Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

it's all good-- or not

For a writer, everything can be used. Negative or positive, it's what we draw upon when needed for a character or a scene. It's, in short, a good thing to have had all sorts of experiences. For us as humans, we have to take the negative experiences, get through them, but then not let them stalk us with expectations that hurt our present.

For most of us, we have those things, that never in a zillion years would we want to repeat (unless reincarnation is true and we end up having to go through them again in some future lifetime because we didn't learn what we needed). We have learned (hopefully) something from each experience, and it can both color our future in ways that make it better-- or not so much.

Many examples of those things that I'd not want to go through again come from the life on this little ranch with the livestock. If I think back at all, even to write this, there are moments that are very depressing to recall. The ranch has given us great joys, and the knowledge of dreams fulfilled. It also though has forced us to face what most don't have to, as anyone who raises livestock knows. The word unpredictable comes to my mind about so many of the negative experiences. The who would have thought! kind of moments.

I won't repeat them here, as that would be negative for me and not help readers as so often when we hear of someone else's tragedy, we take on their grief. Usually we have enough of our own that it's not good to hang onto that of others.

Still for the writer, those moments are there to use when the setting requires an emotional connection that feels real between the writer and the characters, which hopefully someday leads to the same thing between the characters and a future reader.

In terms of day to day living though, I go with what Eckhart Tolle has said in his book The Power of the Now and other places.
Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.

Life is the dancer and you are the dance.

What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.
As a woman, I try to live in the here and now. As a writer, I pull from all my life experiences, the blessings and the times that felt like curses. Everything is used in the search for the right words, but then has to be left behind again in my daily living. As a human, learning to really let go, to live in the moment, can be one of our toughest lessons. As a writer, nothing is released forever ;).



Celia said...

Learning to let go has been one of the greatest gifts of aging for me. Those voices really do live rent free in our heads until we recognize them and release them to leave room for life "in those moments." What a joy.

Rain Trueax said...

I agree, Celia. And often giving it up, I grab onto it again before I remind myself why this isn't smart ;)

Tara Crowley said...

I'm always surprised when an old feeling/memory pops up and whacks me about. I thought I had left that one behind! Living in the present really is the most tricky thing of all. Whenever we can get there, it is a transcendent joy. Is that how we lived before we were 4 or 5 years of age? I can't remember.

joared said...

I think going into some personal dark space to recall, then describe at the event level, is one thing, but tapping into the story at the feeling level to recount, as in memoir or to recreate in a fictional tale, could be challenging. I've thought trying to leave that space might be a concern though expressing those feelings probably provides a degree of exorcism. I think transitioning back to living in the more positive current moments could even need assistance, or more readily be achieved by having an intimate other(s) present with whom to re-engage. But you are the experienced writer, so would know better than I if such a view is one of needless concern.

I've thought about this in terms of my own life as I occasionally write for myself, but mostly in terms of now-famous writers I've read about who lived alone -- others who withdrew into isolation -- those who sometimes made the bottle their companion. They or others have written about those writers delving into their life, having personal demons interfering with their life and/or driving their writing.

Rain Trueax said...

To use what happened in a fictional work doesn't require what it would to write it in a memoir. You draw on the energy from it and don't need to recall or record all the details. So a tragedy comes to mind when writing a tragedy but the events in the fiction book, for me at least, are always different. All I am doing is bringing the dark feelings to the surface to use words that get across that experience but without reliving my own. I wouldn't want to write a memoir.

Even here at the blog, I stick mostly to ideas, brief experiences, but always at the core is the idea I am interested in exploring. I think that's easier to leave behind than it would be if I was going into my own life day after day to write things I'd rather not relive.

The use of our own emotional experiences can be positive with those times of great joy. I don't necessarily think it's better though to live with them either as that might make a person less satisfied where they are living as great joy can't be every day all the time... at least not in my experience.