"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2

Monday, January 26, 2015

Feeling the pain...

Oldest tree in Lake County - over 600 years old - Photo by Loree Huebner
Sadly, this amazing tree has died. Oh, the stories it could tell.


: the physical feeling caused by disease, injury, or something that hurts the body
: mental or emotional suffering : sadness caused by some emotional or mental problem
: someone or something that causes trouble or makes you feel annoyed or angry

Merriam Webster

In life there is pain. It's a daily occurrence along with - love, hate, life, death, laughter, weeping, and so on.

In the stories that we write, our characters experience some sort of pain - that festering mental or physical wound that just doesn't seem to heal.

Pain is not always easy to put into words. It can be a real challenge if you haven't experienced a particular sort of suffering you may be incorporating into your story.  

The main character in one of my recent novels is a widow. She suffers the mental anguish of suddenly losing her husband. In reality, I am not a widow. I have not encountered this kind of a broken heart. So how do I convey this very personal grieving experience? How do I express the feelings and make it real - believable to the reader?

We draw from the same well...

In my life, I have experienced loss - the sudden loss of a parent, friend, and a sibling. I must dig deep to extract from my intimate bereavement. It's not always easy to do, but reliving a few chosen moments, I can experience the sadness of the loss, the regrets of things left unsaid, the loneliness of the empty place at the table, along with anger, anxiety, and despair. As I remember my loved ones, I feel the pain of my personal loss while I ramble in my character's head. I am able to feel her pain and sorrow, and express it as if it were me, myself, in her shoes. I believe this is one of the reasons writing is so exhausting.

Pain also has a physical side...

I recently had knee surgery. This was partial knee replacement surgery, and the second surgery on the same knee. The post- surgery has been much more painful than I had anticipated. It was the first time that I had to "manage" my pain.

As a writer, I found myself taking notes of the kind of physical pain I was experiencing - shooting pain, intense, deep bone pain, the dull nagging ache, the throbbing pain, and so on. I've experienced a whole range of physical pain that I will be able to call upon when needed. Oddly, I was able to channel my thoughts, using this idea of pain as experience or knowledge to help me through the worst of it. 

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Do you have ways of feeling the pain and writing about it?

Are you exhausted after writing a particularly sad or painful chapter?

Since my knee surgery, I'm catching up on my very large TBR pile. This week I'm reading Remember Love - the first book in The Women of Manatee Bay Series - by Jessica Nelson. She's a beautiful and talented writer.

Between you, me and the gatepost,


A Time for Everything
1There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

Loree Huebner
Writing with one foot in the past...
On Twitter @LoreeHuebner

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