I do need to add a caveat to my original post, though. For the whole "disappearing into your writing to the point where you can't distinguish what's happening on on the page from what's happening in real life" thing to work properly, "real life" has to be sufficiently grim.
Sorry, but that's just the way this works. Intractable problems, major league stresses, seemingly unbearable heartbreak--that's what it takes.
I'm not a huge fan of confessional writing, or using writing as a platform for airing woes, but many of you already know that my life over the past few months has "sucked on all cylinders". (I am, on the other hand, a huge fan of coming up with glib catchphrases, especially ones that don't quite make sense, and that is one of my faves--feel free to RT!)
My problems have, been of the "seemingly unbearable heartbreak" variety (note the seemingly) and they have been my problems, not my children's or anyone else's. Just mine, which is what made them bearable. The fact is, I was always going to tough this out. I had no choice, obviously, but I also knew, from the very beginning, that this situation would not crush me, that despair would not triumph, and that with enough swearing and sufficient quantites of wine, I'd stagger, somewhat reluctantly, away from the pity party at the Hurt Hotel.
So, what does any of this have to do with #tgfw?
Nothing, really. Just wanted to vent...
Seriously, there is a connection. Last week I talked about writing as a helpful means of escape, of it providing a place to hide. I also think that being writers helps equip us for the harshness of real life, just as the harshness of life adds depth and richness to our work.
The biggie is of, course, rejection.
When your writing is rejected, you want to cry, you want to rage against the unfairness of it all--how could something you've worked so hard on, something you devoted your life to, be thrown back in your face as if it were nothing?
It takes time to get over a rejection. It takes time to try again or to start something new.
Rejection in life, or in love, is much the same. It feels like you're being kicked. Hard. Often. Till it hurts so much you can hardly breathe.
But eventually you get up, even when you'd rather stay on the ground and blub like a baby.
Because that's what you do. That's what everybody does. So, although being a writer with years of rejection behind you may not make this experience easier, it does at least make it make it more familiar..
Which is good, right?
And there are other, more positive connections. As writers, we have to see past the rejection, or we'd go mad. We have to accept the innate hurt in the process and hope that it will, one day, lead to better writing and ultimately, to acceptance. So, there's hope, and there's imagination, too. As writers we build worlds that aren't actually there, so in real life it should be easier for us to envision a time when the world makes sense again, when personal pain isn't so raw. (OK, maybe that's pushing the positivity a bit too far...)
Writing also deals with conflict and resolution.
In life, conflict is inevitable and unavoidable, and sometimes the resolution is not what we hoped for. This is how stories play out, too: plots go wayward, characters turn out to have minds of their own (selfish bastards!), wrong turnings are taken and endings are not always happy.
Sometimes you just have to go with the story and see where it ends up...
Now here comes the best part...
As writers, we know that our story can unexpectedly veer off on its own, forcing us to follow it into somewhat frightening, but always exciting, new places...
And so it is, in life...
So, there many, many reasons to TGFW.
Writing can help us see beyond our immediate problems or disruptions. It can help us to accept that being hurt is part of the game.
It can also open us up to previously unimaginedpersonal possibilities, to new adventures that are the flipside to the heartache and disappointment.
And for all those things, I am truly thankful.