Weekend Edition: Writing The Hard Stuff

Yesterday, I was reading the blogs that I follow, and I came to Jamie’s “Live to Write-Write to Live” blog titled Writing the Hard Stuff, and I found myself gulping Jamie’s every word. It was a slap upside my head while simultaneously stirring up so much emotion I had buried deep in my heart. I blinked back some tears as I read Jamie’s blog and realized that my last blog was a reblog, but that was August 8th, 2015; the last time I blogged. Why haven’t I blogged since August 8th, 2015?

I don’t believe we stop to consider that as writers we are more alike than not, and especially so when it comes to shutting down to keep from writing the “hard stuff.” That changed for me yesterday as I read Jamie’s blog (a gift) and I also read some of the comments on her blog post. I knew it was time to “disarm the villains by meeting them in the inky gloom, welding my pen like a sword that cuts through the dark to let in the light.”

For more of my life than not, I have checked out annually, frequently beginning around October and re-emerging sometime in January or February. The time periods when my demons have grown accustomed to showing themselves and taking over my being; however the demons have been held at bay for several years now. So, what happened this year?

In July of 2014, I lost two aunts to cancer within six days of each other. My one aunt, my Aunt Veronica was the one constant in my life when it came to blood family, and I have yet to come to terms with losing her. 2014 morphed into 2015 when in  March, I lost my adopted (by choice) mother of 90. We brought her to live with us in December of 2014 to improve her quality of life and to keep her safe; we made it to March. 2015 continued to deliver emotional blows that would knock the life out of me for a time.

On June 17th, there was the senseless slaying of nine parishioners during a bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the place I call home. On October 7th, 2015 I tweeted, “I have not been active on social media due to the SC 1000 year flood. #PrayForSC #bloggers #writers I will return soon.” On October 31st, the Russian Metrojet 9268 disintegrated in flight after leaving Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport in Egypt, killing all 224 passengers and its flight crew aboard. On November 13th, multiple terrorist attacks across France resulted in the slaughter of 130 innocent people. On November 22nd, 19 innocent people were killed during a terrorist attack at a Mali hotel. On December 2nd, 14 people were killed, and 22 seriously injured during a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.

On November 13th I awoke early, turned on the news as I do every morning, a habit I have taken to since retiring from active duty after nearly 28 years. Upon learning of the Paris terrorist attack, I immediately grabbed my computer, deactivated my Facebook account, both my personal and my writer’s pages, and I deactivated my Twitter account. My immediate actions were the result of fear; a fear that I have lived with since I retired following two back-to-back deployments that changed my life forever. Fear has become my demon, and it paralyzes me, and there is no medication or anything I can do to rid myself of this crippling emotion except to keep pushing forward, one day at a time – one moment at a time. These are the hard things for me to write about, and yet I know that I must – especially so after reading Jamie’s blog post yesterday.

I have since reactivated my Twitter account and today; I return to my blog. I have not yet revived my Facebook pages, and it may be a while before I feel safe enough to do so. But I know I must write about the hard stuff because although it may not feel like it when we sit down and start writing the hard stuff, we have to believe that it will keep us moving forward.

There are few blog posts that I have reblogged, but I am asking everyone that reads my blog to reblog Jamie’s blog. There are so many of us that need to be made aware of what Jamie has taken the time to share.

Jamie, I don’t know if you know the significance of the gift you have given to me through your blog, Writing the Hard Stuff, but again, with all of my heart, thank you,

Jamie proffered in her blog, Writing the Hard Stuff:

“Today I’d like to add that the world would be an even better place if more people were willing to write about the hard stuff – get in there and get dirty, risk their own vulnerable hearts, share their own pieces of darkness.

Because, despite the perfect lives you see in social media feeds all over the Internet, each of us has our own darkness. Each of us struggles. Each of us lives with a retinue of personal demons who love to creep out of the shadows to taunt and torture us, especially at times – like the holidays – when tension runs high, stress levels are off the charts, and the ghosts of old wounds, regrets, and grief come to visit. The best way I have found to disarm these villains is to meet them in the inky gloom, wielding my pen like a sword that cuts through the dark in order to let in the light.”

Source: Weekend Edition – Writing the Hard Stuff by Suddenly Jamie (Jamie Lee Wallace)

10 thoughts on “Weekend Edition: Writing The Hard Stuff

  1. Thank you so much for this–I immediately went to Jamie’s page to read.

    I am sorry for your recent losses; it’s so hard to lose people you love. Yesterday marked a month that my mom died of cancer. I couldn’t agree more that writing is so much more than words on paper or in the blogasphere. Writing is cathartic, necessary, not always funny or pretty; for me it is my way of dealing with my life and the lives and events around me.

    I decided to write about hard things because they helped me to process them. I also hoped that someone reading them might have been through the same things and gotten some comfort out of what I wrote. Heaven knows I get plenty of comfort and peace from other writers; you included.

    Writing (and reading) about hard things is what helps me through them. It’s not trolling for sympathy, it’s a way to process hard things and perhaps share some insight with others about those hard things.

    Thanks again,


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi D.B. – many thanks for visiting my blog from time to time. And thank you for this brave post. We are all citizens of the world so senseless tragedies like the attack in Paris feel close and personal. I applaud you for sharing your thoughts and feelings and hope 2016 is a break through writing year for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this honest post, Donna. I am going to go read Jamie’s post now, but also wanted to let you know that your post has helped me as well. The horrors of the world have, of course, taken a toll on me, but so have some some things very close to me. These are the things I have the most difficulty writing about, because they involve the privacy of people I care about very much. Still, after reading your post, I’m going to try to write something that won’t infringe on anyone’s privacy, but perhaps also speak to other people dealing with personal stress and anxiety. It’s true that the internet is filled with smiling, shiny pictures of people and very few that expose the pain, and that makes so many people feel sad or like they’re “missing out.” But the bottom line is, I think we’re all struggling with something, and putting it out there is one way of healing and bringing people together. Peace to you in 2016.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I too am sometimes immobilized by the horrors that man perpetrates on man. I become overwhelmed and hopeless, feeling helpless to make even a small difference. But then I remind myself that each connection, each act of caring, each kindness, each loving gesture matters. In sharing our stories we realize that we aren’t alone, and that there are others making those same small cracks in the darkness of despair and letting a little light in. Words are powerful and cathartic, and they have the potential to change our own lives while reaching into the lives of others. Write those words that count, those that come from the heart and the deep places where the pathos of what it means to be human is found. I’ll be reading <3

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As Jamie said, we all have our private darknesses. For me, writing is the companion that helps to see me though. Depression, grief, and illness definitely affect my writing and my process, but eventually, there’s always a light. This isn’t, and can’t, sadly be true for everyone. We all have to find our own ways back. Glad that you’re on the path.
    Best wishes and virtual hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great article(s)! There is so much sadness and grief around us, sometimes within us, and we never know what the person we meet (or see every single day) is dealing with internally, quietly and personally. It helps to know that we are not alone in our grief, nor in our fears, whatever they may be. No matter what our story is, it can touch and encourage someone else. Yes, write about the hard stuff; if it helps difuse the darkness for you, it will certainly help to push away the fears and insecurities for the rest of us, as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As I said in my tweet, I’m very touched by what you have shared in this post. And, I am honored to know that my own sharing played a small part in restoring your writing practice.

    I have been making notes for a post about writing in the face of all the horror that is out there in the world. Though I did not go so far as to deactivate any of my online accounts, the shootings in Paris hit a nerve with me as well. For whatever reason, those attacks seemed to focus the grief and the fear for many people. Though I was peripherally aware of the tragedies and atrocities happening all over the world, something about Paris brought all those instances of terror and war home in a way that took my breath away. I wonder if perhaps it is because we associate Paris with art and love and beauty. I really don’t know. What I do know is that in the face of all these heartbreaking and terrifying events, writing suddenly seemed like futile effort. I experienced not only a sense of lost hope, but also almost a sense of shame for spending so much of my time crafting words when all this horror is happening out there, in the real world.

    But, the more I’ve thought about it (and I’ve thought about it a lot), the more I’m realizing that writing is critically important in any crisis. Self-expression, exploring ideas, sharing thoughts, sharing experiences … all of this is so, so needed in these frightening days. It’s hard to write about these things. It’s hard to face what’s there in front of us and find the words to convey our feelings when we can barely articulate them in our own hearts. But, I think that only good can come from making the effort.

    I am very sorry about your personal losses of your aunts, and all these global attacks coming on the heels of that grief, and in such quick succession. I am glad that you are taking steps to return to your writing, and are feeling like you can use your pen to slice through the darkness and let in the light. The world needs more writers who are willing to do just that, so … thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

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