Tag Archives: writing challenges

Writing the victim

Victim_role-300x239I’m battling with my story characters. They have spent a long time not dealing with things, and as such have made themselves victims. The family is destroyed, the relationships between members are severed, and at least one child is severely harmed, and all because the family jointly determined they were victims and pulled the horribleness into bed with them.

It’s not that I don’t sympathize. God knows I’ve been a sucky victimish-assuming type now and again. But it’s hard for me to get into the let’s not deal with things until they destroy ourselves mindset.

Nope, I’m more active. I push at things until disaster hits me full in the face. Why wait, I figure? Why not bring it right on immediately, and devil take the hindmost if other people aren’t ready to take it on at the same time…

Not that that’s any better, mind. In fact, it’s often worse. But it’s where my bull-in-a-china-shop mind takes me. So dealing with my more passive characters is a challenge. And it’s very instructive. The more I write them, the more I find it hard to write them.

In amongst this, I find myself less tolerant of victims in general.

Writing is SUCH a fascinating work. In the midst of this story, which I started writing because I was feeling victimized myself, I discover an intolerance I thought I didn’t have. And it’s making it hard to identify with my characters.

So what this tells me is that I’ve got to find additional depth in the characters I’ve written. It’s like finding that one good thing in an evil character that redeems him or her, makes the character believable and even likeable. I’ve got to find that strength in my characters that makes me like them, challenged as they are. Because we all do have that strength, the strength to choose the life we want.

Yeah, sometimes we get kicked to the curb, by circumstance, by illness, by lack of resources – but we can control the way we face those challenges. We can stop pulling that comfy blanket of denial and other-blame over our heads and step out into the chill, shake our arms and stomp our feet, and take steps in the direction we want to go. If nothing else, we can change our attitude to the life we are leading and make a positive corner in it.

We may never get to our goals, but we for sure won’t get there by blaming others for our shortcomings or bad choices. At least if we’re walking on our own, we know why we are taking small crooked steps.

Or, in the case of my characters, we can take responsibility for what we didn’t do, and make amends.

Sigh. So back I go….



humid-pic-300x230Ah, you’ve gotta love the Maritimes when they decide to get hot.

On the one hand, my hair looks fabulous. Curly hair + product + humidity = delectable curls.

On the other, I want to cut it all off and let the air cross my fevered skull. I pin it up maliciously and tear it out when the bobby pins have clung too strongly.

Worst thing is my brain goes into park in heat and humidity. I gaze about myself, mouth-breathing, slack-jawed, not a creative cell in my entire little grey collection.

It’s a good job I only really have one deadline to think about – a writing one that I want to do. And one that I’ve already begun, so the words I have to write can be pulled out of the already connected synapses up in my grey fog.

But I know if this humidity doesn’t break soon, I’m going to snap, like theĀ French do during le vent d’autan

Although for my part, a good wind would be appreciated. Right now it’s like living in a dirty damp dishrag. My sheets are wet, my carpet is almost squishy, my cat is morbidly depressed. There’s a persistent feeling of mould.

And even though my delectable curls will become a Phyllis-Dillerish mass, I can’t wait for the rain to collect the humidity and bring it to the ground.

Maybe then my brain will wake up and I’ll be able to think…


excellent drawing by Kate Elizabeth Queram



Sharing a space

I’ve recently invited my long term male friend to come and live with me. He works, while I live the gentler life of a disabled person, with the needs for sleep and aggressive self-care that involves.
Unlike my former husband, who made every departure an event that left me wide awake in the dawn, my new fellah creeps out more silently than a whisper of air. I hear his alarm, and no more. I’m unused to such consideration. It’s lovely.
This morning, it’s my turn to creep out of bed early, heading as I am to day 3 of this course. My legs are more spastic than usual after sitting for two straight days, so I’m stumbling a bit, trying to be as silent as he is, to let him sleep.
What I want to do us turn on some loud, energizing rock and roll, in the hope my brain cells will wake up.
Wouldn’t be fair. So I’ll wait until the car ride, the torque of noise and a large coffee and the wind through the window.
Meanwhile I stare blearily at the overly cheerful shower curtain, waiting for my eyes to silently clear.
Shhhhhh. He’s sleeping.