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,
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:
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
NaNoWriMo 2020 CE
November, 2020 CE = 12020 HE
Shira Destinie Jones by ShiraDest is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.