My life, as I suspect your life, has had cycles of great joy and deep sorrow. We differ in the exact events we live through, but most of us experience the same emotional situations.
Sometimes we experience exact opposite emotions from a common situation, like being married. For some it is the anchor in their lives and brings satisfaction, contentment, happiness.
For others it can be a cause of anguish or 'quiet discontentment' or outright misery. Children can be a source of joy and pride or they can be our greatest heartache. Often, they can be both over time. We can be 'fit as a fiddle' or endure lingering illnesses. We can love our work or dread our jobs. People are people and share so many common experiences and emotions. The one thing I know is that I am not, and you are not, alone. We can take comfort in the fact that many, many others share our feelings and our experiences, whatever they may be.
During my most difficult times, I've found writing down how I feel to be therapeutic, a means of letting off steam at the least, and allowing me to visit my soul and discover the depths of my feelings at best. And, because I am a writer at heart, I've shared my pains and my triumphs with you. Consequently, many who are going through similar painful experiences feel comfortable approaching me either to vent or to seek counsel.
One thing I hear from you over and over again is that you wish you could write a book about your experiences or your life in general. I always say, 'You can!'
I have a pen pal I'll call Paul who encourages me to write my autobiography 'just for my family.' (Maybe it's his diplomatic way of suggesting that I shouldn't quit my day job.) He's right in advising me to do this, and I'm right in advising you to write also. When I write, I get transported into another space. It is a very real, intense space where I am at one with my soul. It is therapeutic and very satisfying. I recommend you try it. After all, you don't have to share what you write or what you discover about yourself with anyone else unless you choose to do so.
You can write a whole book or just an essay or a letter to someone living or dead. Saul Bellow did it best. I can't remember the title of his book that I read decades ago, but it was a collection of letters he wrote to both the living and the dead, friends and strangers, obscure and famous. The point is, write what you feel. Maybe you'll want to publish it, but you can shred it if you prefer.
I do have an unfinished book that I must finish for my own sake, whether or not it is ever published. I am writing it as a novel, but much of it based on my own experiences and emotions. For all of you who read the excerpts I published in The Shopper a few years back and sent in requests to be notified when the book does get published, and for those of you who ask me about it when I'm out and about, thank you. It keeps me motivated and I will finish it. Interestingly, it is very close to being done. And, I know the end of the story. My sister asked me 9 years ago, when I was journaling the beginnings of the book, to write the ending. What an interesting suggestion that was. I thought about it for a while and then wrote, they all lived happily ever after. That part remains to be seen.
It was just yesterday when I decided to write about writing when I realized why I had stopped writing the book. I had come to a point in the story that was still too painful for me to write about.
Having discovered my 'writer's block', I can now proceed to finish my story. What about your story?
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.
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