Feel Again // Thoughts from writing a memoir
[This blog post first appeared on the Invictus Writing Project‘s website.]
My memoir-writing class had one assignment for tomorrow: write one of the 12 scenes that makes up your story, preferably an emotional scene, a turning point.
Easy enough, right? A simple 500-800 words. Wherever the keys lead me. I should be able to do that in my sleep!
Instead of writing what I knew I needed to write about, I avoided tapping into the mindset needed to write this emotional scene. It was too raw, too difficult. I didn’t want to go there.
Writing is hard. Good writing that is, as Brad, our professor, has told us many times.
Once you’ve got the ball rolling, once an emotion has been unveiled and dealt with, once the essence of what you are writing is clear, it’s easier than making a batch of cookies (something I’ve been doing since I was 6 years old).
It’s the reliving the past that gets me.
Once a memory is unlocked, you can’t pretend it didn’t happen. You can’t escape the emotions that were once there. And that’s the hardest part about writing for me: feeling things all over again.
When all is said and done, I’ll admit, it’s moments like these that create some of my most genuine writings. My hope is, as this journey continues, I will embrace these moments. I will not get sick to my stomach, I will not cower in the corner, I will face whatever hits me.
I think that’s the only way we can try and make sense of our stories. We need to discover why we felt or feel why we do and what that means for our journey. Doing so means facing our giants and scouring the remnants of our former battlefields. When we do, we can begin to make sense of things.
We can’t be afraid to feel again, because it will happen — and I’m learning that’s okay.