Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Writing During a Disaster by Warren Bull

Writing During a Disaster by Warren Bull

Image from Dark Labs on Upsplash

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.


Susan said...

Very well put, Warren, and in these times when we cannot share our humanity in person, we can share it online.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Thank you, Warren! We can support each other on-line, supplying beautiful photos, poems, and memories of better times.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

You've nailed the truth behind much great writing - the humanity of the moment.

KM Rockwood said...

Certainly our writing helps us process all our experiences. Disasters are particularly well-addressed in fiction or nonfiction writing.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Warren, even in the seriousness of the moment your humor shines through. I'm working on the sequel to book two of my series and I whole-heartedly admit to believing I was stuck. Now I realize my muse was trying to process how I could work around the events of COV19. Stay well, and thank you for condensing what so many of us are thinking.

Cynthia Kuhn said...

Thank you so much, Warren, for this thoughtful post and perspective!!