Friday, February 3, 2012

What Doesn't Kill Us

I am not a winter person. I used to be able to handle it much better. In fact, whenever anyone asked me what my favorite season was, I would say that the start of each new season was what I liked best. That would, of course, include the first snowfall. Not anymore. This has been an incredibly mild winter, but the few snowfalls we have had have elicited no joy from me.

Considering how "nice" this winter has been for nonwinter types such as myself, you'd think I wouldn't have much to complain about. While it certainly is an easier winter in some aspects, it is not easier altogether. The bit of snow we have turns into radiation fog on days above freezing, which is most of them. Fog is depressing to me. The air is cold and wet and seeps through your clothing. Staying inside doesn't help because I feel claustrophobic, not being able to see to the end of the block. The lack of sun, sometimes for days on end, makes me feel like I am hardly tethered to the Earth, as if I am separate from everything and drifting away. Calling winter "soul-sucking" almost feels literal - as if there is a wobbly, quivering droplet in my chest that is trying to make an escape, to flee and find a place less depressing than this.

But there is something good that can come from all of this unhappiness. When something hurts us or scares us or depresses us, we can experience it, fight through it, and then document it. I believe that as writers, whatever doesn't kill us makes for good material. If I am feeling down, I can sit at my computer and write a scene in which the character is as low as I am and try to give it that genuine emotion that I am feeling as I type. Or, for example, if I do something out of my comfort zone, I can better relate to my characters when they are put in awkward situations. Any bad life experience I've had can be used to my benefit, as long as I have the courage to relive it and put it on paper. And the nice thing about writing fiction is that I can channel real negative emotions into a different storyline and even forget, if only temporarily, what it was that I was upset about. Writing is good therapy.

1 comment:

  1. I feel the same way about winter. Yuck. I also try to look at each experience as a lesson for a character some day. And yes there have been days that I have been mad about something that I have definitely taken it out on some characters.