Sunday, September 19, 2010

A world apart

I have been visiting a world in which I do not belong. A right brain world. A world of real writers. A world where given a prompt of “chain linked fence” one ends up with an intriguing riff of exquisite words. Sites and sounds and scents appear. Souls are revealed. And civilizations come to an end. All this in twelve minutes.

Upon initially visiting this world (back in, let’s see, the winter of 2008?) I met warm and welcoming writers: Laurie, then Marc and Libba, and, the young woman who told me what I had written enhanced her own reaction to a friend whose professor had made unwanted advances. Along the way, I met inspiring teachers: Sandy and Sheryl, even Amy, who liked what I had to say, even if she never liked how I said it. It was fun roaming around there. While it lasted. While I believed I could write something worth the work of writing, and reading.

Worth something. It had to be worth something. Even now, if I talk out loud about what I've been trying to write, it sounds worth doing: small t trauma (as in PtSD) happens, and often; denial is a misunderstood coping mechanism, one that can exacerbate small t trauma; there is a parallel to physical trauma that might elucidate emotional trauma; but mainly, it might be worth knowing that PtSD can come from a relatively minor assault, like getting grabbed or groped on a bus or knocked down on the street for your purse.

I’m not talking about large T trauma, like rape, or old trauma like child abuse, or ongoing trauma like domestic violence, because people seem to get that already. I’m talking about a full blown grief reaction to an early miscarriage; a shattered self-concept after a birth experience that appears “normal” to an outsider; or a compound reaction to an attempted strangulation at work, where one would expect to find large T trauma, but finds instead that the difficulty lies in internalizing the trusted boss’s reaction – “what did you do (read: to deserve it)”?

This sounds worth writing about. Maybe I should hire someone with better skills. How bourgeois is that? Being a homeowner, I spend much of my time hiring people: contractors, roofers, painters, plumbers; why not hire a ghostwriter or a regular writer who can spin a story of exquisite words? A story that shows what I have just told. Because, after an enjoyable trek through my own right brain, I've returned to my left, from where it seems clear I do not have what it takes for the task. For today, at least, it feels as simple as that.


  1. or is this one of those times when writing about not writing starts one writing again?

  2. Oh, I hope so! You DO have what it takes, Janice, but for all of us there are days when we feel like this. Remember that it's not just the end product of writing, but the process, the way through the jungle. You're learning to clear the trees, beat your way through the brush, fend off the lions. At the end of it you'll have a path.

  3. your right brain knows a whole lot more than your left brain thinks it does. small t trauma is not an easy thing to write about. i tried it and when people read it and knew what i was talking about, i didn't want to write any more. i'm glad i found your blog today. i needed that.


Please feel free to jot down your thoughts. I would appreciate knowing your reaction if any, to what I've written, and/or your feedback on how I've written it. I am actively trying to be a better writer.