty of sympathy for the plights my characters experience. My difficulties and the ways they impact my spirits and motivation are fodder for my imagination, deepening my understanding of my characters. The very things that trouble me lend substance to the world of my imagination that sustains me through troubled times - and by taking the time and trouble to do the writing and editing and make my stories available, I'm sharing my islands of stability with anyone who cares to join me there.


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I'd tell you to take notes, but I'm sure this unstable, unfortunate period will remain indelible in your mind.

Don't know the circumstances, but you are correct that the big lesson is in putting your possessions in perspective. It took a fire when I was 9 to remind me that nothing is forever. Only our loved ones, dead or alive, remain in our hearts.

I'm no longer a thing worshipper.

Naomi Stone said...

Wow. That's a big lesson to learn so young in life.

I'll have to admit that I like things - at least the useful and enjoyable sort that I tend to keep around and rely on for their usefulness. Part of what makes this period difficult is not knowing where to put my hands on this or that item - like my kitty's pooper scooper - when need it.

But, yes. I can borrow one from family, and the things definitely take second place to the people and creatures who are irreplaceable.

Anonymous said...

A young dude once asked advise on how to evolve stories. I smiled and jested, "Draw from the human condition." After allowing the sentiment to soak in for ten seconds I shared that, IMO, most good story lines are drawn from sufferance with what it means to be human and struggle through life's dark times. Cancer, a lost child, infidelity, abandonment by a spouse, a hundred other conditions reflect what we learn as we stubble through the bumpy times of existence.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Naomi Stone said...

Stories do give us a chance to take our suffering and transform it, gain new perspective on it and hopefully learn something useful in the process.

Liz Fountain said...

Let's hope this difficult period is over soon, and when it resolves, you find a deep wellspring of creativity in its place.


Naomi Stone said...

Thanks, Liz!

Rita Bay said...

I am SO sorry for your loss and hope you'll get everything settled soon. Glad that you have a support system to see you through it all. Rita

Inez said...

This is fantastic!