I read “The Deception of Livvy Higgs” by the wonderful writer Donna Morrissey, while simultaneously realizing I couldn’t attend her evening class as planned due to a minor flare up of my MS which seems to be hanging on, alas.
Then I went to a lecture about MRIs and MS which of course depressed me further as I wander about imagining my swelling itchy brain dying by inches, leaving gaping holes where once my creative spark flew. Self-pity abounded.
But I’m not alone. I also teach a course in living well with chronic disease and we discussed feelings this week, and so many are living with sorrow, fear of disability, aging, pain. My dear friend lives with a level of pain I could never bear, handles it most of the time, probably more of the time than she should, strictly speaking, for her own health. She is a marvel and I love her dearly and worry about her, though she’d insist she’s okay…
So what has this to do about writing? Well, as I read through Morrissey’s book, filled with family lies and damages done by them, I realized that what calls me to stories is the pain. The sense of overcoming challenges, damaged but still strong. The whole hero’s journey thing. And when I write well, I dip into that pain, I reach into my head and pull out the icky bits, the bits where no one spoke to me in eighth grade, the time my ex abandoned me, the memories of a mother I never understood and her loneliness. It’s not always pleasant exploring in that area, but it is where the writing is best.
I’m working on a third piece for my three novella set about religious confusion. Going to be dealing with evil in this one, and it worries me a bit. I’ve met evil, heck, I have some in my very own family here and there, and I’m sure deep down there’s an evil fibre in me, too. Now I have to tease that out and face it, straight up. Because evil and sorrow are inextricably linked, and to purge one, you must purge the other.