Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Letting the Genie Out of the Bottle


What if we did not view writing our stories as a luxury, something we were only allowed to do when we didn't have the house to clean, the children to tend, the job demands to fulfill?

 In her book Writing As A Way Of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives, Louise DeSalvo writes: "What if writing were a simple, significant, yet necessary way to achieve spiritual, emotional, and psychic wholeness?"

Writing about past traumatic events in our lives is like uncorking the bottle - out pops the Genie with all its mystical and magical power.

As DeSalvo notes, many of the great writers - Virginia Woolf and Henry Miller, to name but two - were depressed and stymied in the writing process until they began writing about past traumatic events. In Woolf's case, it was being sexually assaulted by her half-brother; in Miller's about the loss of his wife who left him for another woman. Once they had reflected on the pent-up emotion of their trauma, they were able to move on to a richer, more textured life.

This month's "assignment" in the Circle is an invitation to explore a past traumatic event.  Try writing about the event and the emotion at the same time. Engage with your writing in a way that allows you to achieve energy, depth, power and soulfulness - in other words, to claim your voice.

As always, if this is not what you care to do or if you are working on a piece of fiction, short story, or poem, please bring that to the Circle.

The Women’s Writing Circle meets at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 11 in the Wellington Square Bookshop in Exton.  See you there.
Susan

2 comments:

Jan Backes said...

Susan,

Thank you for this blog. All that seems to emerge from me is the traumatic. It does feel good to let the Genie out yet I feel depressed afterwards. I have just ordered DeSalvo's book and hope to feel richer as I read and write with her.

Jan

Susan G. Weidener said...

Hi Jan,

That's awesome you ordered the book.

I think we just have to keep writing, whether we want to or not. I do remember writing about my husband and feeling afterward this tremendous loss - how very much I missed him. It was very hard, almost unbearable. Some days I wondered why I kept writing about him; it almost felt masochistic! Now I know I had to tell the story. I had to write his story and mine as a way of putting closure on some parts of it.

Susan