I’m currently writing a piece that is about a woman, looking at the body of her husband, and her conflicted feelings about the death of some one she had to care for for years.
It’s kind of about my mum, but not my mum. I have no idea how she felt when my dad died. I’ve never had to provide ongoing care to someone other than my kids, and they grew up. So I’m wandering in her imaginary head, putting thoughts in there that probably never existed there. She’s no longer around to object.
Still, it’s oddly cleansing to do it.
My family never talked about anything like feelings. We weren’t really supposed to have them. We weren’t supposed to love or care or talk about how we felt about anything.
A lot of the time it was pretty lonely, and I’m still learning valuable life lessons about interdependence and letting go and allowing myself to ask for what I want out of life and relationships. I still don’t talk about feelings much, except perhaps with my galpals, and maybe not even then.
But the feelings go into my writing. They make me write dark or funny or bitter or sweet (not too much of the latter, mind). They make me have to write. So maybe it’s a good thing we didn’t talk about them much. I have a rich, untapped vein, ready for the mining.
So off I go, making up vicious thought, killing off people or having them kill. Playing with their hearts and minds to rehearse what normal relationships might feel like, what malign ones might do to a person.
Some things won’t see he light of day – too dark, too personal. But when I write close to the bone, that’s when my writing is best. Tis a conundrum.