Writing Through It

Joss Whedon quote In the aftermath of last week’s tragedy at Sandy Hook School, I struggled a little about what to write Sunday night. There are movements around the blogosphere for days of silence and tributes to teachers and heartfelt ideas about the appropriate ways to honor the victims of the shooting and their families.

I don’t know much about the appropriate way to respond to what happened last week, because despite learning more about it each day it’s still unfathomable. My head won’t wrap around it, and when I try to force my thoughts into a logical row, tears fall.

I hide them from my children who are too young to be aware of the events that brought down the world of so many Connecticut families Friday. I wonder how to push aside my fear and not let this event loom over each of my thoughts.

Joss Whedon says: “I write to give myself strength …I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.” And in reading those words, I came to terms with the idea that there is no right way to manage our way through something like this. There isn’t a set of instructions to piece together the shattered lives in Newtown. There is no single way to honor the loss of life.

Each of us need to process this loss in a way that feels authentic to us. Sometimes? Writers just write.

Our words might tumble into an emotional blog post. We might fall into a new character and go on a tear towards an unknown conclusion. Some writers wander back to a project fallen into dormancy, needing the comfort of a familiar world. We might scribble on paper and tuck it away, needing to keep some things between us and whatever it is we pray to when we’re watching the clock instead of falling asleep.

My thoughts are with the families in Newtown, their entire community and our whole nation as we take steps to move forward, forever changed.

Do you agree with Joss Whedon? Does writing help give you strength during difficult times?


13 Responses to Writing Through It
  1. Kir
    December 17, 2012 | 11:42 am

    I think I have to say yes. I haven’t WANTED to write, afraid of what would come out..but once I did, Once I let it all flow, I found that it was helping. Reading is helping me too, reading others words.

    This is something that is unimaginable…I mean I have written through infertility, have written through broken hearts and even very happy times…but this tradegy is rattling me. It seems that words are all I really have right now to deal with it.

    This was a very good post, thoughtful…inspiring.

    • angela
      December 18, 2012 | 6:12 am

      Thanks dear :) I haven’t published anything directly related to it yet, but I’m thinking about it :)

  2. Love and Lunchmeat
    December 17, 2012 | 12:27 pm

    Sometimes I write when I’m sad. Other times I prefer to just stare into space and be miserable. Right now, there is so much noise surrounding the shootings, that I hesitate to add my voice to the fray.

    • angela
      December 18, 2012 | 6:02 am

      :( Yes. There’s a lot going on in response to the shootings. I haven’t posted about it yet, but writing through it helped a little, even when the writing was for other projects just to escape for a bit.

    December 17, 2012 | 1:42 pm

    Writing, in all its guises, keeps me sane. I’ll not take up space here with tangents off, on, and maybe about the rationale behind decisions I made long ago. Far nobler to give due credit for a superbly executed, yet poignant article.

    As for the quote. Those are the traits of a noble writer. Admirable, but rarely mine.


    • angela
      December 18, 2012 | 6:01 am

      Always I will take a cookie :) Thanks!

  4. Brianna
    December 17, 2012 | 2:50 pm

    I do. I haven’t written much fiction based around tragedy, but I definitely turn to journaling and memoir to help work through those feelings.

    • angela
      December 18, 2012 | 5:57 am

      It can be interesting to see how our writing differs in terms of fiction/non-fiction and where the different emotions tend to gather.

  5. Laura
    December 17, 2012 | 3:53 pm

    This post hit home with me. All I think about since this happened is writing. I am writing letters and blog posts in my head constantly. I think it helps me personally to get it out there. Great post!

    • angela
      December 18, 2012 | 5:56 am

      I know what you mean. I have about four posts on the backburner about what happened. I don’t know if any of them will actually make it to my blog, but it’s helped me feel more centered to draft them out.

  6. Yvonne Salvatierra
    December 17, 2012 | 10:40 pm

    Writing is my escape. So yes, as a writer, even when I don’t have the words, I find them. I search deep inside, and they emerge, just at the right moment. -Writing is my security blanket.

    • angela
      December 18, 2012 | 5:52 am

      I like that idea: writing as a security blanket.

    • angela
      December 18, 2012 | 5:55 am

      I like that: writing as a security blanket that you can bring out when you really need it!