In the last month, I’ve started writing narratives. I’ve learned something about how to construct them. I’m on the edge of learning the first things about what works and what doesn’t work. I already knew the journey down this road would be long, so I’m aware that there is much more to learn than I have learned.
In reading what I’ve written over the past several weeks, it becomes clear that I am more comfortable writing about emotions that I feel are safe. I’m comfortable writing about the same things I’m comfortable talking about. I need to move beyond that in my life and my writing.
If I want to communicate my passions, I need to learn to effectively communicate uncomfortable emotions. Very, very early in life, I was taught not to acknowledge or express anger, disappointment, or fear. In fact, I was encouraged to dampen all of my emotional responses. I learned my lessons well, and I still struggle to express or, indeed, acknowledge strong emotions.
Last week, I tried to write about anger. In the end, I feel that, just as in real life, I pulled my punches. Part of the problem is that the best of my writing so far is straight from my life. In trying to express anger in writing, I don’t have any good real-life examples. I still don’t openly express anger. I still don’t even identify with anger.
So how do I get through to my passions? Because many of the things I care about stir up feelings of anger. I absolutely get angry when I encounter abuse. Particularly the abuse manifested as benign neglect of children by those charged with their care. I get angry when I see any person exert whatever power they may possess to degrade or deny the humanity or dignity of another. And yet, I absolutely believe in a basic decency that exists in us all. I want to appeal to that decency in my writing, but I also want to champion it. I don’t want to write with an agenda. I don’t want to write narratives that are overtly cause driven or have a moral in mind. I do want to write stories that are authentically human. I can’t run from expressing the emotions that make me passionate if I’m to do the writing I want to do.
I have been reading a lot of advice about writing. On said advice, I’ve been reading quite a lot. This isn’t really a change, but I’ve been reading with a different purpose. I’ve been trying to read the sort of writing I would like to write. Since most of my best stories come from my life, I’ve been trying to be more present and open in my life in the belief that if I live more stories, I will have more stories to write. I still feel blocked from some of the things I feel, but I will keep writing.
Any advice as to what to read or how to proceed from here?