Writing During a Disaster by Warren Bull
Everyone experiences disasters — deaths of loved ones, failed love affairs, firings, financial blowouts, health issues, robbery, assaults and more. I have been through most of the above. There are, of course also natural disasters — fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, floods and other dangerous events that are completely out of control. By luck, I have avoided most of those.
Most people who survive disasters talk about them to friends and family. Others talk to therapists as part of the recovery process.
We writers are no less prone to having catastrophes in our lives, but we have an additional coping tool with our writing.
When the universe reminds me that I am a tiny speck in the overall picture, there is a neural connection in my brain that fires the “I can use this in my writing” synapse. It does not fire until after the events, sometimes years after the events.
Anger about my divorce fueled my first lengthy writing project that I thought at the time qualified as a novel. Of course, it was entirely fiction. Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental. If the vixen in the pages sounds and acts like my ex, it is strictly intentional.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, I could pour out my helplessness and despair in writing. While clueless people talked to me about my bravery, I was able to write about my total cowardice. I was not willing to say out loud that I did not volunteer for the disease. I could write that I did not get cancer to save anyone else from the disease. I wrote that cancer had nothing to do with deserving, integrity, worthiness or morality. Writing helped me gain some degree of perspective. As one man put it, “All God’s children catch cancer.”
I would not have been able to cope as well if I were not a writer.