Old Wounds

Everyone feels or has felt wounded in some way. In fact, I knew a man who, when talking to me about his emotional writing fuel, complained that his childhood had been too loving and secure. That his parents didn’t divorce or drink too much and that he had friends and generally enjoyed himself seemed to have wounded his chances for writing with real depth. These wounds, it seems, are always at the hands of other people. The alcoholic mother, the cheating spouse, the abusive boy friend, the violent neighborhood. Even my well-adjusted friend suffered the creative blight of parents who nurtured him selflessly. If only his father had walked out on his mother, maybe he’d have something to write about!

As writers we are drawn naturally to write toward these wounds. The heat of that which has not healed burns so strong it can drive a story on its fire alone. Oh, the power of injustice! We will march in the streets of our imagination so the world will know the truth. Yet even as we are driven to right the wrongs of our past on the page, we may find ourselves complaining of other people, the agents who won’t respond, the moronic readership that does not recognize our talent, the narrow-minded contest judges. Our life would be just fine, if only other people would change their ways.

Now is when we must look again at those old wounds. What has ever been done to us that we could not undo? What was severed that we wish to rejoin? The creative spark that drives all writing, all painting, all music and industry and invention—if this spark could speak it would say, “You have never needed anything but me.” If this spark could speak it would say, “There is nothing, no word or knife, that can come between you and me.” If it could speak, it would say, “We are one and the same, and the wound you wish to heal is the belief that we are not.”

Remember to catch Bill every Tuesday at 2:00 PM PST/5:00 EST on his live Blogtalk Radio program Author2Author!

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