Thursday, May 28, 2020

Writing Through the Pain

Pic via The List Love
Horror fans will remember when we almost lost one of our icons, Stephen King.

It was June of 1999, and as King was taking a late-afternoon walk, he was hit by a Dodge van and very narrowly escaped being killed instantly. It was one of those, "Yeah, what happened was horrible, but you could have been killed instantly if not just one, but several things had happened just a hair differently!"

I'm writing about this now, because I get notifications from The New Yorker sent to my email. From time to time, they send out links to older writings, like the article King wrote, On Impact

He wrote about his experience of the accident and the grueling and soul-shaking work of learning not only to walk again, but learning to write again. Typical of his writing style, it's equal parts real-life horror and humor. I think one of the funnier observations he made was that, after Bryan Smith, the man who hit him, tells the cops that he and his dog were driving to the store for "Marzes bars." 

King says, "When I hear this detail some weeks later, it occurs to me that I have nearly been killed by a character out of one of my own novels. It’s almost funny."

You can read the article for all of the details, but what really struck me was the last paragraph, specifically, the last sentence: 
"Writing did not save my life, but it is doing what it has always done: it makes my life a brighter and more pleasant place."
I've been thinking about this for the last few days. 

In the earlier days of this blog, I wrote daily, almost. It was never the most spectacular example of prose, ever, but I enjoyed it quite a lot. It gave me a place to share cool Halloween stuff and connect with a bunch of you Halloween people (many of whom are actual, real-life friends, now). I had just moved into a new town, and I hadn't made a lot of friends, yet, so it gave me another avenue to connect. It also gave me a chance to work out my thoughts and to get some insights from those of you who wanted to chime in. 

John Wolfe (may he rest in peace), of the now-defunct Season of Shadows blog, said my posts had the feeling of catharsis. He was right. This blog is my catharsis, even though life has gotten too busy to write on it daily.

But telling your truth - telling the truth - seems to be a bit of a challenge in these ever-changing times.

Case in point: The Donald. Twitter has at last started placing fact-checks beside his tweets. And the tiny-handed man-baby is, predictably, shitting his diaper and threatening to sign Executive Orders so he can continue to lie. While this would be funny if it were a sit-com, it's frightening to see the behavior of a malignant narcissist in the person of a man who has the nuclear codes.

What does that have to do with writing? With this blog?

Well, I guess for me, it brings home the importance of telling the truth and accepting responsibility for my actions, good or bad. I'm far from perfect, and I'm not always right, but I will always tell the truth on these pages. It's so much easier than the panic of having to keep track of all the lies you've told.

Those of you who have followed me for a few years, or maybe even since my first post in 2008 will have seen a lot of life happen to me. Some good things, some great things, and some incredibly painful things. I won't say "bad" because all the things which have happened to me have made me grow. They've made me more introspective and more determined, sometimes softer and more compassionate. All of it has changed me. All of it has shown me where I need to grow - good lord has it shown me where I must grow! - even if I'm kicking, crying, and screaming as it happens. Such is life. 

Writing it out has been instrumental in my healing. In my living. In watching the old parts of me die. In the contemplation of the unknowable future. In the process of rebirth.

I'll continue to write it out. 

As with Mr. King, it makes my life a brighter and more pleasant place.


  1. Thank you for this. Your blog post was the first one I ever read and inspired me to blog. I have to say I have been missing blogging. This switch to Facebook has not been the same and has turned out not to be helpful (in the way you are saying) at all. I have been debating for about a year on whether the start back again. Truth is I am afraid of failure, especially the way my life is now. But you have inspired me. Maybe not today, but someday very soon I will start back up and it is all because of you. Hearts to you my friend.

    1. I agree. Blogging, in its own way, is more intimate, as odd s it sounds when everything is launched out to the internet.
      But I think that a blog is something which should be done for your own pleasure. Leave success and failure out of it, because that takes the joy away. Enjoy it when you do it, or don't do it. There are too many things to not enjoy in the world today to force ourselves to do one more!

  2. That's beautiful Shellhawk. I am pleased that you will continue to write. I enjoy keeping up with your blog.

    We as a society have gotten away from evidence based truth. Anyone can make up anything, throw it online and have the same credibility as experts who have study the issue for years. We bear the responsibility to not believe everything we read or to research further.

    I am glad your sticking around. I was afraid that it might be the beginning of a "dear readers I am moving to instagram blog".

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoy reading it!
      Yeah, truth. I'm shaking my head at the current state of it and the total lack of integrity some people seem to be so proud of! Bullying and threatening people into silence so they can continue their underhanded and nasty behavior, seems to be the norm. And it is so wrong.


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