I should, perhaps, be more careful with my words. When I said last time that I called my writing revenge, let’s just say it was like when you go to a high school reunion and you hope that the boy who picked on you has gone bald. But, really, if you are thinking those kinds of thoughts and writing that way, it isn’t entirely good for your karmic equation or any type of healing you are hoping for.
Ever the student, I read some excellent books on writing that focused on scene structure, description and outlining. The outlining book was particularly helpful because it asked me to consider each character’s motivation. So, while I used the skeleton of my life and things that happened to me, the outlining ideas forced me to consider what each of the character’s thoughts could have been and even what their life might have been like before I was born.
And, right there, right in that moment, when I could see the similarities between my life and what theirs could have been, something changed. And, then, wonder of wonders, it was like those Zen quotes, those Buddhist blogs and those New Age books. I was calm again. Because the process of trying to write good fiction had tricked me into considering the other guy’s plight and maybe even teased some empathy out of me. It was like sanding off some sharp edges in my memories. They were still sad but they could be viewed with an objectivity that is, for me, part of forgiveness.
So, like I said, maybe revenge was a strong word, but there was no doubt that when I started, my thoughts were not constructive and they certainly did not lead to an improved me.
Then again, maybe that is exactly the journey I am supposed to have.