"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

On Instagram @lunapickles


Terri Tiffany said...

Hi Loree, It's always so nice to read one of your posts. I'm sorry to hear that your knee pain has been difficult. I've heard they are. Too funny that you are taking notes on it! Never know how you will use it, and yes, I draw from any sad painful experience I've had and infuse it into my character's pain. Find myself crying often when I reread it!

K.B. Owen said...

Great post, Loree! That's the hardest part about writing - drawing upon those dark, painful memories and feelings in order to make one's writing as authentic as it can be. I'm so sorry that you've been dealing with such pain. Good for you for turning it into something productive. Hugs!

Sandra Orchard said...

Oh, yes, I've experienced that exhaustion while writing. As well as the procrastination that happens when resisting going to some of those dark places. Praying that your knee will soon be pain free and as good as ever!

Loree Huebner said...

Terri: Haha. I just started taking notes in a journal about my physical pain. It's amazing how much our bodies can take.

I'm in agreement with you. I have cried over many scenes that I have infused my sorrows with my character's. It's exhausting, but also exhilarating when it turns out so right. You feel it.

Kathy: Going back into our own painful memories is the hardest part. Scary even. The things we do to make our writing as authentic as possible.

Sandra: Loved your devotional post today. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Writing can be exhausting, but it's worth every minute.

Thanks for the well wishes and prayers! And hugs!
And thanks for popping in. So good to see all of you!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Loree -

Sorry the pain from your surgery has been so bad.

Like you, I made notes of the experience when I broke my elbow. At the time, I was debating whether to give my character a broken bone or a sprain. I settled on a sprain because she needed to drive a distance. From my situation, I knew she couldn't do it with a broken bone.

Welcome back to blogging! I missed you. :)

God bless and a speedy recovery,

Loree Huebner said...

Susan: Sprains can be just as painful as breaks, so I'm told. Looks like you made the right move. Thanks for the speedy recovery wish! And thanks for stopping by!

Victoria Lindstrom said...

Sending good thoughts your way as you recover, Loree. I'm not surprised that you're making the most of your time as you allow your knee to heal. All the best, dear friend!

Julie Musil said...

Oh wow, good luck with your recovery!

Loree Huebner said...

Victoria and Julie: Thanks for dropping by, and thanks for the well wishes. So great to see you!

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Prayers for speedy recovery! Pain can be so distracting, and I admire you for channeling it into experience you can use in your stories. Lately, I've had to deal with bullying, and watching my son experience it is so hard. It's something I'm channeling into my work, but at the same time, I'm trying to keep a light-hearted funny tone to the story (if that's not a huge contradiction, lol. Bless you Loree!

Loree Huebner said...

Gwen: Thanks for the prayers. Oh, I feel for you and your son. Bullying is such a hard sting on our hearts. I'll keep him in my prayers.
Thanks for stopping in. By the way, I love your new website!