Thoughtful Thursdays, writing, and community vs. self-Health Care

This post dates from almost exactly five years ago, during NaNoWriMo, while writing a mere 50k word novel (more like a novella) which I am very appreciative to see being read and even enjoyed by a fellow blogger of much loved virtual acquaintance. The process of writing this short novel took me through some introspection that I hope will be helpful to others. It also makes me wonder about the role of community versus individual work on trauma recovery, and … I am a plotter, by the way! 🙂 Planning out the timeline and locations was enjoyable, and a bit cathartic, as I brushed the dust of the setting off of my feet, emotionally.

The tension between writing for myself and writing for others hangs over my head as I plan my current WiP (now, in 2020), rather far removed from this, my second NaNo novel, in 2015, in both time and mindset, given that I’ve escaped the situation that gave rise to this particular novel(la).  Yet that tension between over-sharing of emotional elements vs. writing for an audience remains, as trauma leaves its indelible mark, in the themes that return over and over again, even when settings, genre, and characters are all different.

Now I know why I avoid writing. And Frida’s story.
People came up to me after every production of that play to tell me how amazed they were, how I looked like the splitting image of Frida, and was I Mexican or Mestisa. Well, yes, as an African American of light skin with Cherokee blood, yes, I am technically a mestisa. And the splitting was happening in my own head (maybe more afa my roommates were concerned).
It’s not just to be more practical, find paying work, mend the shirts and weave a few more belts to give as birthday and holiday gifts. Those are all ‘legitimate’ reasons to avoid my writing, but I know deep down why I avoid it. Just as much as why I am compelled to write, anyway. On chapter 9 of my 50k word story, I feel the same pain, but emotionally mostly, that I felt when I played Fridah Kahlo in a community theatre for a few months. And I didn’t even have a speaking part. I just danced with furniture and la-la-lahed a bit. Nevertheless, by the end of the 6 week run, I was having back aches and depressions that made my roommates ask if acting was not a bad idea, and whether I had multiple personality disorder (sorry, now they call it Dissociative Disorder, which actually is more accurate…). And I had to ask if they were right.
Writing this damnable novella makes me feel like I am right back there, stomach cramps and all, and it is liberating yet terrifying at the same time. Can I now face what I was not strong enough to face then, and do it in a way that is not too terrible for others to read, even others who have not lived through such things? Can I write a book that other folks will actually want to read, yet that will move them so that they can understand the perspective of someone who grew up in various types of pain, and more importantly, so that they will be moved to want to learn more about how to help all of our society, by learning how to help all of us work through our individual and collective pain and help each human being reach his or her full creative potential? Can I overcome my own fear to even get to a place to really really want to do that, and then, can I do it?
Thanks for reading this, and even more thanks my friends, if you can add your pebble to building the new edifice that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr spoke of, when he said that the structure that produces poverty needs to be rebuilt.
Here’s to rebuilding, pebble by pebble,
let our mourning not be in vain,
16.11.12015 HE

I think that this post dates from the day after the Bataclan attacks, in Paris.

So, it turns out that I did finish writing the 2015 book, rewriting twice, then throwing out part of the third rewrite.  More on my continuing striving with my thought next time, if you don’t mind?

Yassas,   γεια σας!    Salût !  Nos vemos!  Görüşürüz!     ! שָׁלוֹם

Action Items in support of community inclusion that you can take right now:

1.) Consider the dichotomy between individual trauma recovery (with the attendant need to share that trauma in order to feel heard) and community tranquility.

2.) Share your thoughts on the role of the community in helping trauma survivors to feel fully included in community with us in the comments, here, please.

(Did I mention that Universal Health Care with extensive early childhood severe trauma therapy would really help many individuals, and thus, society as well??)

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write

Stayed on Freedom's Call: Cooperation Between Jewish And African-American Communities In Washington, DC, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plans)!


NaNoWriMo 2020 CE

November, 2020 CE = 12020 HE

(The previous lesson plan since this post, and the most recent lesson plan…)

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones by ShiraDest is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

31 thoughts on “Thoughtful Thursdays, writing, and community vs. self-Health Care

    1. Cool, thank you, Dolly: which one? 🙂
      Just joking, I assume you mean the NaNo novel referred to in this post, vs. the one I really want folks to read (Stayed on Freedom’s Call), which I probably ought to post about more often.
      I hope that you find it enjoyable reading, but it not, please do not feel obligated to read the whole novel.
      I hope that you had a good day, yesterday, and please accept my apologies for the delay in replying to your comment.
      Much love to you as well,

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No apologies necessary, dear Shira. Yes, I am reading the one referenced in your post. I have been busy, though, with students using their weekend off to bombard me with questions, comments, and desperate end-of-semester pleas.
        Big air hugs,

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I doubt ‘society’ will ever have the generosity of spirit to accept people with PTSD. I realise, through experience, there are very few professionals who can deal with severe childhood trauma or even cases of assault in adulthood. One tends to despair of ever being heard and understood. A LOT of the responsibility for healing is put on the ‘victim’s’ shoulders. I am beginning to accept dealing with trauma can be addressed on a spiritual level. That excludes organised religion!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely right that victims do get blamed, very very often, both for the initial events and also for slow healing. And much of organised religion exacerbates the problem, true, but there are also parts, even of some org. religions, that help: witness my ancestors, for instance, both those who were enslaved up until the end of the US Civil War, and even those who were free before the war -they absolutely had to draw upon the faith provided by religion in order to survive. The Quakers bought and freed my 5xs gr grandfather (Miles Manzilla), so not all organised religion can be blamed. There are also progressive streams of many religions currently working to build empathy and justice in this world -look at Abraham Joshua Heschel, who marched in Selma, Alabama, with the Reverend Dr. King. Both men were deeply religious, and that faith helped them do great and difficult things to make the world a bit better.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. LOL!! 🙂 Yes.

          I suppose that sometimes the exception proves the rule, yet even the Catholic church provided sanctuary to my Great Grandmother and her siblings after the murder of my gr. great grandfather, who’d described Catholicism as ‘a great evil from which the Negro people had at least been spared’ before his own kids end up converting in the orphanages! But my great aunt’s entrance into the convent enabled her to teach, to bring one brother and both sisters to safe haven (I presume that’s why they were in DC when she went to the Mother House in Baltimore), and even to leave a legacy for later generations to understand what happened to destroy a once prosperous Black family.

          Liked by 2 people

            1. I don’t think that Black culture was lost, initially, do to missionary efforts. It took time, other resources, and other interests to make that loss of culture happen.

              At this point, given the destruction of both Black American (via The Middle Passage) and African cultures via colonisation, the work of the missionaries has to be seen as a mixed blessing: the extraction of value from Africa was happening, and the empirial powers (both European and Arab, then Ottoman) were too well placed, in a variety of ways to prevent the exploitation of divisions, even if fully uniting had been an option, so the only remedy once the stripping of resources was complete was the missionaries.


  2. Having now finished Hubris and Hemlock, I can see why writing it was such a difficult process. I found the suicidal ideation in the later chapters a tough read and I can only imagine the process of writing. Still, an engaging story that kept my attention and I liked how the ending had a redemptive element that didn’t feel contrived. I hope the redemptive element is also based in real life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, again, JYP.
      Sorry about the tough parts, which I tried to lighten a bit where I could, via Marie. I’m really glad it was still egaging. Unfortunately, the ending chapter was entirely wishful thinking, as the book was aimed at people who apparently never did and never will read it. While the problem issues of chapter 17 and 18 were real, the events and personages were not. Well, Marie is based on someone in my life from when I was very young, so I used that memory to construct a helpful friend and write an outcome that I’d hoped to be possible. Unfortunately, ma belle famille ne m’aimait point, et donc cette espoire ettait un mensonge, mais, j’avais eu l’espoir de qu’ils puent lire le livre et rendre-t-ils compt du gravité du probleme, mais ils n’avaitent pas fait, et donc il m’a fallu fuir du pays en lessant toutes mes choses la-bàs sauf mon ordi.
      A friend of a friend did play part of the role of Marie, remotely, in encouraging me to leave, which helped tremendously when I did so.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Merci, JYP. Non, pas encore, mais j’apprends vivre avec la solitude, et pour le moment, ça me va. Il me semble que je tiens mieux avec cette isolement que la pluspart des gens, cars, ça m’epargne d’avoir affair avec le monde. Je rests chez moi et je suis en sûreté dans ma chambre. Pour l’instant c’est bien, et j’ai commencé a me chercher ou m’en vas avec mes épargnes.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. After months of thinking of how Grandma Marie would have
      (and I see that the link in ch. 18 can’t be copied and pasted: ), reacted, and realizing that that redemptive ending was just not going to happen, I decided that I had too much potential to contribute to let myself die in a cold damp house in Brittany, and that she’d have been both furious and disappointed with me, just like the Marie I created in H&H, so I made an exit plan and called a friend back in DC to coordinate.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you, that’s what I think, too. At least now I have a chance to write a decent story for myself. I just wish that Judaism had some sort of a monastic tradition. Like my great aunt, who became a nun and teacher, I wish for some order where I can live with others who want to do Tikkun Olam.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That would be really cool actually. One downside of Judaism being such a family centric religion is the focus on family really leaves out a lot people not living in that household/family structure who want to be an active part of the community. I think the way singles/childless/childfree people get treated in too many Jewish communities is really unfortunate.

            I’m totally picturing a monastery similar to Sister Act with Whoopi Goldberg leading the choir because I have no frame of reference for this, but you have to admit, a Jewish version of that with Tikkun Olam focus and that music would be kind of awesome.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. It totally would be! 🙂 I’ve been trying to think of ways to start a secular abbey or convent for years, but it’s not really a practical idea without land, money, contacts and a lot of extrovert energy, at least at first, I imagine.

              Liked by 1 person

Please Share your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s